| By Fred Langa |
If you’re concerned about deleted-data security, you need to think about what happens when you move or cut-and-paste files.
It takes an extra step or two, but free software — including two little-known tools from Microsoft — can make all your deleted data safe from data snoops, regardless of how the files were originally deleted.
Security concerns about moved files
Reader Tom Smith is wisely thinking about all the aspects of his data security.
- “If I move a file from my primary hard drive to an external drive, is a copy of the file still on the original drive? I realize that if I delete a file, it’s still on the drive until a later time when it’s overwritten, but I’m wondering if it also holds true for a file that has been moved using cut-and-paste.“
Until then, the original file’s data can be recovered with virtually any unerase, undelete, or file-recovery tool.
The easiest way by far to wipe clean the space used by files that were cut, moved, or otherwise deleted is to use a small, free tool such as Piriform’s CCleaner (site). With a couple of clicks, you can data-wipe all the previously used areas of your hard drive.
Depending on the level of wiping you choose, your old data goes from merely difficult to next-to-impossible to recover. (See Figure 1.)