Delete vs Erase vs Wipe vs Shred

Delete vs Erase vs Wipe vs Shred

Data is just a piece of information, that may be processed and/or stored in files and folders by a computer. This information may be in a form of text documents, images, audio clips, software programs, etc.
When the information is entered, and stored in a computer, it is commonly known as data. The processed data can again be used as information.
Data levels are growing immensely quick these days and it becomes a duty to check its correctness. It involves the detection of inaccurate entry and/or correction of errors. However, the cleaning also results in the loss of important information. It should be done carefully and on a regular basis. It helps companies save time and increase their efficiency. Any slight mishandling of such crucial data can compromise the efficiency of the organization that owns the database.
This cleaning process includes deleting/erasing/wiping/shredding.
These four words are very confusing. Each word seems to be saying the same thing, but in the IT field these jobs are executed differently.


This is the most used word. All deleted files go to the Recycle Bin immediately and it can be restored back, only if you wish.
The files, deleted recently, can be recovered through any data recovery software. The same amount of disk space is restored for general use.


This word relates to the data in the file. If you do not want this file, just erase the data. Erase describes the process of deleting data. However, it is marked as deleted, but it remains in the hard drive until it is overwritten. Deleted file can be recovered from the hard drive because it is marked as deleted.
If it is overwritten several times with carefully selected patterns, it completely destroys all electronic data residing in a hard disk drive or other digital media. The data becomes unrecoverable. It is called ‘complete data cleaning’. It is a secure data removal tool for Windows.
Here also, the same amount of disk space is restored for general use.


Data wiping is the process of logically removing data so that it can no longer be read. This procedure is normally applied only to sensitive data. The corresponding references are deleted and the space formerly occupied by the file is marked as ‘free’. This data cannot be recovered, after the original data is overwritten, at least once.
Disk scrubbing is the process of detecting and correcting inaccurate data in the database.
The data may be incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate or irrelevant to the current situation. These two terms are almost identical.


Shredding means completely deleting the reference and removing the data by overwriting with some pattern of one and zero. It is done by a data shredder.


You must have surely heard about formatting. It deletes all the data on the drive to be used by an operating system. It sets up a file system. The most popular file system to support Windows is NTFS.
It is a normal deletion. It does a one-pass, write-zero overwriting of data.

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