Tech Tip: Delete Doesn’t Mean Gone Forever

No business owner or executive can know everything and when it comes to computers, many just shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t know much about computers. It’s not my thing”. I get it. Busy people don’t have time to mess around with office technology, that’s why they employ resources (internal or outsourced) to do this for them. But, here’s something that everyone should know:

Deleting a file from your computer does not securely remove it from your hard drive. Instead, the delete function simply hides the file, waiting for something else (i.e. another file) to occupy the same space. If and when this happens, only then is the original file gone for good.

“Deleted files” can be retrieved very quickly and rather easily using popular free and commercial software. Data can still be retrieved even if the entire drive is reformatted!

To properly dispose of a hard drive:

  1. Encrypt the entire drive first. In later versions of Windows, Microsoft includes the encryption tool, BitLocker. There are third party tools out there, just do a Google search to find them.
  2. After encrypting the data, use secure deletion software to overwrite every sector of the drive with random characters, destroying the original contents. Eraser is one tool; there are others.

The ultimate way to make data on a hard drive go away permanently is to destroy it using a hard drive shredder. There are services that do this. The downside is that they can be somewhat expensive. The upside is that once shredded, everything is gone for good.

Now that you’re aware, never dispose of hard drives without permanently deleting your data first. Make sure you have a viable, secure copy of vital information before getting rid of your old data.

 

XSolutions is an Elite Partner of Datto, the world leader in Hybrid-Cloud Business Continuity solutions whose systems protect 180+ Petabytes of data with over 700 employees around the globe. Call (845) 362-9675 and let us introduce you to the ultimate defense against data loss—whatever the cause.