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Norman Sperling
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Completely Erase Computer Deletions

© Norman Sperling, January 12, 2012

Computer and software competitors come up with more and more features, but here's one that users would appreciate, that shouldn't be hard, and is decades overdue:

When the user tells the computer to "delete" something, the machine should totally delete it. Not recoverable, not traceable ... not there anymore. At all. Really. That's what most people intend, most of the time, anyway.

I recently read that the only way to completely erase something from a computer is to physically destroy the hard drive, and I think that's contrary to every user's intent. I want to "really delete" stuff, using my judgement. I own the computer, I bought the software, I put stuff on, so I should be just as able to take stuff off.

To not really delete constitutes misbehavior, and perhaps fraud, on the part of the software maker. If some software engineer has secretly decided otherwise, that's a huge disservice to the customers.

My computer seems to have created about 200,000 files without my telling it to. I can't tell what's in them. Were those things I deleted, or would want to? Obsolete versions of everything? Every website URL or contents ever viewed? Software I've replaced? Clear those out of my computer permanently! I want my computer to be fast again, and I (rather than the software maker) know what I don't want to keep.

I've heard that stuff that common users, like me, think we've deleted, but that the computer actually has kept, is sometimes used to sue people. That's bogus!! If a user has instructed the computer to delete something, and that user lacks the technical skills to recover it, it's functionally deleted and the law should recognize that.

I've also heard that such "data recovery" is used to destroy the privacy with which many people view things meant to be private, and meant to be kept private. If so, the software design and marketing is more guilty than the customer suckered into using it.

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