Do you know how to securely erase data? When files or folders are deleted from your computer by emptying the Recycle Bin or Trash, or by reformatting it, are you sure that your files are permanently deleted from the hard drive? The answer is “No”. Before we dig further, you need to understand how data is stored in the storage devices including external storage, such as hard drive, solid-state drive (SSD) and USB flash memory.
Data is stored in the hard drive in binary forms, 0 and 1. The operating system stores the information about the location of the data in a table format. Therefore, each time you attempt to retrieve the data, the operating system refers the table for the location of the data and retrieves it.
Now, coming back to question about deleting files from the hard drive. When you delete a file or folder, only the location details in the operating system table are deleted. The actual contents of the files remain on the hard disk as the operating system only marks the file or folder as deleted in the table. This is the way hard disks and operating systems are designed. Each time you create a file or folder, data in the hard drive is overwritten. Since the data is not erased, it can be easily recovered using data recovery tools, such as xxxxxx.
How to securely erase data?
To ensure that your data is securely erased from the hard disk, there are two options:
Destroy the hard disk: If a hard disk is failed and cannot be used, better is to destroy it before giving it for e-waste.
Erase data permanently: There are free and paid tools available to securely erase data from hard drive, few of them are DBAN, SDelete, File Shredder etc.
How to securely erase data from hard drive?
There are various free and paid software available to securely erase data in the hard drive.
To erase a file/folder in Microsoft Windows operating system, use one of the freely available File Shredder software to erase the files/folders permanently. To securely erase the entire data in a hard drive.
Wipe the data: Microsoft provides free tool to securely erase the free space in the drives called SDelete.
How to securely erase data from SSD?
There are two options available to securely erase data from SSD
Using manufacture provided utility and use it to erase the data. Here some of them Intel, Sandisk and Samsung.
Using ATA Secure Erase command to securely erase data.
How to securely erase data from iPhone?
To delete your data. In your iPhone go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
How to securely erase data from android phone ?
On your Android phone, go to settings > Backup & Reset > Factory Data Reset and select Reset Phone.