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Screen capture of warning message users see when trying to permanently delete a file.

Some Items Don’t Belong In the Trash/Recycle Bin

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Posted in: Apple, Microsoft or Windows, Security, Tech Tips

Most of us simply “delete” files when we no longer need or want them — but sometimes that may be a dangerous thing to do.

Why? Because deleted files aren’t really deleted; they are moved to the Recycle Bin on Windows and to the Trash Can on macOS. Those locations are no different than any other folder, which means the files are still accessible. And if one of those files is infected with malware, it’s still capable of executing.

When you want to truly remove a file from your hard drive, you will want to bypass the Recycle Bin or Trash Can and annihilate the file all together. Before you do so, be 100 percent sure you will never need that fie again: You cannot undo this action and you cannot recover a file once it has been permanently deleted.

How to delete files instantly and permanently from your hard drive

On a Windows device, right-click on the file (or email), press the Shift key while you click Delete. You should see a warning message that says, “Are you sure you want to permanently delete this file?” If you are 100 percent sure, click Yes.

On a Mac, select the file you want to delete and press Option + Command + Delete all at the same time. You will receive the warning message, “Are you sure you want to delete? This item will be deleted immediately. You can’t undo this action.” If you’re sure, click Delete.

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