Delete files from computer
Method 1: System Tools
The built-in system tools allow you to delete files that have become unnecessary on your computer, and the options described below are suitable for all current Windows. Let’s analyze the possible methods in more detail.
Option 1: Use a special key
The easiest way to delete data is to use a key on the keyboard. It is enough to select the file by clicking on it with the left mouse button, then click on “Del” (or “Delete”).
A confirmation dialog box will appear. Click on “Yes.” If the confirmation option is disabled, the file will be deleted immediately without displaying this window.
Deleted files are sent for temporary storage to the Recycle Bin, from where they can be restored at any time if necessary. To do this, go to this folder, then find the object (or several objects), and select it. On the Recycle Bin Tools tab, click the Restore Selected Items button. The same can be done by clicking on the file not with the left mouse button but with the right one, and selecting the item “Restore”.
Option 2: Context Menu
Another common system method is using the context menu. In this case, just right-click on the file. A list of actions will be displayed. Select the “Delete” function.
In the context menu of Windows 11, instead of a line with a word, the corresponding icon is used.
Confirm the action if required. Deleted files in this option are also sent to the recycle bin.
Option 3 : a toolbar
By selecting a file/files with a single click with the left mouse button (or hovering over-depending on what system settings), they can also be deleted using the top toolbar if they are located inside a folder and not on the desktop. But first, if the panel in Windows 10 is not maximized, you need to expand it by clicking on the down arrow in the upper right corner (in the screenshot, this arrow points up, since the panel is already expanded).
In Windows 11, this tool is available immediately without displaying additional panels-just select the object.
Option 4: Emptying the Recycling Bin
If you need to completely delete files, even those temporarily stored in the recycle bin, then they will need to be cleared. There are two ways to do this: through the context menu and the folder functions.
In the first case, right-click on the icon and select the “Empty Trash” function.
The second method is to launch the “basket”. In the window, go to the “Basket Tools” tab and click on the “clear” button on the top bar.
The same effect will be achieved if you simply click on an empty space inside the “Basket” and select “Empty Basket”.
In both cases, in the window that appears, you must confirm whether you really want to permanently delete the files. It should be noted that it will be difficult to restore them later—only with the help of specialized software.
Optional: Quick delete
To bypass the “Recycle Bin” (i.e., immediately from the drive), select the file and use the key combination “Shift” + “Delete”. This option is useful if you know for sure that you won’t be restoring the object.
To get rid of files without putting them in the trash at all, do the following:
- goog_313978096goog_313978095Right-click on the “Recycle Bin” shortcut and go to “Properties.”
- Put a dot near the item “Destroy files immediately after deletion without placing them in the trash” and click on “OK.” After that, pressing the “Delete” key or using the context menu item will completely delete objects from the system.
Method 2: Third-Party Applications
Third-party programs have been developed to improve the deletion of files from your computer. They are relevant if you want to erase them without the possibility of recovery, even with the help of specialized solutions.
Option 1: Permanent erasure
When deleting objects from the system Recycle Bin, they continue to be stored on the drive, but this applies only to hard drives. Due to its features, the files actually remain on the disk until they are overwritten with new ones. That is, until this moment they are simply hidden from the user’s eyes, and the place they occupied is marked free. With an SSD, the situation is reversed-the files from there are erased irretrievably, and almost never can they be restored on their own, and even with the help of professionals, this task is almost impossible. In this regard, it makes sense only for HDD owners to use software to completely delete data.
Our separate material describes in detail programs that allow you to permanently delete files from your computer. Most of them are distributed free of charge, while some are whole packages of utilities for uninstallation and cleaning. Their tools include various formats of deletion, such as the destruction of information that has not been used for a long time.
Option 2: Delete files that have not been deleted
Some data is encrypted to prevent it from being deleted from your computer. Also, protection may stop when the file is used by another process that cannot be stopped due to the activity of viruses or system errors. Accordingly, the classic removal method will not work. There are programs that can be used to delete non-removable files regardless of the reason why they are protected. Applications have tools not only for destroying such objects but also for copying, renaming, and moving them. On our site, the author discussed in detail several effective solutions for this.
Option 3: Recover deleted data
As mentioned above, files deleted even from the recycle bin are not completely erased from the hard drive. With the help of specialized software, they can be restored, which does not guarantee the security of confidential data. This is especially true for those who plan to sell a drive or a computer/laptop along with an HDD.
An effective way to get rid of any information on a PC is to perform a full format, not a quick format, since a quick format will only hide deleted objects. In our separate article, the link to which is given just below, there is a detailed instruction on how to repeatedly format a hard drive with a change in the HDD file system.
Even manually emptying the recycle bin, as described in the first part of this material, does not allow you to truly permanently delete files, despite the fact that such a description of the procedure is given in Windows. To guarantee free disk space, you will need to use third-party applications designed for this. The following guide describes how to work with popular solutions that will help you get rid of files deleted from Windows permanently.