How to Delete Files and Folders Securely & Irrecoverably in Windows 10

When you delete a file or folder, it can be recovered using special tools. If you do not want that to happen, stick to the below steps to delete files and folders securely and irrecoverably.

Generally, whenever you delete a file or folder, Windows is just taking out the pointer to that location and marking that location as free. When Windows needs to store another thing, it just overwrites the deleted content. When and how Windows overwrites the deleted submissions are completely as much as it. You have little to no control over it.

However, as long as the deleted submissions are not overwritten, you are able to recover the files or folders you deleted relatively easily using special programs.

So, if you want to ensure that no one can recover your deleted files, you need to secure delete them. This particularly significant for sensitive files.

Secure deletion is certainly not but a procedure in which you delete personal files after which overwrite the area occupied by the deleted files with random data or gibberish. As you are purposefully overwriting, it’s also impossible to recuperate the files that are securely deleted.

To make this happen, we will make use of a first-party free software called. SDelete. SDelete is a straightforward command-line program which makes it easy to delete files securely and irrecoverably.

Download SDelete from Microsoft and extract it to some folder on to your desktop. Once you’ve done that, follow the below steps.

To delete files securely, you need admin rights.

Delete Files Securely

1. First, search for “Command Prompt” within the start menu, right-click on the result and choose “Run as Administrator”. If you work with Windows 10, you can also select the same option from the right panel.

2. Within the Command Prompt window, visit the SDelete folder using the below command. Replace the dummy path using the actual SDelete folder path.

cd “C:\path\to\sdelete\folder”

3. Now, execute the below command to delete a file. Be sure to replace the dummy file path and the file name with the actual path and file name along with its extension.

sdelete “C:\path\to\file.txt”

4. If this sounds like your first time using SDelete, you might see a policy window. Accept the insurance policy and SDelete will delete the file.

Delete Folders Securely

Much like files, you can also delete folders. Since a folder may contain multiple files or sub-folders, you have to add one more switch to the command. Let me show you how.

1. Like before, open Command Prompt as admin and navigate to the SDelete folder using the cd command.

2. Within the Command Prompt window, execute the below command. Be sure to replace the dummy folder path using the actual folder path.

sdelete -s “C:\path\to\folder”

The -s within the above command can make the SDelete program to recursively delete any files and folders within the target folder and delete the particular folder.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, it is really quite simple and easy to securely delete files and folders in Windows 10. If you’re deleting confidential or sensitive information, I recommend you stick to the above approach to ensure that no one can recover the files you delete.