If you're the paranoid type and you're still stuck using Windows, you need to get Eraser. Eraser is an open-source security tool for Windows that makes sure deleted files are erased and overwritten completely before they are deleted.
Many of us assume that when we delete a file, it's gone, but that's rarely the case. Most deletions merely mark the file as being deleted and recycle that area of the disk, nothing is written to it until the space is needed by a new file or by the growth of an existing file.
Even after the area is overwritten, there are some among us (and you know who you are) who believe by a careful analysis of the magnetic fields on the disk surface, one could reconstruct deleted data.
Even if you don't buy into the black helicopter scenario, there's no doubt that, at least for a time, your deleted files may still be accessible. That's where Eraser comes in. It overwrites the file with other data before it deletes the file. And, that's not all. Eraser not only overwrites the disk area used by the file, it also actually gets out a knife and scrapes off that part of the disk surface that contained the file (just kidding about that last part).
Eraser runs on all modern versions of Windows from Windows 95 on. It includes its own user interface as well as Windows Explorer extensions. The current version is 5.8.7 and is available from eraser.heidi.ie.—mitch frazier
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