In Windows system, if you’ve accidentally deleted an important file, it is still possible to recover it back as long as you don’t install any software or copy any new files on the drive that you want to recover. When a file is deleted from Windows, it is not really deleted. Windows only marks it as deleted and freeing the space that was previously being used by the file. That’s why your hard disk free space will increase when you delete files from your computer.
Previously I’ve written an article on 10 free tools that you can use to recover data. Data recovery works (I will show you) if it is not being overwritten. So if you have a sensitive file that cannot let anyone know, I will show you how to permanently delete the file from your computer to prevent it from being recovered.
UltraShredder is a standalone, USB portable file shredder which deletes sensitive files by overwriting them with random characters, saving it to disk each time, and then bypasses the recycle bin, thus acting as your personal, portable file shredder. If the file were to be recovered by a data recovery program, they would only be able to see unintelligible characters on disk where the file used to be. The program is a great tool to destroy sensitive data, and is very small with a minute memory footprint, and makes no changes to your system whatsoever.
Let’s do a test. I will copy a 3.5MB PDF file to my USB flash drive. Delete it and then use a data recovery to try to recover the deleted PDF file. If the PDF file is able to recover, I will again copy the PDF file to USB flash drive, delete it using UltraShredder, and try recovering the PDF file again.
1. A ddd.pdf file with the file size of 3507KB has been copied to my (F:) USB flash drive.
2. I deleted ddd.pdf file from USB flash drive and then use Recuva to try to search for any deleted files. It is able to find _DD.PDF with the filesize 3506KB and in excellent state. I recovered the PDF file, save it to my desktop and the PDF file was able to open. This proofs that data recovery works.
3. Now I copy ddd.pdf file again to my F: drive, ran UltraShredder and added the PDF file to the program. I use the default number of Shreds which is (2) and click the Shred! button. A few seconds later, UltraShredder reports that it has finished shredding.
4. The ddd.pdf file can no longer be seen in the F drive. I will try to see if I can recover the PDF file with Recuva. Ran a scan, it shows that there is 2 _DD.PDF file with an “Unrecoverable” state. It also has a comment that says “This file is overwritten with F:eeeee.eeee”. I checked both of the file, click the Recover button but the files are not recovered.
From the test above, I can conclude that UltraShredder is a solid way of securely deleting files and preventing anyone from recovering it back. If you search around, there are lots of free software that can permanently delete your files to prevent it from being recovered. I am sure they all can work as it is described and might be even better than UltraShredder. I just needed something simple that can do the job. Final note, UltraShredder doesn’t support shredding folders but can shred multiple files.