Destroying your files properly

Sending your files to the “trash” doesn’t actually get rid of them. Most of the time, the file is simply moved from one place to another, and can be easily retrieved with simple forensic software. If you want to truly dispose of your files, we recommend “shredding” them.

Instead of just moving the file and pretending it no longer exists, shredding overrides the file with lots of other data: The file is replaced with random nonsense, that nonsense is itself overridden, and the process repeats. If someone attempts to recover the file, they’ll get nothing meaningful.

If you’re a Windows user a good place to start is Eraser. This easy-to-use piece of software will significantly improve your personal security. If you want to shred a file, right click it and select “erase” rather than delete. It’s actually simpler than standard Windows deleting because it avoids you having to deal with the Recycle Bin. You can also customize your erasure methods and set up automatic, timed erasing.

Embedded video

Macs used to have a handy shredding function built in. No longer. If you’re technically skilled you can still use the Terminal, but for most people software like Clean My Mac 3 is the easiest bet.

Don't delete your files. Obliterate them. Emptying your recycle bin simply moves data to a more "invisible" section of your drive and can be recovered in seconds. Using a technique known as shredding, you'll be able to rest easy knowing your files are gone for good.