They thought they permanently deleted files from their computerBefore writing this blog, I did some research on what computer users perceive when they delete a file from their computer.

Instructions on how to delete.

When you delete a file, it’s usually moved to the Recycle Bin so that you can restore the file later if necessary. For information about recovering a file, see Recover files from the Recycle Bin.

To permanently remove files from your computer and reclaim any hard disk space they were using, you need to delete the files from the Recycle Bin. You can delete individual files from the Recycle Bin or empty the entire Recycle Bin at once.

  1. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking the Recycle Binon the desktop.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To permanently delete one file, click it, press Delete, and then click Yes.
    • To delete all of the files, on the toolbar, click Empty the Recycle Bin, and then click Yes.

So in essence, they are saying that the Recycle Bin holds files until you empty the trash, then they are permanently deleted from your computer, or are they?

You may have removed the file from your computer and chances are you cannot recover the file once you click “Yes”, but that doesn’t mean the file is gone forever. A Computer has the capabilities of actually storing that file somewhere on the hard drive until the space it was saved is written over and depending on how big the hard drive is, that could take some time. It also depends on how many files you save and how many you have previously deleted. When a file is saved on a computer it is like filing it in a filing cabinet.  Example: You have 10 filing cabinets and you take a file and place in randomly in one of the 10 cabinets.  Your computer can find the file quickly by the name or creations date, but it would take you hours to look into each cabinet for one particular file. When you delete the file, the space it once was saved still maintains information from the file, you cannot access it, but a forensic data recovery tech like the one we have at All in Investigations can find it. We conduct many computer forensic investigations utilizing our data extraction software combined with our data mining software, it would not be in the best interest of anyone who had deleted information from their computer and have any confidence that it is unattainable. So when you hear that something has been permanently deleted; know that it may not be accessible to you or I, but to computer forensic examiners, they can find it.

Brenda McGinley CEO,

Brenda McGinley, Director of Investigations,