When you delete files using Windows File Explorer, it does not destroy those files completely. It simply removes the references of those files from the file table without actually removing their data. It can be compared to removing the label off a coffee jar. Just because you removed the label, it does not remove the coffee from that jar.
In a Windows PC, anyone can recover or restore previously deleted files using a data recovery software like Recuva. In order to make sure that your sensitive files are completely destroyed and cannot be recovered by anyone, you have to use a file shredder or secure eraser software.
Fortunately, if you are using PeaZip archiver, then you already have a file shredder on your system. The free and open-source archiver PeaZip comes with a secure delete tool built inside. It can be used in the following two ways:
- Launch PeaZip browser by double-clicking on its desktop shortcut.
- In the PeaZip browser select the files that you want to securely delete.
- Click on the Secure Delete button in the PeaZip browser toolbar.
- You will be asked if you want to securely erase the selected files. Upon confirming by clicking on the Yes button, it will erase the selected files by overwriting their data using random information first.
- Right-click on any files or folders that you want to securely erase.
- From the context-menu select PeaZip and then CRC, hash and file tools.
- From the list of tools select Secure delete and click on the OK button.
- You will be asked for confirmation after which the files will be overwritten and deleted.
PeaZip also comes with two other similar tools Secure delete free space and Zero delete free space both of which address the hard drive space that might contain previously deleted files. These tools can overwrite the free space on your hard drive to ensure that any previously deleted files are also overwritten and cannot be recovered.