When “Deleted” Files Aren’t Deleted

When you delete a file, you might think that it’s gone forever. If you don’t know how your computer actually stores your data on your drive, whether you have a traditional spinning hard drive or an SSD, you’d be surprised at what can be recovered, especially when a device falls into the wrong hands.

When you delete a file on your drive, you might imagine that the computer erases the data. What the operating system actually does is mark the physical space on the drive as available for overwriting. You never know when that part of the drive will be finally overwritten. That’s why it’s possible to use file recovery utilities to get back files you deleted by mistake.

And that’s just on regular hard drives. Hard drives are being replaced in many new machines with SSDs. With the decreased power consumption, smaller hardware footprint, increased reliability, and increased speed, it’s not hard to see why they’ve become so popular. But there’s a big problem when it comes to deleting data on them.

Because SSDs can only handle so many read/write cycles, they make use of a technique called “wear leveling” to spread data around the drive. While it maximizes the lifetime of SSDs, it also adds to the uncertainty of whether “deleted” data is really deleted.

Since SSDs are so popular in mobile devices, it can mean that confidential data stored on them can be accessed in case they are lost, stolen, or simply given away without being wiped.

There are utilities that can attempt to overwrite all the data on a drive multiple times, but if you really want to make sure that any important data like financial records or trade secrets can’t be read by outsiders, the only absolute way is to prevent them for reading the drive entirely. In other words, physically destroying the drive.

Please get in touch with us so you can destroy your old drives safely and securely. We offer a variety of drive destruction machines to suit your needs and budget.

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