Saturday, April 16, 2011

Deleting Files!

I am not sure why, but it seems like a lot of computer users I know struggle with deleting files.  Deleting a file actually involves several steps and even after completing all the steps below the file will still not be removed from the hard drive!

When deleting files, it is important to remember the files themselves are not actually deleted!  Only the pointers to file are deleted.  A pointer essentially allows the computer to locate and account for a file and the space it takes up.  So, delete the pointer and Windows will no longer be able to find the file and file will appear to be deleted and the space the file took up will be available.

Because the file is actually still on the hard drive it is still possible to recover a file that has been deleted and emptied from the Recycle Bin by using a special utility that can scan the hard drive.  If you need to recover a file you have accidentally deleted, it is extremely important that you try to recover it right away, otherwise Windows may overwrite the portion of the hard drive where the file was residing; to Windows this appears as empty space, even though technically it is not!

Two main ways you can delete a file are either by right clicking on the file and clicking delete or by selecting the file and pressing the delete key on the keyboard (yep that is what the Delete key on the keyboard is for!).

right-click-delete-file
Right Click on file and click Delete.

file-menu-delete-for-deleting-file
Or select file you wish to delete and from the File menu click Delete.

Once you have pressed/clicked delete Windows will confirm that you actually want to delete the file/s.  If you click Yes, the file will be deleted and sent to the Recycle Bin.

are-you-sure-you-want-to-delete-file-dialog

At this point this point, the deleted files are residing in the Recycle Bin and are still on the system taking up space.  This is something I see quite often, users will delete files but simply just leave them to pile up in the Recycle Bin.  One of the excuses I hear as to why a user does not empty the Recycle Bin is because they might need a file they have deleted.  My only comment on that is why did you delete the file then?  The Recycle Bin is not a storage location!

Once the Recycle Bin has been emptied, the pointer to the file will be permanently deleted from the system and the space the file took up will become available.

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