How to Prevent SSD File Recovery: The Ultimate Guide

Downsides of partitioning an SSD

As an owner of an SSD, you may be wondering how to prevent file recovery on your device. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your data is safe and inaccessible to anyone else. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps that you need to take to protect your data. Follow these tips, and you will be able to keep your files safe from unauthorized access!

Why You Might Want To Delete Data Permanently?  

Computer Privacy

There are a number of reasons why you may want to delete data from a computer.

  • If you’re selling a used computer, you’ll want to ensure that any sensitive personal data is wiped before handing it over to the new owner.
  • Even if you are keeping your computer, cleaning out old files that you no longer need periodically is a good idea. This can help to free up storage space and improve your computer’s performance.
  • In addition, deleting sensitive data can help to protect you from identity theft if your computer is ever lost or stolen.

However, it is important to note that simply deleting data does not permanently remove it from your computer.

Does Emptying a Recycle Bin Permanently Delete?

When you delete a file in Windows, it typically goes to the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin is a temporary storage area for files that have been deleted. Once a file is in the Recycle Bin, it can easily be restored. However, if you empty the Recycle Bin, the file is permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

The above statement is mostly correct for an average user. However, people who are more familiar with computer security and threats will find that the “if you empty the Recycle Bin, the file is permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.” is not true at all.

Even when a file is deleted from the Recycle Bin, it is not actually gone from your computer. The data still exists on your hard drive and can be recovered using special software. Therefore, if you are trying to delete data permanently, you need to take additional steps.

Why Is Deleted Data Not Gone Completely?

When you delete a file, the operating system removes the pointer that points to the file’s location on the storage device, and the space occupied by the file is added back to the free space pool. That space can then be used when new files are created. The file’s actual content is not erased from the storage device immediately; it is only when new data is written to that location that the old data is erased.

This is why it is possible to recover deleted files using data recovery software. The software scans the storage device for remnants of files that have been deleted and then reconstructs them. However, if too much new data has been written to the drive, it may not be possible to recover any lost files.

It’s a bit like when you check out of a hotel, your room doesn’t go anywhere. The key just returns to reception so nobody can enter it. Then the key can be given to the next person who checks in. When they do, they will change the room. But until they do, it will stay as you left it.

Checkout hotel room

Until that space is overwritten by another file, the deleted file remains largely intact and can often be recovered with the right tools.

Can Deleted Data Be Recovered From SSD?

Samsung-970 EVO Plus SSD (Check on Amazon)

Yes. With the right tool they can be recovered. When you delete a file from an SSD, the data is not immediately erased. Instead, it is marked as free space, which can be overwritten by new data. However, the old data will still remain on the drive until it is overwritten.

This means that it is possible to recover deleted files from an SSD, although the process is not always successful. In order to increase the chances of success, you should stop using the drive as soon as you realize that files have been deleted. This will minimize the amount of new data that is written to the drive, making it more likely that the old data can be recovered.

Is WEAR Leveling Cause Secure Delete Impossible?

Wear levelling is a process that helps to prolong the life of an SSD by distributing writes evenly across the drive. When data is written to an SSD, it is stored in blocks. These blocks can only be erased and rewritten a certain number of times before they start to wear out.

In order to prevent any one block from being overwritten too often, the SSD will spread the writes across all of the available blocks. This ensures that no block is used more than necessary, which helps prolong the drive’s life. So because of this wear levelling, your sensitive data can be found on the drive even if you have deleted it.

To know more about SSD Wear levelling refer to What Does SSD Wear Level Mean?

If We Do a Format Still Can Data Recover?

If you format your device in the normal way, the old data can be recovered. A normal format only deletes/overwrites a tiny bit of filesystem metadata but does not overwrite all of the data itself. The data is still there. This is especially true on SSDs, due to wear levelling and other features of SSDs.

The following research paper studies how data is erased from SSDs.

One lesson you can learn from this is that securely erasing data from an SSD is a bit tricky. One reason for this is that overwriting data on an SSD doesn’t work the way you’d think it does due to wear-levelling and other features.

When you ask the SSD to “overwrite” an existing sector, it doesn’t immediately erase or replace the old data. Rather, it stores the new stuff at a different location and merely alters the pointer to indicate where (rather than deleting or overwriting) the new data is located. This process is called “wear-levelling” and is designed to prolong your SSD’s lifespan. As a result, even data you believe to have been erased from the SSD might still be recoverable.

The authors of that research found that subjecting the SSD to a thorough overwriting twice was enough to wipe it, but there were a few exceptional circumstances in which some data persisted. There are other reasons why you might not want to repeat numerous disk drive overwrites: It is time-consuming and might reduce drive life.

There is a measurement called TBW or total bytes written. This is the number of writes to the entire disk before it is expected to fail. Refer to Why Does TBW Matter in SSDs? for more details.

I started a discussion regarding this on Reddit. You can check that too.

Things To Do To Securely Wipe Data From an SSD

  • Research says that basic wiping routines for individual files on SSDs are not very effective. This is because a lot of the data is left somewhere on the drive. As a result, you should not assume there is a secure way to delete specific files on an SSD instead, you must clean the entire disk as a whole.
  • Use a secure deletion utility when you want to make sure a file is truly gone. Secure deletion utilities overwrite the space occupied by a file with random data, making it effectively impossible to recover the original file. I am using an app called File Shredder to delete the data securely. To download the app use this link. All you have to do is drag and drop the file you want to delete and the rest will do from the app.
Use a file shredder to delete files from your SSD securely.
  • The ATA Secure Erase command is the most effective way to erase an entire SSD securely. This, however, isn’t always reliable. This command is built into the firmware of most SSDs and is the most effective way to erase all data from an SSD. But according to research, 8 out of 12 tested devices did not correctly use this feature. As a result, data may still be recoverable from these SSDs after a secure erase has been performed.
  • Another way is to use full disk encryption. Full disk encryption is data security that encrypts all the files on a hard drive or SSD. If the drive is lost or stolen, the data will be unreadable without the right encryption key. Many software programs offer full-disk encryption, such as Truecrypt and BitLocker. Full disk encryption is especially important for SSDs because they cannot be securely wiped using traditional methods.


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