Where does the deleted file go?

We all uses computer in our daily work. But mostly, we don’t spend time to understand how thing works behind. Deleting unnecessary files is in our job and we all do it like we through garbage to dust bin. The same mechanism in computer we call as recycle bin.

Recycle bin


Well, we actually throw the garbage outside of home this is in our daily routine but it works differently in terms of computer. Because in computer, we don’t see any way where computer itself can put the things out of the machine. So, we must be curious to know where does the deleted file go when you delete it from recycle bin or by Shift + Delete command.

I had the same question few years back and did some internet surfing to know the mechanism behind this process and yes, i was able to understand it. But today i was trying to recall all my understanding and thought to write it here for you.

How files are stored in computer

Before we go ahead and understand how files are deleted from computer, we must know how computer stores it inside the hard drive.

When you save/copy/create any file ( or folder may be 🙂 ), computer looks at the storage device (hard drive), finds the space and places the file at particular location of hard drive. Along with that, it also stores the location, size and other information of file. As we all know computer understand only one language called binary, which is either ON or OFF ( 0 or 1) and all the information whether it is movies, audios, documents, program, or games are stored in 0 and 1 form. It could be strange to those who did not know this, but this is how it actually works.

How files are deleted from computer

Now at least we know, how the files are getting stored. So it would be easy to understand how the files are getting deleted.

When you don’t need particular file anymore or may be done with it, you would probably delete it, just to make the space available to store other files. It happens sometime that, you may deleted the wrong file by mistake or may need the deleted file back. Here, the Recycle Bin folder comes in to the picture. Microsoft provided one of the system folder called Recycle bin, where all the deleted files are stored. So it can be recovered from Recycle Bin, if you have accidentally deleted it.

Still we are at the same question, where it goes. 🙂 Well, If file(s) are still there in Recycle bin, means its not deleted yet. If you make that folder (Recycle bin) empty, what computer do is, it makes that space as free to store other files, what i mean by that is, if you try to store any other files, computer over write those binary values (where your previous file was written as 0 and 1) gradually as needed. So after long time, it completely overwrites the 0/1 values of previous file replacing the information of new file(s).


Its quite simple now to understand that, computer do not throw any file outside 🙂 , but gradually erases the binary value of deleted file to store new data to the hard driver.

As said, it gradually erases the binary values, it could be possible that we can get the deleted file back if it is not completely over written. So here the recovery software make it happen.

You may heard about one of the free software called Recuva, which helps you to recover your deleted file. Especially, it would be helpful when you did it by mistake.

I hope you got it now. 🙂

I am really Thankful to those, who spent time to read my article. 🙂

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