How to Permanently Delete Files from Computer (4 Ways)

Want to permanently delete files on Windows 10/11 PC? Read this article to get four effective ways. Both Windows inbuilt tools and specialized software can give you a hand.


By Lily Updated on November 23, 2023

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Need to permanently delete files on PC

As computers are used for longer and longer, there will be more and more accumulated data. When you run out of space on your computer hard drive, you may delete some large files or unwanted files to release space. If you are sure you don’t need those files any more, you can choose to permanently delete them.

Besides, if you want to replace your old computer with a new one, it is of great importance to delete files on your old PC. To fully protect your crucial data from being leaked, you can choose to wipe your computer hard drive.

No matter which is your case, you can find a way to accomplish it on this page.

4 effective ways to permanently delete files from computer

How to permanently delete files on Windows 10/11? There are four ways for your reference:

To permanently delete certain files

👉 Way 1: Use keyboard shortcuts
👉 Way 2: Use the File Explorer Ribbon
👉 Way 3: Use the Del command

To completely wipe computer hard drive

👉 Way 4: Use the specialized software🔥

Way 1: Use keyboard shortcuts

Some users wonder if they can permanently delete files using keyboard shortcuts. Here is how.

  1. Click on the file/folder you want to delete to highlight it.
  2. Hold down the Shift key and press the Delete key.
  3. Click Yes to confirm deletion.

After using Shift + Delete, files are permanently deleted and you don’t need to bother with emptying the Recycle Bin to get rid of them.

Way 2: Use the File Explorer Ribbon

This part will show you how to permanently delete files on PC through the File Explorer Ribbon. Get detailed steps below.

  1. Press Win + E to open Windows File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the unwanted file/folder and click on it.
  3. In the File Explorer Ribbon, click the arrow underneath the Delete option and select Permanently delete.

File Explorer Ribbon Deletion

  1. Click Yes on the window that pops up.

Way 3: Use the Del command

Advanced users may prefer command line operations. Follow the instructions below to securely delete files on Windows 10/11.

Note: Files deleted by the Del command can't be retrieved.

  1. Search for “cmd” from the taskbar. Then click on the first result to open Command Prompt.
  2. Type del [names] and press Enter to specify the file/folder to be deleted.

🌟 Examples:

  • To delete the sample.txt file in the “test” folder on drive D:, just type del D:\test\sample.txt.

Del Command

  • To delete all files in the “test” folder on drive D:, type del D:\test.
  • To delete all files in the “our test” folder on drive D:, type del “D:\our test”. Please note the full path needs to be wrapped in double quotes if there is a space in the folder name.

🌟 Useful parameters:

  • /p: prompts for confirmation before deleting the specified file.
  • /f: forces deletion of read-only files.
  • /a[:][attributes]: deletes files based on the file attributes.
  • Learn more here.

Way 4: Use the specialized software

If you want to permanently delete files before selling or recycling your computer, you may use the professional disk wipe tool - AOMEI Backupper to completely wipe your computer hard drive. It has a lot of sparkles:

  • You can use it to wipe the whole disk or a specified partition. You can even wipe empty space on a hard drive.
  • It supports wiping various storage devices, including HDDs, SSDs, USB flash drives and memory cards, etc.
  • It allows you to wipe hard drive from a bootable USB or within Windows.

Download AOMEI Backupper now and learn how to permanently delete files on PC without recovery beneath.

Download DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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  1. Install and run AOMEI Backupper. Click Tools > Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe

  1. When asked to select the wiping type, select Wipe Disk and click Next.

Wipe Disk

  1. Select your computer hard drive to be wiped and click Next.

Select System Disk

💡 Notes:
◑ If there is more than one disk that needs to be wiped, you should first wipe non-system disk and then wipe system disk.
◑ If you select a system disk, the program will prompt you to execute the operation in reboot mode.

  1. Choose a desired wiping method and click Start to begin disk erasing. Balancing data security and the wiping speed, Fill sectors with random data and DoD 5220.22-M are recommended.

Start Wipe

  1. When the progress bar shows 100%, click Finish. The time it will take depends on the wiping method you choose and the data amount.

Wrapping things up

You have learned how to permanently delete files from computer in this article. To permanently delete specified files or folders, you can choose the first three methods. To completely wipe the computer hard drive, you can turn to the professional hard drive eraser - AOMEI Backupper.

In fact, AOMEI Backupper is far more than a hard drive eraser. It is also hard drive transfer software and Windows backup utility. You can use it to transfer data from HDD to SSD, create system image, etc. Get it right now!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.