How to Completely Delete Files on Windows 10 Using SDelete

You need to know that by clicking the delete button or option, the files don’t get deleted completely. They move to the Recycle Bin, and you can even retrieve them from there. Most of the Windows users think that once they delete files from Recycle Bin, the data is permanently deleted. But it is not like that. People with malicious intent can still retrieve the deleted files. If the deleted files are very personal and you don’t want anyone to retrieve them, you need to delete them completely. 

There are various third-party tools available for users to delete files completely and securely, or you can choose the free tool from Microsoft. Read till the end to know the process of downloading, installing, and using Microsoft’s SDelete utility. This tool will help you remove the file entirely from your device so that nobody can see them.

Deleting files entirely and securely on Windows 10

Microsoft offers SDelete, which comes as a Sysinternals command-line utility, for deleting files from everywhere on Windows 10. You can quickly delete one or multiple files with the use of this tool. To use the SDelete tool, you will have to extract the associated executable files after downloading. Make sure that the executable files are extracted in Drive C, for betterment. Once you place the .exe file inside the System32 folder, you can delete files from anywhere on your PC. If you don’t know about the basic command-line structure for SDelete utility, it is “sdelete -p -s -q”. Here’s the function of each parameter, according to Microsoft:

* -a: Remove Read-Only attribute.

* -c: Clean free space.

* -p passes: Specifies 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).

How to use SDelete utility?

For using SDelete utility, you need to open the administrative-level command prompt. Go to the Start button, which is available on the bottom left side of the screen and right-click over there. Once the command prompt opens, enter the dedicated command for SDelete. Here’s a command-line entry for three passes in quiet mode with recursive subdirectories: “sdelete -p 3 -r -q C:\SensitiveData”.

This tool is not capable of deleting files on its own. It can only overwrite the memory sectors of data. You should not worry about the existing files as it will provide no harm to them.

Emily Williams is a self-professed security expert; she has been making the people aware of the security threats. Her passion is to write about Cyber security, cryptography, malware, social engineering, internet and new media. She writes for Norton security products at


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