When you delete files from a PC that runs on Windows, the files aren’t really deleted and can even be recovered. The deleted files will still be on your computer’s hard drive until they are overwritten with some new data.
By using applications such as Eraser or CCleaner you can delete the files and make some space on your hard drive. However, there is also an application that comes integrated with Windows, named as Cipher. This application can overwrite deleted files and recover some free disk in the process.
- How to use Cipher
In order to use Cipher, you will have to open Command Prompt. Even if most of the times, Cipher does its job without any problems, we suggest you to backup your files before taking actions.
Cipher is not a tool to overwrite deleted data, but it can be used to encrypt data too.
Opening command prompt
To open command prompt on Windows 8.1, press the Windows key + S and then write in the search box “command prompt”. In case you are using Windows 7, click on Start-> Run and then type in the box “cmd” and press enter.
For the standard scan you can use the command: “cipher /w:C” where “/w” stands for removing any data from the uncommitted space and the “c” stands for the partition it will scan, which in our example is the C: partition.
In case you want to scan another partition, just change C with another D or whatever the letter of the partition is.
When the scan begins, you will have to wait until the application is cleaning your partition. We suggest you to do this in the weekends, when you don’t have too much work to do on your PC, since this might take quite a while to finish.
When the cleaning finishes, you will find more space in the specific partition and you will notice that your PC runs faster than usual.
- Using Eraser to overwrite deleted files
If you think that Cipher is too hard to understand, we suggest you another Windows tool that you can use, which is Eraser.
Eraser is an open source application, free and safe deleting tool for Windows. The application can also be scheduled to scan once a week and after you set it, you don’t have to worry about this problem anymore.
Eraser is compatible for Windows 2003 (SP2), Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista and Windows 7.
You can scan whichever driver you want from your PC while in any of these Windows versions. It can erase files, folders and previously deleted duplicated copies and it features schedule deletion of files.
Using Eraser on Windows Explorer
Most of the people will use Eraser via the Windows Explorer rather then scanning with it. When you want to permanently delete a file, just right click on it and you will notice a two options called Erase and Erase Secure Move.
Use those two new options to permanently delete the files you don’t want anymore on your PC.