Deleting Is So Hard To Do

Deleting is difficult. I read this in today’s NY Times. I also enjoyed a new favorite haunt, Northampton Coffee Company, on Pleasant St. It’s always early when I go in, and I get the paper and strong coffee and sit by the window looking out.

“When normal deletion methods like the Recycle Bin or the delete command are used, the computer’s operating system, for the sake of speed, creates an illusion that data has been deleted. In fact, it merely earmarks that region of the disk or drive as being available for new data to overwrite the old data. Until that overwriting occurs, the old data can be retrieved with undelete programs and tools used by data recovery labs and law enforcement agencies.

There are, however, several options for securely eliminating data from hard disks, USB flash drives and other storage media. These programs overwrite data with meaningless characters to render it unrecoverable with today’s data recovery techniques. Some of the programs can overwrite entire drives, while others can single out individual files or other info saaved by a computer’s operating system. Shredding machines that can destroy diskettes, CDs and DVD’s are also available.