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The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Friday, February 2, 2007

Ensure that deleted files are unrecoverable

When you empty the trash in Mac OS X (or in any operating system), only the first and the last portion of the file is actually deleted. The file can be easily recovered with specific software. The fact that the files can be recovered so easily is useful but sometimes when working with confidential documents, the exact opposite would be much better. A great option in Mac OS X offers this particular feature. When the files are in the trash, you simply have to choose "Secure Empty Trash" in the "Finder" menu. What is actually done is that some useless data is overwritten over the old data to make sure it cannot be found.

9 Comments:

Anonymous hgnyc said...

HI, great tips. I've got about 200 locked items in my trash that were part of an old drafting program. Every time i empty the trash I have to click "skip" on each one. Changing locked permissions on them doesn't seem to work. Any advice how to delete them?

February 2, 2007 at 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Brombones said...

Drag it out of the trash to your Desktop. (I've been able to do it successfully by leaving them in the trash, just opening the trash can window)

Open the Terminal Application (in Utilities folder) and type:

cd ~/.Trash
hit return

then type;

sudo rm -rf

put a space after the f and drag the item you want deleted to the terminal so that its path is automatically entered, then press return

give it your admin password and hit return

February 2, 2007 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous John said...

There are a few options to erase locked files. One is to hold down the option key while you emty the trash. Another is to right click (Control click) on the trash icon and select empty trash.

February 2, 2007 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger heene said...

is there any way to truely delete stuff after you have already emptied the trash can?

February 2, 2007 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a bit drastic and can take a long time, but you can run Disk Utility with the "Erase Free Space" option.

You'll need a bootable Mac OS X CD with Disk Tools (i think they all have it) on it.

February 2, 2007 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To rip past locked items in trash, push and hold the options key while you select empty trash.

February 2, 2007 at 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you delete a program that says it's still running when you try to delete it? I downloaded a program called cleanapp. Everytime I drag all the corresponding folders to the trash it says that it can't be deleted because the app (cleanapp daemon) is still running. Is there another way to delete programs in Mac other than just dragging all the folders to the trash? It seems to me like you might miss something when you are trying to uninstall stuff.

February 2, 2007 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger MacGeek said...

It can be done in Terminal. It is much more risky and you must know what you are doing. I will check the exact command and come back on that later tonight. MacGeek

February 2, 2007 at 4:36 PM  
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