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  1. #1
    Photographic enthusiast Misty's Avatar
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    Default Making deleted files irretrievable

    I am donating an old laptop running Windows 10 to a Women's Centre. I have deleted all my personal files, passwords, etc, partly by using CCleaner. However I want to ensure that nothing can be recovered from the files deleted. By doing a google search various options are shown, including a third party "Eraser". Is that a good one to use, or are there better alternatives please?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member baabits's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    If it's running Windows 10, you can use the Reset function to put it back to factory settings. Inside the reset function there is also an option to do a "full" wipe. It takes quite a bit of time but will overwrite everything on the disk.

    Go to Start > Settings > Update and Security > Recovery > Reset This PC > Get Started.

    When asked, tell Windows to "Fully Clean my Drive"

  3. #3
    Photographic enthusiast Misty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    That sounds good, baabits. In the last week I have replaced the Windows 7 that was on it, with Windows 10. Presumably this procedure will leave Windows 10 in place?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member 1101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty View Post
    Presumably this procedure will leave Windows 10 in place?
    Yes. But will also remove all installed software (MS Office etc)
    then
    Disconnect from internet , add local user & then login afterwards & make sure none of your files are there : in C:\users\...
    Just to be sure
    :-)

  5. #5
    Photographic enthusiast Misty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    Mmm! Am hoping that there is an app that I could safely use to just get rid of all deleted items, without having to re-install the software?
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  6. #6
    Senior Member piroska's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    To ultimately clear it, you need to zero the drive with software.

    But why be so paranoid? Even as a tech I couldn't be stuffed running undeletes to trawl through someones boring pictures or whatever.

    And undeletes are a lot harder on the modern big drives, no guarantees of success as those who don't back up find out the hard way.
    And SSDs....forget trying...
    Ex-pctek

  7. #7
    VoidMaster
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    CCleaner has a delete and wipe all clear space in tools I believe with choices over what level of security you want.

    It's called Drive Wiper.
    It's not the least charm of a theory that it is refutable. The hundred-times-refuted theory of "free will" owes its persistence to this charm alone; some one is always appearing who feels himself strong enough to refute it - Friedrich Nietzsche

  8. #8
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    Quote Originally Posted by zqwerty View Post
    CCleaner has a delete and wipe all clear space in tools I believe with choices over what level of security you want.

    It's called Drive Wiper.
    This is a good way, it will take a while depending on the size of the drive and number of passes you select. You can set it to wipe the drive of all free space upto 35 passes.
    Once a file is deleted its marked as free space so it really gets overwritten.

    The BUT (there's always a Butt) it is not best to try and wipe a SSD - in fact from memory it wont do it.

    Edited: Thought I'd give it a go to get a time -- Drive S on this thing is a STD 500GB Drive, with 300GB free, set Ccleaner to 3 passes - The time is below ( and this PC is not exactly a low spec)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It does it in Two stages, the first wipes the MTF, goes through reasonable quick, then it wipes the actual Free Space.
    Last edited by wainuitech; 27-07-2020 at 06:35 PM.

  9. #9
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    Edited to above should be MFT not MTF.

    MFT = Master File Table which is a database in which stores information about every file and directory on the System.

  10. #10
    VoidMaster
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    Default Re: Making deleted files irretrievable

    That time seems reasonable and what I would have expected. Depending on the level of security required it is going to add a series of patterns of noughts (0's) and ones (1's) to all the parts of the drive deemed to be blank, this is not a forbidden operation in SSD's unlike defragging.
    It's not the least charm of a theory that it is refutable. The hundred-times-refuted theory of "free will" owes its persistence to this charm alone; some one is always appearing who feels himself strong enough to refute it - Friedrich Nietzsche

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