When I delete files are they really deleted?

Shawn December 26, 2010

If I delete a file or document, does it really become deleted? I try to keep unnecessary things off my computer to make sure I have space for the things I do need. Am I really conserving my memory by deleting unnecessary items? I have a Dell Inspiron 1525 with Windows Vista.

  1. Anonymous
    May 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    No the file are not deleted as soon, sometimes it may be happen but always the file stores their temp file in the temp folder through we can get the file with some recovery software

  2. Tina
    December 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm


    when you delete a file in Windows, the file is not removed because that would take too long. Merely the information where it is stored is removed from an index file. That's why in Windows it's relatively easy to restore files that were deleted by accident.

    The file doesn't get deleted until another file or a random 0s and 1s is written over it, for example when you use a tool to randomly overwrite 'empty' hard drive space, or when you format your hard drive.

    Performing regular system maintenance and removing junk files does not necessarily increase your performance. However, it removes unnecessary file clutter and the respective folders won't 'lag'. In addition, you preserve hard drive space.

    A lack of hard drive space can indeed cause a dip in performance, but only when it reaches a critical level or in case the remaining space is highly fragmented.

    You are preserving RAM (random access memory) and CPU by stopping programs from loading on startup. Removing junk files has no direct impact on memory or CPU performance.

    • Shawn
      December 27, 2010 at 5:54 am

      Thank you much, your answer was clear, I was able to understand. I had heard files aren't really deleted, but now I understand why. I don't think I have anything to worry about as far as memory.
      Thank you Tina

      • Tina
        December 27, 2010 at 6:07 am

        You're welcome.

    • Tina
      September 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      8 months later I shall add a correction: Formatting your hard drive does not delete files, either. It merely sets up the file system from scratch.

      The file system is what organizes files stored on the hard drive. It keeps a record of where files are stored in an index file or table. So in essence, formatting a hard drive removes that information, but it does not delete the files, and it won't (actively) overwrite files.