How to safely delete files or wipe entire disks
“Maybe you’re going to send your old PC off for recycling or sell your old laptop, you don’t want your important, possibly private data, to go along with it to the new person. You want to make sure it’s deleted and cannot be recovered. And that’s something the Undelete software can do for you,” Spencer Allingham, Engineer
Spencer Allingham, Engineer
This video is the 7th in a series of 7 videos by a top Condusiv engineer that each demonstrate different technical features and benefits of the software. In this video, our engineer covers how to securely erase files or wipe entire disks before selling your computer, giving it to a friend or colleague, or recycling it, with the Undelete software from Condusiv Technologies.
Additional Undelete videos in this series
Video #1: Undelete 11 Overview
Video #2: Why Some Deleted Files Are Not In The Windows Recycle Bin
Video #3: What is Undelete file versioning?
Video #4: Searching the Undelete Recovery Bin
Video #5 : Inclusion and Exclusion Lists in Undelete
Video #6: Emergency Undelete Software
Video #7: How to safely delete files before recycling your computer with Undelete
View the full playlist on YouTube
00:02 Spencer: Hello, everyone. In this video, I want to show you how you can use the Undelete software from Condusiv to securely wipe (safely delete files) a drive before you pass it on to somebody else. Maybe you’re gonna give a USB stick to a friend to use, or maybe you’re going to send your old PC for recycling, or maybe sell your old laptop on Craigslist or in the free ads in the local paper or what have you. The point is, you don’t want your important, possibly private data to go along with it to the new person. You want to make sure it’s deleted and can’t be recovered, and that’s definitely something that the Undelete software can do for you. Now I want to demonstrate it for you, but obviously, I actually don’t want to delete and wipe data from my actual hard drives in my work station because I actually need it for work, and I’d be in a lot of trouble if we did that. [chuckle] But I can certainly demonstrate it on this USB stick. So let me go ahead and plug this in, and I’ll show you how easy it is to do.
01:19 Spencer: Okay, so this is the contents of the USB stick right now. I’ve got some of my favorite wallpapers on there. There we go. Some work images. Oh dear, picture of some ugly nerd. [chuckle] So I don’t wanna pass these on when I hand over the USB stick for my friend to use. I want all this to be gone and not recoverable. So here’s how to do it. First of all, you select all of the data and you delete it. Now it says here, “Are sure you want to permanently delete these 12 items?” Well, yes, I do want to permanently delete them, but as you saw from the previous video, that data isn’t actually deleted until it gets overwritten, and that’s what Undelete can do for you. So we could recover those files now, but we don’t want to do that. We wanna wipe or clean the drive, so I’ll open up the Undelete software, and the feature to look for is, if you go into the Tools tab in the ribbon up here, you’ve got this option here to wipe free space, so let’s set that going on the volume. So this is my USB stick, my G Drive, and hit start.
02:46 Spencer: Now, what that’s doing is now wiping the free space. So how’s it doing this? We know from the previous video that the file data is still there, and you can recover it by using Undelete or another tool to search through those free space clusters, looking for the data that can be recovered, and get them back. What this is doing, or actually what it’s just done, is it’s overwritten the space where those files were with several different stamps of different types of characters. So it’s overwritten several times with different character strings. That makes it very, very hard to recover that data. In fact, it was a method that I think that was originally created and approved for use by the American Department of Defense.
03:43 Spencer: So I can’t tell you that it’s going to be impossible to get that data back, but it would certainly be beyond my capabilities, and most, even techies, would struggle to get that data back. The government might be able to do it, I don’t know. There might be other be some specialist companies that would cost a lot of money, but for all intents and purposes, that data is gone. It’s very, very difficult for the average user, even the average technical professional to be able to get that data back. It’s gone, it’s wiped, and now it’s quite safe for me to pass this on to my friend in the knowledge that the files are gone. It’s a completely clean drive, just as it would have been straight out of the box. And that’s how you do it. It’s as quick and easy as that.
04:34 Spencer: Now, honestly, the larger the volume that you’re cleaning, the longer that process is gonna take. This is just a small USB stick. If you’re doing a hard drive, that’s likely gonna take a little bit longer, but you can leave this going in the background and get on with other things, and you’ve got this status window, which you can come back to at any time, the “Show wiped free space status,” and see how far along it’s got until it’s done. So you don’t have to sit here watching Undelete do its thing. You can set it going, go and deal with some email, or grab a coffee, or whatever you wanna do, and just leave it doing its thing until it’s finished.
05:17 Spencer: Oops, and I’ve dropped it, which has probably not done that USB stick much good. [chuckle] But I’m still gonna pass it on to my friend. So I hope that’s helpful. It’s pretty quick, pretty simple, but yeah, secures your data and makes sure that it doesn’t get passed on as you pass on your old laptop or your old hard drive to someone else, or send it off for recycling. Hope that’s helpful. If it is, let me know in the comments below. And if you like the video, click Like. If you didn’t, you know what to do. Thanks everyone. Take care.
Use Undelete’s SecureDelete feature to safely delete files you want erased.