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Deleting deleted files

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I recently downloaded Eraser to shred my files, but how do I clear up all the files I deleted(without using a shredder) or anything that will come up when I restore old files?

My friend restored his computer and files that he never downloaded like his friends photos on myspace etc just came up.
How does this happen? How can I clean out my computer without formatting?
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Neil Jones

Neil Jones

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When you delete a file in Windows all you're doing is marking the space on the drive where the file physically sat as free. It doesn't actually delete anything. Over time as new data is written to the drive parts of the file get overwritten but not totally. Therefore you can wipe the drive ten times over and still get files back later. Files you haven't knowingly downloaded come down because they're part of the web pages you visit that your browser has downloaded in its normal behaviour.

The only effective way to securely trash the contents of a hard drive is to either low-level format it or perform a sector-by-sector wipe with specialist software, and do this a good few times over. However even with this method there is still a very remote chance of getting something back - it may not be usable but it will probably still be possible. The other alternative is to buy a new drive and physically smash the old one which is more fun and quicker, but expensive in the long run.
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