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How to permanently delete stuff from your storage media

Recently a study conducted by researchers from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK showed that almost two-thirds of second-hand memory cards still contain remnants of personal data from previous owners.
Out of 100 devices studied over a four-month period;
    36 were not wiped at all, neither the original owner nor the seller took any steps to remove the data.    29 appeared to have been formatted, but data could still be recovered "with minimal effort."    2 cards had their data deleted, but it was easily recoverable    25 appeared to have been properly wiped using a data erasing tool that overwrites the storage area, so nothing could be recovered.    4 could not be accessed (read: were broken).    4 had no data present, but the reason could not be determined

This is in no way a unique occurrence as a 2015 study that examined 122 different second-hand mobile handsets, hard disk drives and solid-state drives revealed that 57% of mobile devices and 75% of the hard disks examined were found to still contain data that someone had tried to delete.
I think this is because most people do not understand that when you click on delete in windows, all the OS does is delete the pointer to that file thereby marking the space as free. But data belonging to the deleted file blocks will remain on the disk and will not be removed until Windows needs to write new data in that place.
To prevent being in the unsavory situation described above and depending on your unique situation you will have to execute one of the three data destruction techniques.

1.       Physical Destruction:  This is by far the most effective means of data destruction ensuring that none of your data can be recovered. The equipment used to destroy these devices is a hard drive shredder or destroyer.

2.       Degaussing:  This is exposing the HDD or any magnetic storage devices to the powerful magnetic field of a degausser to destroy stored data magnetically. Of course, this won’t work on SSD or USB flash memory because data in such devices is not stored in magnetic coating material like their HDD counterparts.

3.       Sanitizing:  This works by using specialized software to cover the old data and remnants of data with random characters written by the wiping tool. While this can be effective in a lot of cases there are still scenarios where advanced recovery techniques that are hardware based are still able to capture and restore old data.

Your best bet to get rid of unwanted data is always physical destruction but if you intend to reuse the storage device then sanitization is the better option. Below are the software tools for HDD and SSD that can be used for sanitization.

Program Name


The majority of SSD manufacturers offer utilities to erase data securely from their drives. You can check your SSD drive manufacturer’s website for such utilities or search online using the phrase SSD secure erase tool X, replacing the X with the SSD maker.

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