Files still on computer after they've been deleted

By Anonymous Danny ยท 7 replies
Mar 30, 2005
  1. Hello everyone. Tonight I downloaded a freeware program called Restoration 2.5.14. It said it was a program that was able to restore files that had been deleted. Just for kicks I ran this program to see how many files it would restore. To my suprise, it detected about 20,000 that could be. But as I perused through, I saw that some of these files are taking up quite a bit of space, up to a few hundred mb and that I really don't ever need them. Some I recognize but some I don't. I see they're in directories such as Recylcers, some in stuff like "data", and some it says is in C:<unknown>. I'm not sure if this has to do with stuff like minidumps. I have two questions. 1. Should I delete all the stuff, just the stuff I don't need, or nothing; is any of this stuff important to the system running? 2. If I should clear this up, does anyone know any programs that could help, i'm not sure where to find C:<unkown> and other strange directories. The only thing I could think of would be to restore the file then try deleting it again but that might just become a tiresome loop. Ideas anyone?
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    What OS are you running?

    Maybe a system restore to a point before you downloaded the programme you speak of.

    Regards Howard :grinthumb
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Deleted files are not on your computer per se (unless they are in the Recycle Bin of course), just the contents of the files are still on the disk. No room is being taken up by this.

    When you delete a file the space occupied by the file is marked as "unused" so when the OS wants to write something it can use that space now. When nothing has yet been written on top of the deleted file then the contents can be recovered.

    There are special file wiping programs delete a file and then explicitly overwrite the file location so the contents cannot be recovered.
  4. patio

    patio TS Guru Posts: 482

    Also do you happen to be running Nortons by any chance ? ?

    patio. :cool:
  5. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

  6. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    If no sensitive data I would not worry bout it
    once you do a normal delete the file allocate table will not see and when you need to add data it will use(write over that area of the disc) .
    if on the other hand you don't want some else doing the same (get access to your drive)
    any program the writes 0' or 1' to (empty space's) will work
    should to over write at least 3 times
    don't know of any free app's for this
  7. Anonymous Danny

    Anonymous Danny TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    well ill try to answer all ur questions. i used to have norton but uninstallled it. i run Windows XP. so i'm gonna take a stab at what all this means. basically when u delete something from ur system, it is allocated in the free space on ur drive. it doesn't take up any space, it just remains there if u need to restore it. when something else, like a real accessible file, is put on the disk space where this "deleted" file is, it overwrites it. is thatclose? does it have anything to do with restore points? also, i've tried using that program directory snoop. it's really strange. thnx for the help though everyone
  8. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    If I interpret your posts correctly, you wanted to 'restore' some deleted files, then stumbled upon the leftovers of a boatload of deleted files. Some of these can be retrieved, others not, because they have been (partially) overwritten.

    A deleted file does not interfere with the operating system, nor does it take up valuable space. Its space is available to any program that needs to write or enlarge a file. So what you wrote in your last post is correct.
    To prevent others from seeing WHAT you have deleted, you can use various programs with government-strength delete-capacity. If you are a neatness-freak, programs like DirSnoop can eliminate traces of normally deleted files, by wiping the FAT-entries. It will then become a lot harder, but not impossible, to still trace old data, but at least it all LOOKS clean. DirSnoop is a bit convoluted to handle, but it does its job well.

    Now Restore Points are something entirely different. They take a snapshot of your system, then store that away for future reference. Should your PC crash e.g. after installing new software, you just roll back to before you installed that bad software, by Restoring the last known good Point.
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