Methods to Erase PDF Files From Your Computer
Summary: PDF files contain vital information and hence should be discarded securely. This post will look at some easy methods to easily and securely delete your PDF files.
Portable Document Format or PDF, is a popular file format used to create vital documents, letters, certificates, etc. While we keep most of our PDF files on the computer, we delete them when they have fulfilled their purpose. However, while performing a system clean-up, we must ensure that no critical PDF file is deleted accidentally.
There’s a difference between PDF deletion and erasure. Deleted PDF files are not permanently erased and can be recovered and misused by malignant sources. Hence, you should be very cautious while deleting them from your computers as they might hold highly-sensitive data. This is why it’s important to securely erase PDF files using certain utilities and a purpose-built tool we will discuss later in this post.
Let’s see some manual methods you can try to permanently erase PDFs from your system.
Methods to Erase PDF Files from Your Computer
The following PDF erasure methods will help you securely & permanently wipe off any unnecessary files from your computer.
We will start with simple file deletion methods and move on to advanced file erasure methods.
Method 1: Deleting PDF Files Using Common File Deletion Methods
If you want to delete some PDF files from your computer, you can simply select them and press the delete button. Doing so will send them to the Recycle Bin, which you can empty later. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of emptying the recycle bin, you can simply use the SHIFT + DELETE keystroke and permanently delete the unrequired PDF files.
Note: This method will only delete your PDFs temporarily. They’ll still be present on the drive and can be recovered.
Method 2: Erasing PDF Files Using Cipher in Windows PowerShell.
Cipher is a powerful built-in utility that you can use to permanently delete PDF files securely from the computer or a storage drive. It can be accessed easily via Windows PowerShell. However, to execute it, you must first delete the PDF file/s from the location and the Recycle Bin.
Here are the steps to use the Cipher command –
- Open Windows PowerShell with administrator privileges.
- Type Cipher /w:C:[Path] in the PowerShell terminal window. Example. – Cipher /w:C:\Users\Admin\Downloads\docs
- Press Enter.
- The command will start overwriting random data on the traces of the deleted PDF files.
Using this method, any remaining traces will be overwritten, making PDF file recovery nearly impossible for any data recovery software.
Method 3: Using Remove-Item Command in PowerShell to Erase PDF Files
Another way to permanently delete photos from your computer is by using the Remove-Item command along with the ‘Recurse’ parameter in Windows PowerShell. Here’s how you can use this command –
- Launch Windows PowerShell with administrator privileges.
- Type Remove-item [Path] –recurse in the console and press Enter. Example – Remove-item C:\Users\Admin\Downloads\Docs\sample.pdf –recurse
- Let the command delete your file/s securely.
Method 4: Using a File Eraser to Erase PDF Files Securely
Using the methods mentioned above, you can easily delete PDF files from your computer. However, if the storage device falls into the wrong hands, there are chances of recovery and misuse of your deleted PDF files.
To eliminate any prospects of deleted files getting recovered, you can use a powerful file eraser like Stellar’s BitRaser File Eraser. This software allows you to permanently delete photos and other data that could be misused in any way.
A highly intuitive software, BitRaser File Eraser uses advanced data erasure algorithms to erase files and folders securely by overwriting the deleted data multiple times. This tool also allows users to erase any traces of deleted data, browser history, or cache
Using this software, you need not worry about anyone recovering your deleted PDF files as it erases and overwrites them numerous times with random 0s and 1s. This action renders the original files and their traces irrecoverable.
Apart from removing user-created files, this powerful tool can also permanently erase browser history, cache, cookies, temporary files, etc.
Steps to Use BitRaser File Eraser –
BitRaser File Eraser is a simple-to-use software with an intuitive UI that enables anyone to use it without any hiccups. Follow the steps to use it –
- Purchase and install BitRaser File Eraser from its official website.
- Launch the software.
- Click on Erase Files & Folders in the left pane.
- Add the photos you want to permanently delete from your computer.
- Click on Erase Now.
The software will erase the added files from the device and make them irrecoverable beyond any scope of recovery.
Wrapping It Up
Erasing PDF files is similar to how you generally delete various files on a day-to-day basis. However, what really makes the difference is erasing. Erasing ensures that you delete the files permanently from your system in a secure manner. The methods mentioned in this post will guide you to erase PDF files effectively beyond recovery.
Q. Why am I unable to delete a PDF file from my computer?
A. This usually happens when the file you’re trying to delete is already open in another program. To delete it, you will need to first close the program and then try deleting it again.
Q. How to securely delete PDF files beyond recovery?
A. If you want to delete a PDF file securely, use a file eraser like BitRaser File Eraser to wipe the files off from your computer’s storage completely.
Q. How do I delete PDF files on my Android cellphone?
A. Simply go into the File Manager and locate the files you want to delete. Select them and tap the Bin icon to delete them.