Secure Empty Trash

Secure Empty Trash
Mac Tip #233/08-March-2006

You can chop up old floppies to destroy them and the data they contain, and you can securely erase a whole drive by writing over the data up to 35 times, but what say you just want to erase a couple of files?

The answer is to use the Secure Empty Trash option. Warning: you won’t be able to retrieve files deleted with this option.

Choose Secure Empty Trash.

Choose Secure Empty Trash.

First check your Trash to see what’s in there. If you’ve trashed something you didn’t intend to, or you’re not sure about drag it out of the Trash now.

Now locate the files you want to remove forever, put them in the Trash and go to the Finder’s Application menu. Instead of choosing Empty Trash… choose Secure Empty Trash.

Are you sure?

Are you sure?

Your securely deleted files are now gone forever. Apple say this:

Without going into too much techno-geek-speak, it deletes your file and writes over the drive space where it once lived so many times that agents from top-secret government agencies that we’re not even supposed to know exist couldn’t resurrect those files. In short, use Secure Empty Trash when you really want your files gone for good.

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  1. Monty said:

    Is it bad to use it every time you empty your trash can

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Not at all. Use it as you need it. Just keep in mind that once you Secure Trash something you really can’t get it back.



      • Monty said:

        Thank you for the quick response. So I am still on the quest for a logical reason why my hard drive decided to just die after a year. (2009 Macbook) Bought the macbook in 2010.

        I have replaced the 250gb hard drive with a 500gb since. Was not to sure about using “Secure Trash” all the time.

        I am thinking it died on me cause I would work on it till the battery went flat.

        Do you have any suggestions or links to possible hard drive failures.

        • Miraz Jordan said:

          Monty, all hard drives die. In fact they have a statistic called Mean Time Between Failures. Some die after 10 or 20 years, others after 5 minutes, others at some other point. It really is just the luck of the draw.

          “Die” can mean many things though: bad sectors, the head sticking to the platter, other stuff. Who diagnosed that yours was dead? What did they say about the possible cause?

          • Monty said:

            Well I had no professional opinion. My MacBook stopped recognizing my hard drive. While using it, Safari froze up, then I tried to force quit it and the dock froze and my mouse froze in position. I used the power button to turn it off. When I powered back up the next day no hard drive.
            So I took the drive out and put it in another MacBook and it did not recognize it. I used the recovery disc and was allowed access so I backed up my data. Then shortly after it did the same thing. So I tried the disc again and it allowed me access to my hard drive. It continues the same pattern.
            I want to use the recovery disc to wipe the hard drive and start fresh, I have not done it yet and was going to wait until I felt I possibly knew as much as I could about the issue. The drive still freezes, after a while, when using the recovery disc of the other MacBook.

            Thank you for your time and information.


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