virtual memory

Dear Cece - or anyone… I believe that it’s true that when you delete something from your computer files, e.g. a dirty picture, an e-mail, etc, that what you’ve actually deleted is just the name, not the actual file. True? If so, then after a while, wouldn’t your computer’s memory begin to fill up with unretrieveable stuff? And how do you actually delete these things, anyway? And where actually ARE they?

I think when you delete something that tells the computer that it can use that space. So, the file is still really on the disk, but the computer sees it as free space. That is why deleted files can be recovered. There are security programs that will totally wipe files from the disk.

detail forgot I to mention: When you save something it will overwrite those files that have been “deleted.”

Yes, that’s more or less true. When you delete a file, the space it was using on your hard drive is marked as unclaimed and free for use in the future, but is not erased. The contents of your file are still in that the space, and will remain there until the space gets allocated for another file and then written over. Essentially, the space gets recycled, but not until it’s needed, which is why the contents of files you’ve deleted can still exist on your hard drive. If you want to delete things for sure, the best way to do it is to write random data over the contents of the file before deleting it. I believe there are several applications out there that will do that for you, although I’m not familiar with any of them.

By the way, your title is a bit of a misnomer; virtual memory is a different beast than the permanent storage on your hard disk.

Virtual memory is the computer using your hard drive as RAM, which is usually a kind of chip that stores fast-changing bits of information, kind of like a scratch pad when you do some quick math. And the posters are telling the truth about deletion. You must download a program that actually erases the files to be safe. Search for a program called ‘eraser’. It’s freeware and it does just that.

A pretty good way of preventing anyone with less than seriously expensive and sophisticated file recovery equipment from undeleting your files is, INSTEAD of trashing the file and then emptying the trash can / recycle bin, you duplicate a fairly large file of any type, rename it to the exact same name as the file you wish to destroy, then copy it into the folder containing that file.

You’ll be asked to confirm that you really want to replace the existing file. Answer “yes”. Then delete the ersatz file you just copied into the folder.

Most commercial file recovery utilities would only be able to retrieve the second file of that name which of course has nothing in common with the first except for its file name and location at the time it was deleted.

PS to the original poster: “memory” is RAM. Storage space is where files are stored for retrieval later.

There are ways of “cheating” in either direction: you can use part of your RAM as if it were storage space (a RAM disk) and you can use some of your empty storage space as a “swap file” to synthetically expand your RAM (virtual memory).

Storage space, however, is permanent; the information is written to some kind of readable medium and it is still there when you turn the computer off and unplug it and remove the drive from the computer and take it with you to Washington to see if it is full of kiddie porn.

Real memory – RAM – is transitory; if the information is in a document that you haven’t saved to disk yet, such as the 17-page single-spaced letter to your supervisor at the FBI that you are writing in your email program, and your email program doesn’t automatically save temp copies of work in progress to disk as you go, and your stupid assistant trips over the computer’s power cord, it’s GONE, baby.

All right techies, without using any outside programs, is there any feasible way to recover deleted files?

AHunter, what you suggested is no good, because even the non-sophisticated file police can trace what you had or downloaded by looking at USER.DAT on your system (assuming you have Windows). Then it is only the matter of them going to that website to see what is there. It is very, very tricky to clean up USER.dat, without messing up your system. MSoft won’t let you do it through conventional means. There are other files and folders that store history logs of what you downloaded to your system.

That’s why advanced users have things called hex editors that can open files at a very basic level and change things around. Search for them and see exactly what they do and perhaps download one.

just to make sure I get an answer from someone, I’ll ask again. Without using any outside programs, is there any feasible way to recover deleted files? I fully intend to keep asking until I get an answer! :slight_smile:

You will have to go to the Recycle Bin, click on the file you want and choose Recover.

Bummer!! I was hoping to tell of the art of using UNDELETE or RECOVER, two old DOS programs that can help you recover deleted files. Problem is that neither of these programs are in Windows98, at least when you originally install it. It was not even in the old DOS files folder that Windows inconviently leave out during installation.

If the file has been deleted from the recycle bin, no. Microsoft does not include this capability in the OS.

WIN98: To undelete a file after deleting it from the recycling bin

  • Shut down and restart in DOS mode
  • Navigate to the folder where the file used to be
  • type <lock C:> and after warning <y> <enter>
  • type <undelete> <enter>
  • check file has been restored
  • type <unlock C:>
  • type <exit> to return to windows

Thanks for the blantantly obvious Recycle Bin, but I’m looking for a way to recover files deleted from the bin. This recovery is probably going to be done on a different person’s computer, that doesn’t have any recovery programs, and in a situation where I don’t care to install such a program. Does this help you to understand that I’m not a retarded child who stumbled into this thread?

Thank you Sailer, I apparantly posted right after did. And thanks JonF for at least trying :slight_smile:
I’m going to assume this method works…I’m too lazy to test it right now. I’ll try it later on when I’m really bored.