Where does the deleted file go?

Posted on 2007-11-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Where does the deleted file go?
As far as I know when a file is deleted it goes to the recycle bin and Where after we empty the recycle bin?

Some time if we delet a file which are of a very large size or from different (external ) media the file cannot be found in the recycle bin.

Even though it is deleted from the recycle bin. how come application can recover it back?

So what happens to a deleted file? Where does it go?

Question by:scoinzen

Accepted Solution

tryokane earned 1000 total points
ID: 20278935
They just delete the entry from your partition table, so that it tells ur computer that now it has that space to use to write more files into it. As long as you don't overwrite that space contain by that data your data usually can still be recovered back.

Author Comment

ID: 20278956
So how much space is allocated for those kind of file(i.e. the deleted files). And how can we be sure if it has been overwritten by another file or not.
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

r-k earned 1000 total points
ID: 20287211
"So how much space is allocated for those kind of file(i.e. the deleted files)."

No space is allocated. The space formerly occupied is marked as "free" (once you empty the recycle bin). As new files are created, one or more will evetually occupy the free space, so after some time the old deleted file can no longer be recovered.

"..how can we be sure if it has been overwritten by another file or not."

You can't be sure, normally. If you want to guarantee that free space has been erased or overwritten, you have to do it yourself by one of two means:

(1) Run a special program, such as DBAN (http://dban.sourceforge.net/) to erase the entire hard drive. Caution: you will lose everything on the disk.

(2) Run a program like SDelete (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/FileAndDisk/SDelete.mspx) to overwrite all free space on disk, leaving the files intact.
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Author Comment

ID: 20290159
Thanks r-k. As you've mentioned that we could completely wipe out everything thats in a hard dirve. But looking at some examples, we've seen police recover data and information from a completely formatted and wiped out hard disk. How is it possible.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 20290998
"..recover data and information from a completely formatted.."
"How is it possible"

It is possible in those cases where the drive was not securely erased.

You can erase a drive in several ways:

(A) Delete all files on the drive.
(B) Reformat or re-partition the drive.
(C) Low-level format the drive.
(D) Securely erase the drive.
(E) Physically destroy the drive.

As you may guess, the difficulty of recovery increases from (A) to (E). In particular, almost anyone can recover files from a drive where (A) or (B) were used. The FBI may be able to recover a drive where (C) was used. Certainly no one can recover from (E) if the damage is severe enough (e.g. melt the drive).

The question is method (D). In my opinion, even the FBI cannot recover data from a drive that was securely erased. By securely erased, I mean with a program like DBAN (link above). There are others also but DBAN is free and well known.

Of course I don't work for the FBI and can't prove this. This is just my opinion based on experience and knowing how DBAN works.

Expert Comment

ID: 20482690
Forced accept.

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