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How to Permanently Delete Files from Hard Drive [Windows 11]

When you delete a file from your hard drive, it doesn't instantly vanish from existence. This article will teach you how to delete files from a hard drive. You can use one of the various data recovery applications available, such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, if you need to retrieve permanently deleted files.

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Table of Contents

Our documents, photos, films, music, and other personal files are stored on external or internal hard drives. They serve as crucial protections for many of our sensitive and personal data. Many people use external hard drives as a PC backup storage option. However, there are situations when it's necessary to permanently delete files from hard drive.

It is common knowledge that you can "delete" a file by using the right-click menu. Doing this sends the file to the Recycle Bin on Windows, which may subsequently be emptied and appears to disappear.

The issue is that files that are "deleted" in this manner don't actually vanish from your hard drive. Instead, these data are still present on your computer and are retrievable using simple software for hard drive deleted file recovery.

⌨️1. Use Shortcuts to Delete Files It provides a quick way for users who frequently need to delete specific files or folders permanently.
🧹2. Format the Hard Drive It is employed when selling or donating a computer or experiencing severe operating system issues.
🔢3. Delete Hard Drive Files by CMD It provides greater flexibility in choosing which files to delete and allows for automation using batch scripts.
🔎4. Try Powershell to Delete Files It is useful for automating file deletion or bulk deletions. Basic knowledge of Powershell is required.

How to Permanently Delete Files from Hard Drive Windows 11

Send files to the Recycle Bin on Windows 11, then empty the Recycle Bin to delete the files, and that seems "permanently removed". Because without file recovery software, you cannot recover the files when the recycle bin is empty.

Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 11

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 11 [3 Top Methods]

You are going to learn three working ways to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 11. You can use EaseUS data recovery software to restore deleted files. Read more >>

For additional information on how to permanently delete Windows files from your computer, continue reading.

Method 1. Use Shortcuts to Delete Files Permanently

By picking a file and pressing Shift + Delete, you can avoid sending the files you didn't want to Recycle Bin. Here's how to remove files from Windows permanently using simple keyboard shortcuts:

Step 1. To highlight a file, simply click on it once. Click on the file if it was saved on your desktop. Otherwise, locate it in Windows File Explorer and click to highlight it.

simply click on it once

Step 2. Press the Delete and the Shift key simultaneously.

Shift key and press the Delete key

Step 3. On the window that appears, select "Yes". This method makes it possible to use the Keyboard shortcut to delete files without "temporarily saving them" in Recycle Bin. That is to say, when using keyboard shortcuts, files are already permanently deleted without the need to empty the Recycle Bin.

Method 2. Format the Hard Drive

Should you desire to, you can also decide to format every file on your internal and external hard drives. Simply choose the hard drive, right-click on the icon for the drive in your PC's interface, and select "Format". The specific steps are as follows:


There are a few factors to take into account when selecting a file system format for an internal hard disk.

  • 💻The operating system that will be used is the first. For instance, macOS uses HFS+, while Windows uses NTFS. The file size is another consideration.
  • 🗂️NTFS or exFAT may be a better choice if the drive is used to store huge files, such as video or audio files.
  • 🏘️The file system's compatibility with various devices is a worthwhile consideration in the final place.
  • 💬The ideal file system configuration for an internal hard drive depends on the user's particular demands and specifications.

Method 3. Delete Hard Drive Files Using CMD

Using the CMD to delete files is referred to as advanced or forced deletion. It is an effective method for making your Windows computer delete a particular file. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish it:

Step 1. You need first launch the Command Prompt.

  1. >Use the Windows key and R to open the "Run" box.
  2. >Enter cmd and hit Enter to launch the "Command Prompt".

launch the Command Prompt

Step 2. Next, enter the command del /f "filename", where "filename" denotes the name of the file or its path.

Delete Hard Drive Files Using CMD

Step 3. At last, press Enter to carry out the order. Keep in mind that files removed using CMD are not stored in the Recycle Bin.

Several users have proved the efficacy of these fixes. If one of the methods is helpful in permanently deleting files from hard drive, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms!


Method 4. Try Powershell to Delete Files

Users with more experience can permanently delete files using PowerShell. Here is how to delete files using Powershell:

Step 1. At the bottom of your screen, in the Start Menu, type "PowerShell".

Powershell to Delete Files

Step 2. Press "Enter" or select "Windows PowerShell" from the menu if Windows PowerShell is highlighted.

Step 3. To begin, enter Remove-Item -path c:\[Filename] -recurse. By doing this, all of the files and folders included in the folder will be deleted.

Windows PowerShell

See More

Still curious? Click here to learn about How to Open PowerShell on Windows 10.

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from Hard Drive

Sometimes files that you believe to be irrevocably deleted can still be recovered. The majority of hard drive file recovery programs, including the ones included in Windows 11, necessitate having a backup in order to restore your files. However, using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is one of your options to recover permanently deleted files if you don't have any backups.

This is due to the fact that Windows does not create a new blank space at the location on the drive that previously held the file. Instead, such disk space is designated as being available for overwriting. It could be overwritten by anything you perform right away, or that disk space could remain available for a lot longer.

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help you effortlessly recover deleted files, whether you deleted them using PowerShell or Command Prompt. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Select the drive where you lose your data and click "Scan".

select and scan the hard drive

Step 2. Use "Filter" or "Search" to find the lost files when the scan completes.

Preview lost hard drive data

Step 3. Select all the files you want and click "Recover". Then, browse another secure location to save them.

recover data from hard drive

In Conclusion

Our most important informational assets are our hard drives. They are the source of many users' PC backups and include much of our private and sensitive information. You should use File Backup or Windows Backup as your first options if you activate them before losing files in order to recover permanently deleted files. Don't panic if you don't have any backups; you can still retrieve your files.

If you need assistance, several data recovery solutions are available; if you're at a loss, start with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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How to Permanently Delete Files from Hard Drive FAQs

Here are 4 additional questions about permanently deleting files from the hard drive. Check here for the answers.

1. How do you permanently delete a file without sending it to the recycle bin?

By default, deleting a file sends it to your computer's Recycle Bin. If you unintentionally destroy something, you can restore the deleted data from that point. Follow these steps to permanently delete files that don't go into the recycle bin.

  • When you do right-click on the recycle bin, select "Properties".
  • Choose the drive for which you want to remove the data permanently. Don't move files to the recycle bin is selected as an option.
  • When files are removed, delete them right away. Click "Apply" and "OK" to save the settings afterward.

You may easily uncheck this feature if you wish to go back to the default settings.

2. Where do permanently deleted files go?

A file's entry is the only thing that is deleted when it is permanently deleted; the file itself is left intact. The file is taken out of the file system tables but not erased. On the hard drive, it is actually still there.

3. How do I format a hard drive in Windows 10?

  • To format a drive, right-click on it and choose the "Format" option.
  • Type a name, choose a file system, and decide on an allocation unit size.
  • Press "OK" to proceed.

4. How to permanently delete files from a hard drive Mac?

  • Press Option + Command + Delete to delete a file or folder, skipping the Trash permanently.
  • Press Command + Delete to move a file or folder to the Trash.
  • Use Command + Option + Shift + Delete to empty your Trash.

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Updated by Jaden

Jaden is one of the editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on topics concerning PCs and Mac data recovery. Jaden is committed to enhancing professional IT knowledge and writing abilities. She is always keen on new and intelligent products.

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