Grrr! Nothing ever really gets deleted!?

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LOZ

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I'm running Windows ME and I'd been having some problems recently with the computer (managed to fix that) but one of my earlier solutions to the problem (a silly/over the top solution) was to reset the computer to a time that pre-dated the problem. I set it to a few months back and low and behold certain files which I thought were gone/deleted for good came back. I don't know how that's possible? I don't know where these "phantom" files reside. I'd really like to kill them PERMANENTLY. I went to the Windows folder on my harddrive and found some Backup folders but nothing in there seems to pertain to what I'm looking for. Kindly advise.
 
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The only way I know to do what you want is to overwrite the area where the deleted files are stored. Do a government wipe of the free space. Take your HD throw it out onto the driveway and smash it with a ten pound sledge hammer.
A government wipe of your HD using BcWipe can take from a long time to a very long time depending on the amount of free space your wiping.
 
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Loz
System restore is quite a neat feature which allows the user to recover from serious problems without reinstalling the operating system. System Restore takes an image of selective files, (not personal files) and store those files in a super hidden location under C:\_Restore\Archive in compressed format .cab. In order to view your stores you have to do this.
Go to Control Panel\Folder Options\View and place check mark in "Show Hidden File and Folder" and also since the archives is system protected you need also remove the check mark in "Hide Protected Operating system Files". System will warn when you uncheck this, and thats OK!
Now Navigate using Windows Explorer too C:\_Restore\Archive folder and open it. You will see many large files there. In your case probably way to many if you were able to go back a few months. System Restore is set-up by default to use 12% of your available hard drive space and will not function if that space drops below 200MB.
Now that we have gone through System Restore 101 you need to understand System Restore is only doing what it is designed to do. The file you are referring to are considered program files not of a personal nature in My Docs. Every Snapshots taken by System Restore after the date of deletion do not contain these deleted files but all before that date do. This again is by design in case you realized you deleted something you really wanted or you deleted it incorrectly and it caused severe problems.
To completely remove these files from your system where there remains no trace of them you need to disable System Restore and re-enable it. Re-enabling it will delete all the past restore points and create a new one at time of enabling.

Note: The above procedure does not remove these files from your system in actuality since they are only removed from the allocation table. They cannot be viewed by windows anymore but recovery software has the ability to find and read them. Once the space is freed by system restore it will be overwritten with other data then theoretically the file is gone. There are utilities out there that overwrite free-space to government specs which completely removes the data from reconstruction by these special recovery utilities.

Now for what I believe you should do. Your System Restore Stores must be enormous. Do a right click on the Archive File and select Properties and you will see.
If you go to Start\Settings\Control Panel\System\File system tab you will see a slider bar there to limit the size of your restore stores. If you move the slider to the left you will see the size of stores decrease. This is all System restore will use and once maximum is reached. System Restore will remove the oldest Restore Point for placement of the newest.
Decide what you think is the maximum you will need and adjust the slider accordingly. We cannot give you a specific size since every system is different. The best way to do this is see where your oldest restore point is now, then move slider back a notch and see how many restore points it removed from old until you achieved what you feel comfortable with.

Hope that helps you a bit.

Dave
 

LOZ

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davey7549: Cheers for taking the time to write such an extensive reply to my problem with the "wonderful" world of Windows Restore. When I get a little more computer proficient I will give your suggestions a go.

brindle: Thanks for that. I downloaded BCWipe and wiped all the free space on my HD. It really did take forever to do that but it was the best option for me 'cause I didn't really have to do anything (the program did it all).

LOZ
 
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