Summary: Have you ever thought about the differences between simple Deletion and Erasure? This blog clears all your misconception about file delete and erase. So read it very carefully till the end.
They sound synonymous but deleting and erasing a file are two different things. When you delete a file, you just reallocate it on the system making it harder to find, i.e., the files remain present in your system but are no more accessible. When you erase a file, it is gone forever.
A study done by a reputed data care firm on several users illustrated that more than half of respondents (51 percent) believed that the data deleted from the Recycle Bin was gone forever. The same percentage of users also thought that formatting the drive permanently erases the data from the device. Let us break this misconception by exploring the concepts of deletion and erasure in this blog.
There are two ways to delete a file on your computer:
1) The first method involves sending the file to the recycle bin (Trash in Mac systems). You can either keep the file in the Recycle Bin or clear the Recycle Bin itself. People keep the file in the recycle bin if they want to have the option of restoring that file. When you clear the recycle bin, you eliminate the possibility of restoring the file directly from the system.
2) The second method is to delete the file from the system directly. This method is equivalent to clearing the recycle bin of the first step. You can do that by the keyboard function, Shift+Delete. You can’t restore the files deleted via this method using your system settings.
What happens when you delete a file?
When you delete a file, the files disappear from their existing location and move to another location, which is inaccessible to the user. In other terms, a new index for the file is created which is not viewable to the user, and the links to the file are gone. This is the reason you cannot find a file on your system after deleting it from Recycle Bin as well.
After the deleted file moves to the new directory, your computer frees up the space to store new files. When a new file is stored in that space, the previously deleted file is overwritten by the new file and, thus, eliminated. Until then, that deleted file can be easily discovered and recovered by a dedicated data recovery software.
On the other hand, erasure is nothing but the elimination of files, beyond the scope of recovery. A file is overwritten by software during the erasure process, with random junk data. Overwriting can be done once or multiple times and the random junk data is mostly zeroes and ones. After overwriting, the file becomes unreadable. This ensures that data recovery software cannot recover the file.
Erasure is a recognized method to wipe data from devices. It is the most effective and holistic way to ensure data sanitization in devices. Many standards and policies have been set up to govern the erasure process. These standards dictate the number of overwriting attempts and associated patterns.
Why is Erasing important?
Erasure is important for a variety of reasons. As discussed above, one can recover deleted data but not erased data. Erasure becomes especially important when you discard/lease/sell your device as you don’t want the new user to recover your deleted data. If you just delete or format the system before parting with the device, you expose yourself to a serious privacy threat. Any person who has your old system can run data recovery software anytime and recover sensitive information.
Regularly erasing your sensitive data is also a good data hygiene practice. When you regularly wipe your system, you eliminate any chance of a person getting hold of your data, if he/she were to access your computer. Take browsing as an example. Anyone who sees your browsing information can know a lot about you. Besides, whenever you browse, cookies get stored in your system. These cookies contain your credit/debit card details, e-mail logins, or social media credentials. A person could steal your personal information if he were to gain access to these cookies. Regularly erasing your browsing information protects you from such mishaps.
BitRaser File Eraser: A complete File Erasure tool.
Many file erasure software is available now, which can permanently wipe the files. One of the most trusted ones is BitRaser File Eraser, a professional DIY tool, tailor-made to destroy any type of file from your system. You can also use BitRaser to erase Application traces, Browsing histories, and Unused space from your device. Available for both PC and Mac, allows you to explore all its features. Let’s see the step-by-step method to erase files using BitRaser File Eraser in both PC and Mac systems.
Erasing files using BitRaser File Eraser in PC
- Install BitRaser File Eraser.
- Run BitRaser File Eraser
- Explore the BitRaser File Eraser screen on your PC [Image 1]. You can view the list of items you can delete using the software in the main menu.
4. Click on Erase File & Folder, the third option on the left pane.
5. You can delete files and folders in two ways. You can either search and erase a specific file you want to target or you can manually add them. To use the Search & Erase option, click on Search & Erase link on the bottom side of the screen.
6. Here, enter the File Name and mention the location (by using the browse button)
7. Alternatively, you can also add the to-be-erased files by clicking on Add items button (bottom right side of the screen)
8. Once the selected file displays on the screen, click “Erase Now”
9. A dialog box will appear, asking you to confirm the Erasure process. Click on Proceed.
10. The software will complete the Erasure process and you will receive a confirmation screen. Click on the Ok button to close the process.
There is a fundamental difference between Deletion and Erasure. Deletion just hides your files from immediate view whereas erasure destroys them so that they cannot be recovered. Erasure is a fail-safe and efficient way to wipe the files from your device. One of the most reliable file erasure software is BitRaser File Eraser, which is a DIY tool, adept at erasing any type of files, folders, application traces, unused space, and Internet data from your PC or Mac.