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Whats the difference between erasure and deleting?

Updated on 3 August 2022

When you delete a file from your computer, you might think that it’s gone for good. However, that’s not the case. In fact, data deletion is a lot more complicated than most people think.

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In this guide, we will discuss the difference between data deletion and data erasure. We will also talk about why erasing data is important, and provide tips on how to do it safely and effectively.

What is deleting a file?

When you delete a file, you are simply removing the pointer to that file. The data still exists on your hard drive, and can be recovered with the right tools. On Windows the file goes to the recycle bin, while on a Mac it goes to the trash. Even if you empty the recycle bin or trash, the data is still recoverable.

Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Rippling logo Manage all your employee data
  • Run in 90 seconds
  • 100% error-free
  • Automatic tx filing
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

What happens when you delete a file?

When you delete a file, the data is not actually erased from your hard drive. Instead, the space that file occupied is now marked as free space. This free space can be overwritten by new data, but the old data is still recoverable.

Common misconceptions about deleting a file

One common misconception about deleting files is that they are gone forever. However, as we’ve seen, this is not the case. Another common misconception is that formatting your hard drive will erase all of your data. However, this is also not true. Formatting simply deletes the pointer to the data, but the data itself remains on the hard drive.

So what happens if your data is still accessible after you’ve deleted it? Well, it could be recovered by someone with the right tools and knowledge. Every year organisations are fined for data breaches, and in many cases it is because they have not erased their data properly. So what is the solution?

What is data erasure?
Data erasure is the process of overwriting data so that it can no longer be recovered. This is different from data deletion, which simply removes the pointer to the data. When data is erased, it is permanently destroyed and cannot be recovered.

There are many reasons why you might want to erase data from your hard drive. Perhaps you are selling your computer, and you want to make sure that your data is not accessible to the new owner. Or maybe you are disposing of a hard drive, and you want to make sure that your data cannot be recovered by someone else. Whatever the reason, data erasure is the best way to protect your data.

How is data erasure different from data deletion?

As we’ve seen, data deletion is not the same as data erasure. When you delete data, the data is still recoverable. Data erasure, on the other hand, permanently destroys the data so that it cannot be recovered.

There are many ways to erase data, but the most common method is to overwrite the data with zeroes or ones. This process is known as data sanitisation, and it ensures that the data cannot be recovered. There are many software programs available that can erase data effectively, and we will discuss some of these later on.

Why is erasing data important?

Erasure is important for a number of reasons, but the most important reason is data security. If you are disposing of a hard drive, you need to make sure that your data cannot be recovered by someone else. Erasing data is the only way to guarantee that your data will not be accessed by anyone else.

Another reason why erasure is important is compliance. Many organisations have a legal obligation to erase data properly, and failure to do so can result in hefty fines. Erasing data is the only way to ensure that you are compliant with data protection laws.

What data erasure tools are available?

There are many software programs available that can help you erase data effectively. Some of these programs are free, while others are paid. Some of the most popular data erasure tools include:

  • Eraser – It works with Windows XP (with Service Pack 3), Windows Server 2003 (with Service Pack 2), Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7,8,10 and Windows Server 2012.Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 can still be used with version 5.7. It works with any drive that works with Windows. Secure drive erasure methods are supported out of the box. Erases files, folders and their previously deleted counterparts. Works with an extremely customisable Scheduler.
  • File Shredder – File Shredder is an effective file shredding application that deletes files from computer beyond the scope of recovery. It is a fast, trustworthy, and safe software. It was released under the GNU license, making it available free of cost for all users.
  • HDShredder – HDShredder deletes the contents of hard disks and other mass storage media reliably at the physical level. HDShredder can also be applied to individual partitions and the user can select to perform the deletion according to international security standards. HDShredder works independent of partition layout, file sys­tem and operating system. It also works with proprietary formats which otherwise would be inaccessible.

Benefits of using a data erasure company?

There are many benefits of using a professional service. One of the primary benefits is that it can be carried out quickly and efficiently. A specialist will have the tools and knowledge to carry out data erasure in the most effective way possible. This means that your data can be erased quickly and completely, without any risk of data recovery.

A company should also be certified by a data erasure standard. This means that they have been independently verified to meet the highest standards of data destruction. This provides you with peace of mind that your data will be completely erased, and cannot be recovered by anyone.

Using a data destruction company can also save you time and money. Data erasure is a complex process, and can be very time-consuming. By using a professional company, you can be sure that the job will be done quickly and efficiently, without any hassle. This can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Once the process has been completed you will be provided with a certificate of destruction. This certificate can be used to show that you have taken all the necessary steps to protect your data, and that it has been completely erased. This can be useful if you ever need to dispose of your hard drive, or if you need to prove to a third party that your data has been erased.

Conclusion

Deleting data does not actually erase the data from your hard drive. Data is only erased when it is overwritten with zeroes or ones. This process is known as data sanitisation, and it ensures that the data cannot be recovered. There are many software programs available that can erase data effectively, and we will discuss some of these later on.

FAQs

Does deleting my files mean they are unrecoverable?

No, deleting your files does not mean that they are unrecoverable. When you delete a file, it is simply removed from your hard drive. The data still exists on your hard drive, and can be recovered using data recovery software. In order to completely erase data from your hard drive, you need to use data sanitisation software. This software will overwrite the data on your hard drive with zeroes or ones, making it unrecoverable.

What is the difference between deleting and erasing?

When you delete data, it is simply removed from your hard drive. The data still exists on your hard drive, and can be recovered using data recovery software. In order to completely erase data from your hard drive, you need to use data sanitisation software. This software will overwrite the data on your hard drive with zeroes or ones, making it unrecoverable.

What is data erasure?

Data erasure is the process of overwriting data so that it can no longer be recovered. This is different from data deletion, which only deletes the data from the file system. Data erasure ensures that the data is completely erased, and cannot be recovered by anyone.

What are the benefits of data erasure?

Data erasure has many benefits. It can be used to comply with data protection laws, as well as to protect your data from being recovered by anyone. Data erasure can also save you time and money in the long run.

What data erasure tools are available?

There are many data erasure tools available, both free and paid. Some of the most popular data erasure tools include Eraser, File Shredder, and Secure erase.

How can I be sure that data has been completely erased?

The only way to be sure that data has been completely erased is to use a data erasure company. Data erasure companies are certified by data erasure standards, and they have the tools and knowledge to carry out data erasure in the most effective way possible. You can also ask for a certificate of destruction, which will show that the data has been completely erased.

Do I need to erase data from my hard drive?

It is not necessary to erase data from your hard drive, unless you are disposing of it or selling it. If you are worried about data recovery, then you may want to consider erasing data from your hard drive.

How much does data erasure cost?

It can be carried out for free, using data erasure software. However, if you want to use a data erasure company, then the cost will vary depending on the size of the hard drive and the number of drives that need to be erased.

What are the data erasure standards?

Standards are a set of guidelines that data erasure companies must follow. The standards ensure that data is completely erased, and cannot be recovered by anyone.

What is a certificate of destruction?

A certificate of destruction is a document that proves that data has been completely erased. This can be useful if you need to dispose of your hard drive, or if you need to prove to a third party that your data has been erased.

Can I erase data myself?

Yes, you can erase data yourself using data erasure software. However, it is a complex process, and it is recommended that you use a data destruction company. Companies are certified by data erasure standards, and they have the tools and knowledge to carry out data erasure in the most effective way possible. You can also ask for a certificate of destruction, which will show that the data has been completely erased.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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