So you highlight the name of a file and press the Delete key. That file is gone for good, right? Not necessarily. Most systems only remove the link to the file. It’s still there until another file is saved over the older “deleted” data.

Getting rid of data…permanently.

Files that are never permanently deleted from old computers and devices are a gold mine for hackers. Using the latest data recovery technology, they can recover even the data and files you may have deleted. Here’s are some tips for making sure that “delete” really means delete:

Digital Data

Most organizations have policies and procedures in place for disposing of old computers and storage media. Make sure you follow them. Many PC recyclers offer data destruction services and will ensure that any disks, hard drives or other storage media has been destroyed in a way that won’t allow any data to be recovered by hackers or anyone else.


Your phone may have sensitive data even if you don’t store any data files on it. This sensitive data can include emails or text messages, pictures, voicemail, or documents left open in your browser. If it’s time to upgrade to a newer phone, don’t just get rid of your old one or drop it in a recycle bin. Some devices have a remote wipe feature in case they get lost or stolen. Use that to scrub your old phone before getting rid of it. Alternatively, you can use a data destruction service.


Getting rid of data in your cloud accounts is more complicated. If, for example, you quit using an online service, data from your past usage is still stored by that provider. At a minimum, you should close your account, but you may also need to contact customer support to find out when closed accounts (and any data associated with that account) are permanently deleted.

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