After deleting a file, there is a possibility tech-savvy guys or hackers can recover the file’s contents if they can access to the computer. It happens, for instance, after you have left your company, the company transfers your old laptop or computer to another party. The new guy who are using your old computer can easily recover your deleted confidential or private files. This is because when a file is deleted, Windows is only removed the index for the file and prevents the operating system from accessing the file’s contents. Until and unless the file’s content being overwritten by another files (the chance is slim), otherwise, this deleted file is recoverable. Similarly, the encrypted file via Encrypting File System (EFS) is also recoverable because the file’s original unencrypted file data is still left in the disk even though a new encrypted version is created.

To ensure your confidential files are completely removed from your old computer, what you can do is try to use some secure delete applications such as File Deleter. These secure delete applications can securely remove the existing files without leaving any traceable track for recovery. However, most of these applications are chargeable. A cost is normally attached to these applications. If you are eyeing for a free tool to delete your file completely and unrecoverable from your XP or Vista, probably you can use this tiny tool, SDelete (Secure Delete) recommended by Windows Vista Resource Kit. SDelete is a command line application which allows users to delete the existing confidential files or any file data that exists in the unallocated portions of a disk; to overwrite deleted files on the hard drive and to cleanse the free space on a logical disk. Some of the practical SDelete’s command:

Usage: sdelete [-p passes] [-s] [-q]
sdelete [-p passes] [-z|-c] [drive letter]

-c: Zero free space (good for virtual disk optimization).
-p passes: Specifies number of overwrite passes.
-s: Recurse subdirectories.
-q: Don’t print errors (quiet).
-z: Cleanse free space.

Download link for SDelete.