Every windows computer has a ‘recycling bin’, where data items are temporarily stored after they are deleted. These items are temporarily stored just in case the user made a mistake and can only be deleted permanently if the user accesses the recycling bin and deletes the respective files. Every recycle bin has a default shortcut on the windows desktop, which has also been upgraded over the years.
When the recycle bin has no files present, the shortcut icon depicts an empty recycle bin and vice versa—when the folder contains deleted files, it appears full. Hence, when the folder has deleted files present it automatically the icon image changes into bin with paper in it. Simple yet very effective, as users can simply ascertain whether their recycle bins contains any data just by a single glance.
From a data security perspective it is important to remember that:
A recycling bin is a file storage area. Files that are ‘deleted’ and sent to the recycle bin are not permanently erased. It is extremely easy to retrieve files from the recycle bin that have supposedly been deleted.
How To Transfer Data To The Recycle Bin
The recycle bin has been designed to provide users with optimum convenience and efficiency. Users can simply transfer files to this folder by deleting the files or by dragging the files and dropping them on the recycle bin icon. In most cases the operating system will automatically prompt whether the file should be ‘permanently deleted’ or should it be sent to the recycle bin. Again, ‘permanently deleted’ is misleading. Even a wiped HDD holds data that can be recovered with the right hardware and software UNLESS you use a professional data cleansing package such as Blancco.
Files which have been transferred to the recycle bin leave no visible traces, but are not completely wiped off from the device. Some files will be uninstalled and a zip folder will be created in the recycle bin so that the user can easily reinstall the files if required. Furthermore, the recycle bin is not limited in any aspect as irrespective of a file’s format, it will automatically be transferred to the recycle bin once deleted.
How To Access Data From The Recycle Bin
Accessing data or files from a recycle bin has never been so easy and convenient: all users have to do is double click on the recycle bin short cut. They can also access their data by clicking on the recycle bin icon in their control panel. After double clicking the relevant icon the recycle bin folder will automatically open.
The recycle bin has been designed in a manner which allows users to immediately make changes such as emptying the recycle bin, deleting files or restoring them. If a user wishes to retrieve any data, all they have to do is simply click on the respective file and click on restore. Windows keeps track of a files original location and will automatically restore the file back to its prior location. Hence, all users have to do is simply push a button and their files will be restored. This is a convenient feature for people who accidentally delete a file with a click of the mouse – and who hasn’t done this. It is also a godsend for hackers who are able to quickly access huge volumes of unencrypted ‘recycled’ data at the touch of a button.
If a user wants to empty the recycle bin in to clear up space or as a precautionary security measure, then all they have to do is click on empty recycle bin. Once an item or file has been deleted from the recycle bin then there is no way that it can be retrieved except by using specialist retrieval software. Such software, however, is cheap and easily purchased.
Protect Your Sensitive Data
The recycle bin is the first location a hacker will target as most users completely forget that sensitive information might be temporarily stored in the recycle bin.
This is why every user should clear their recycle bin on a regular basis to protect their information and to free up disk space. It also underlines the importance of having old IT assets professionally cleansed or shredded before they are recycled or resold.
To learn more about the different ways a business can protect their information and data, please get in touch with one of our data security specialists today.