Does deleting things really delete things?

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When I use the Chrome “tools and settings” for deletion of my browsing history and emptying of the cache, does that permanently delete those items, or can they be retrieved later if desired? With all the notoriety regarding legal discovery and request for production of emails and texts is there a way to permanently delete emails and texts from a PC so that they cannot be recovered or reconstructed by a PC expert?

It’s a well-known fact that deleting things on your computer usually doesn’t really completely destroy them. So there is definitely some risk in the scenarios that you describe.

Let’s look at each of them.

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How Do I Erase Traces of a File I Moved to an External Disk?

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If I moved a file to an external drive and then formatted that drive would that be a way to securely delete the file from my computer?

Your question could be interpreted in several different ways. I’ll try to address each of them here.

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Can I use a backup image to wipe free space?

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I need to wipe a group of computers for resale. But I’d like to retain the operating system and the drives, if possible. Does an image backup retain any traces of deleted files? If not, can I copy the hard drive image then wipe the computer and restore the image to be safe?

Yes, you can do that, but there are much easier ways to accomplish what you’re trying to do.

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