A Reader’s Question: How Does My Computer’s Trash/Recycle Bin Work?

by Roberta Piket on September 17, 2017

in Messages from the Owner, News

A reader wote the following recently:

“When I delete something on my computer it goes to trash. When I delete it from trash where does it go?”

When you delete an item from your recycle bin, from the user’s point of view it’s “gone”. That means that space on the hard drive is now available for something else. In reality, it’s still there but it can be overwritten at any time by the system, and the only way to get it back is by using professional data recovery software or, failing that, by sending it to a data recovery lab. However, once the system overwrites that location on the hard drive (which you have no control over once you delete it from trash), it’s gone forever and most likely can never be recovered.

If you have files on your computer that you can’t afford to lose, it’s a good idea to back them up, and set the backup not to purge deleted files from the backup for a certain period of time. That way, if you accidentally permanently back up a file, you can retrieve it from your backup. If you are concerned that your backup does not retain deleted files, please contact us to discuss how we can help improve your backup so you can rest easy.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Larry Kessler September 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm

And please, don’t use the trash or recycle bin as any kind of storage! You can fish anything out of there that you didn’t mean to delete, but utility programs like CCleaner can empty the recycle bin even if you didn’t mean to. I’ve read numerous tech-support horror stories where people used their recycle bin like just another storage folder and you can guess the rest.


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