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SmartBiz's Keys to Online Success: How and When to Delete PC Data
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By Carl Weinschenk

Press the delete key and the file is gone, right?

Wrong. Data is not erased from the hard drive of a desktop or laptop PC by pressing the delete key. It's only renamed and stored elsewhere in the device. That's why it's possible to retrieve the file later by using undelete functions.

It's important to understand some basic facts about deleting data from computers. For one thing, special programs are necessary to truly delete files. Even some of these aren't foolproof. Forensic computer experts can often can resurrect data despite their exposure to these programs.

It's also important to understand when it is okay to use the programs. Experts say that deleting—totally deleting—files can be a problem if, for instance, regulatory time periods for their storage haven’t passed or if they are or may be relevant to legal proceedings.

The bottom line is that it is important to know if the data you think is being deleted really is gone—and when it's okay to make that happen.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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