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Permanently Delete Files on a PC

Posted on Dec 7, 2009
This week's Tech tip focus is on computer security and maintenance, "How to permanently delete files on a PC computer."

When you delete a file, it's usually moved to the Recycle Bin so that you can restore the file later if necessary. To recover a file, double click the Recycle Bin to open, next right click the file you want to restore to the location it was deleted from.

To permanently remove files from your computer and reclaim any hard disk space they were using, you need to delete the files from the Recycle Bin. You can delete individual files from the Recycle Bin or empty the entire Recycle Bin at once.

  1. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking the Recycle Bin on the desktop.
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. To permanently delete one file, click it, press Delete, and then click yes.
    2. To delete all of the files, on the toolbar, click Empty the Recycle Bin, and then click yes.


  • You can empty the Recycle Bin without opening it by right-clicking the Recycle Bin and then clicking Empty Recycle Bin.
  • You can permanently delete a file from your computer without sending it to the Recycle Bin by clicking the file and then pressing Shift+Delete.
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