How to Permanently Delete Files from Windows

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Recover Files • Proven solutions

Most people think that emptying the Recycle Bin means that their deleted files are completed erased from the system. However, the data of the deleted files remain exactly where it was until it gets overwritten. So, if you have some sensitive data that you want to permanently delete from the hard drive then simply removing it from the Recycle Bin won't be enough. You would have to make use of a permanent file eraser. To permanently delete files, overwriting the free space on the hard drive is of paramount importance. It is a software program capable of overwriting the data of the deleted file, making it irretrievable.

Use built-in command cipher to permanently delete files from Windows

Windows is a robust operating system, and you can do many things using the command prompt. When we delete any file from the computer, it only removes the file from the table where the original file is saved. The deleted files can be recovered later using a reliable recovery tool. Therefore, you have to secure delete files using built-in commands of the computer. It is an effective way of deleting files permanently.  Cipher command is mainly for encryption and decryption of the data stored in the NTFS drive. It secures deletes files by overwriting it. This tool creates a folder named EFSTMPWP on the system partition. Learn how to permanently delete files by carrying out the following steps.


Step 1: Open CMD

Step 2: Type the Command

Type the command "cipher /w" and then mention a path of the file or folder you want to delete. Hit "Enter" and observe the file being deleted from the system. Check after this process finishes.

In the command, "cipher" instructs the computer that you want to use this tool. The "/w" tell the system to eliminate the files from a list of deleted files. After this, you type the location of the file that you are interested in deleting. This is so far the most reliable way to remove files permanently from any hard drive partition.

Permanently delete the file from Windows with a professional tool

To delete files permanently from Windows, you will have to make use of a data erasure tool. The internet is rife with software programs that claim to permanently delete files from Windows. However, most of these programs don't work and aren't able to deliver the desired results. There is one permanent file eraser available on the internet that can completely erase files from a computer, leaving no trace of it behind. Stellar BitRaser for File is a powerful and reliable data erasure tool. It is equipped with all the necessary features which are required for permanently deleting files from Windows.

    1. Download Stellar BitRaser for File and launch it.
    2. You can select any location and data options to permanently delete files.

permanently delete files from windows

  1. Selecting the target files and click the "Erase Now" button to process.
  2. It will take for a while to completely erase.

Usually, a single pass is required by Stellar BitRaser for File to permanently delete files from the system. However, if you aren't convinced that the files have been permanently deleted then you can take up to three passes to ensure that no trace of the deleted files remains.

An alternative way to delete the file permanently in Windows

You can make use of the following method for the permanent deletion of files in Windows 10. It might be available in versions of Windows that were released before Windows 10.

  1. Navigate to the Windows 10's desktop.
  2. Select the folder labeled Recycle Bin and right-click on it.
  3. In the menu that appears, choose Properties.
  4. Choose the drive which contains the files that you need to permanently delete from your system in the Properties window.
  5. Check the button in front of the option labeled 'Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted' which is located underneath 'Settings for selected location'.
  6. Confirm the settings by clicking the Apply button and then save and exit the properties window of Recycle Bin by clicking the OK button.

Simply put, it isn't that easy to permanently delete files from Windows. The data doesn't get erased after deletion or emptying of the Recycle Bin. Only by overwriting it, can you make it completely irrecoverable. While there are methods available in Windows 10 for deleting files permanently from the system but they aren't reliable. There is always a chance that the data can be recovered using a powerful data recovery tool. However, if you use a permanent file eraser like Stellar BitRaser for File for erasing files, the chances of them being recovered are zero.

The Bottom Line

The built-in Cipher.exe command-line tool is exceptionally great at removing files permanently from the computer. In the future, if you want to hand over your computer to someone else, then you can restore the deleted files when they haven't been eliminated permanently by you. The file deletion process using the cipher.exe command-line tool takes a few minutes only. If this content has helped you in learning how to permanently delete files then share this with your friends.

Recoverit author

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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