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Deleting pictures from computers

by Britza / March 2, 2007 12:25 AM PST

I downloaded some personal pictures from a digital camera. I deleted them as well as cleaned out my recycle bin. Are they completely gone? I don't want my kids to ever find them or the repairman if I ever have to take it in. If they are still hiding somewhere- how can I get rid of them?

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Possibly
by jackson dougless / March 2, 2007 1:20 AM PST

They may still be there, but someone would have to know how to find them, AND go looking for them, in order for them to be found.

There really is no sure way to delete anything on a hard drive, short of physically destroying it. Something along the lines of melting down the platters to nothing but goo. Otherwise, there's always a small chance someone could manage to get data off there.

The good news is, most people have no clue how to do this. Also, the more you use the computer, the harder it will be to recover those files. It's almost never impossible, but shouldn't take too long before you'd need the resources of recovery professionals.

Not to add to your paranoia, but memory cards for digital cameras work on the same basic principles as hard drives, and are also potentially subject to data recovery. So whatever these photos were of, if they are still on the memory card for the camera, probably best to make sure it's stored somewhere people aren't likely to go looking for it.

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More Questions
by Britza / March 2, 2007 1:33 AM PST
In reply to: Possibly

I didn't actually save the pictures to my computer- I just downloaded and printed them off. Does this change things?

Also, I deleted everything off the memory card- should that take care of it?

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Maybe
by jackson dougless / March 2, 2007 4:27 AM PST
In reply to: More Questions

A lot of times temp files are created for these sorts of processes. I really wouldn't worry too much about it. One of the good things about most Windows users barely being able to manage turning a computer on, is that they wouldn't know where to begin trying to find these photos if they knew they existed to begin with.

As for the memory card... I would fill it with random photos 2-3 times, and that should make it near impossible to ever recover the photos you don't want being found. Way more trouble than almost anyone is going to go to, unless you're some sort of public figure that could be blackmailed or something. In which case, I'd chuck the memory card into the fireplace or something, and get a new one.

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Test it. Free tool to try.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 2, 2007 1:29 AM PST
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try these
by Les28 / March 2, 2007 3:14 AM PST

I think I'd download the free prog ccleaner and use it to delete your index.dat files first
http://www.ccleaner.com/

Then have a look at removing your user assist count keys in the registry, have a read of this to see how to do it
http://www.personal-computer-tutor.com/abc3/v29/vic29.htm

Finally I'd download the free prog Eraser and have it clean the unused free disc space on your PC, might take a few hours depending on size of disc and amount of free space to write over, I'd do a defrag afterwards as well.
http://www.freewarefiles.com/program_9_95_1793.html

Les.

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Eraser
by linkit / March 2, 2007 8:21 AM PST
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the short answer is yes they can be recovered...
by Edward ODaniel / March 3, 2007 2:27 AM PST

and although you later say that you "didn't actually save the pictures to my computer- I just downloaded and printed them off" if they went through your conputer they were saved somewhere to its hard drive. Either a specific directory that you "downloaded" them to or into a printer spool file (makes it a little harder but nothing that can't be handles fairly easily) or the environment's TEMP directory.

There is a very handy utility that has been around for years that EVERYONE using Windows should have because it does not require installation and can easily be run from a boot diskette (or from a bootable CD if your system has no floppy drive). It takes care of recovering files AND it has the ability to make already deleted files unrecoverable through easy methods (such as what your computer repair shop would have the time to use). To use it you simply unzip the download then run the RESTORATION.EXE. Choose the drive you want to check for deleted files (don't be surprised at the number found), recover any you want to recover and then it is time to get rid of them. Do this by clicking on the word Others in the top left of the app and select to delete completely.

http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html

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