Yes, you can make deleted files unrecoverable on Windows 8, 7 and in Vista. If you thought emptying the Recycle Bin will permanently delete all the files it contained, you are wrong. Even if you format a drive, the data can still be recovered. There are plenty of file recovery software solutions that can recover deleted files, making your private data open for anyone to view. This is the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I think of putting my laptop up for sale: “What if someone runs a recovery software and gets access to all my data including pictures and other sensitive bits of information?”. There had to be a solution for it and there certainly is one.

With SDelete v1.61, you can permanently delete files and make them unrecoverable. This free utility published by Microsoft allows you to delete files forever, putting an end to the worries associated with potential file recovery by anyone. As per Microsoft:

You can use SDelete both to securely delete existing files, as well as to securely erase any file data that exists in the unallocated portions of a disk (including files that you have already deleted or encrypted). SDelete implements the Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DOD 5220.22-M, to give you confidence that once deleted with SDelete, your file data is gone forever. Note that SDelete securely deletes file data, but not file names located in free disk space.

How to Use SDelete to Make Deleted Files Unrecoverable

Step 1: Download the utility from this page: SDelete.zip.

Step 2: Unzip the downloaded file and then run sdelete.exe. Preferably, extract to to C:\.

Step 3: Click on “Agree” button to accept the license terms.

Step 4: In Command Prompt, navigate to the directory where you placed the sdelete.exe file.

Step 5: Type in following command:

sdelete.exe file-or-folder-name

Enter the complete path and name of the file or folder that you want to delete. Your files will be permanently deleted and will become irrecoverable by any file recovery software.