Do you know that even when you empty your OS’s Recycle Bin, it don’t erase Data from your computer’s Hard Disk Drive (HDD)! Your data still resides on the drive and can be easily accessed/retrieved later by various available Data Recovery Programs. If you are going to sell or dispose your desktop or laptop soon OR you would like to completely wipe a partition or folder on your computer, then let’s check out in this post how to permanently delete data from your computer’s HDD, so that it can never be recovered again.

Whenever you delete files or folders from your computer’s recycle bin, the data is not removed initially. Instead the space that was occupied by the deleted data is deallocated. After deallocation, the space becomes available again for new data to be written. Until new data is overwritten in the space, your deleted data can be recovered by data recovery programs.

How to use SDelete (Secure Delete)?

In order to completely remove or overwrite residual data from your drive, you need to download and run SDelete command line utility from Microsoft’s Technet website. Now to remove/overwrite data on your drive, run any one of the following command as per your requirements:

c:\> sdelete [-p passes] [-s] [-q] <file or directory> (E.g. c:\> sdelete -p 2 -s C:\Users – This command will run 2 passes and will wipe the entire content of C:\Users folder including all sub-folders)


c:\> sdelete [-p passes] [-z|-c] [drive letter] (E.g. c:\>sdelete -p 4 -z D:\*.* – This command will run 4 passes and will wipe the free disk space of your computer’s D:\ drive)


  • -a: Removes Read-Only attribute.
  • -c: Clean free space.
  • -p: Specifies total number of overwrite passes (default is 1).
  • -q: Don’t print errors (Quiet).
  • -s or -r: Recurse subdirectories.
  • -z: Zero free space (good for virtual disk optimization).

Important notes:

  • Run this application only after YOU are 100% sure about what you actually want to delete.
  • Above utility simply overwrites the data with a secure delete pattern. Because of this overwriting, residual data can’t be recovered.
  • The utility can work on NTFS and FAT drives without any problem. It should also work for Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 along with Windows Server 2008 and higher.
  • If you would like to securely erase Solid State Drive (SSD) with this utility, then it’s not possible.