Discarding data is not as straightforward as it appears. When you click “Delete” or move a file to a Recycle Bin (for Windows users) or Trash (for Apple product users), it does not just disappear from your device. The deleted file stays on your device until the operating system requires the space the file holds and overwrites it with new data. Until that happens, the “deleted” file stays on your device and can be recovered by someone who knows what they are doing.
There are free tools that you can use to securely wipe files from your devices, that is, to delete them and replace their binary data with random combinations of ones and zeros. BleachBit is one of such tools for Windows and Linux devices. It removes data from your hard drive and storage media securely and permanently.
Unfortunately, if you use SSD (Solid State Drive) devices, it is not always possible to delete all data from them securely and permanently. Encrypting these devices is one way to make data recovery from them more difficult.
Start using BleachBit
- Download BleachBit directly from https://www.bleachbit.org/
- Install BleachBit
- Open BleachBit and select all the data you want the tool to delete securely and permanently from your deviceNote that when you delete temporary internet files, you can select all or some of the web browsers you have installed on your device. Deleting temporary internet files from a web browser will log you out of all websites. So it may be a good idea to save passwords that your web browser stores to a password manager before deleting temporary internet files.
- When you have selected all the options you need, click “Clean”.