But when you sell or recycle your old computer, laptop or tablet you run the risk that some or all of your personal data might get into the wrong hands - even though you think you have deleted it. It’s a real danger that someone else can get hold of your passwords, bank details, credit card details or other confidential data. With rampant identity fraud and cyber crime these days this is something that should be treated as urgent.
"Not everyone realises that deleting files from your computer hard drive doesn't actually do anything except flag the file as being in the Windows Recycle Bin" says Terry Witchell, Chief Data Technician at Redivivus. "Windows makes it easy for you (or anyone else) to recover files you have deleted by mistake".
People also think that if you empty the Recycle Bin all files are then permanently erased. But this isn't true either. "... nothing is actually "removed" from the hard disk" commented Terry "...What actually happens is the physical space on the drive used by your "deleted" data is "de allocated" and labelled as available for other files to use".
So even though files appear to have been deleted even a moderately skilled IT guy would have few problems with restoring the "deleted" data. Indeed data recovery software to do this is freely available on the internet. Other than smashing the disk the only way to properly sanitize it is by physically overwriting it with new data and this is essentially what disk "wiping" software does. In effect it writes new data over all of the hard drive; usually random characters or ones & zeros.
Whilst a single "wipe" of an entire drive ought to be be sufficient to permanently cover all data IT experts often recommend doing multiple "passes" as it has been theorised that using a magnetic force microscope to examine each disk sector's magnetic field may determine its previous state and thus it may be possible to recover some fragments of data. In theory this may be true but no one has ever done it so one wipe should be enough but 3 passes are usually performed just to be doubly and trebly sure! Read more about data destruction here http://www.sellmylaptopuk.co.uk/
At RediVivus we recommend that before you sell your PC, laptop or tablet you use some good data destruction software before you sell it or use a competent company to destroy it for you. At Redivivus we use state of the art UK government (CESG) rated software and deploy a three or a seven times pass just to make sure that no data is left no matter how fragmentary. For more information visit http://www.sellmylaptopuk.co.uk/