We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Data Remanence?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Data remanence refers to physical aspects of data that can remain on a storage device, such as a floppy disk or hard drive, after that data is erased or deleted. This typically occurs because standard methods by which data is deleted from a drive are rarely as effective as users may think. A number of methods have been used to eliminate this type of data, including clearing, purging, and destruction of data storage devices. Data remanence is often found through computer forensics to locate and re-create files or other types of data that may have been deleted from a device.

The formation of data remanence typically occurs as a result of the way computer software “deletes” data from a disk or hard drive. When an operating system (OS) is told by a user to erase a file, that file is typically moved from active use into a backup system. This is done, at least temporarily, to make data recovery easier if the user realizes an erasure was made by mistake and needs to access a deleted file.

Even when data is actually “deleted,” it is typically not really removed from the hard drive. Instead, the OS simply deletes the entry regarding the location of that data from its database or directory. This means that data that is “deleted” still remains on the hard drive, until that location is reused by the OS for storage of new data, at which point it is overwritten. Even this overwritten data is not necessarily completely gone.

There are three common methods used to destroy data remanence and ensure that deleted information is difficult or impossible to retrieve. Clearing refers to the process of regulated overwriting of deleted data, often with a string of zeroes, to ensure that data access through basic software is more or less impossible. Purging goes beyond clearing, and makes it so that data remanence left on a disk cannot easily be accessed even by directly accessing a hard disk and using recovery software to find leftover data on the disk. This usually involves using a device that degausses the physical media, by affecting the magnetic field of the disk drive.

Destruction is the surest way to eliminate any data remanence on a device, and involves physically destroying the hard drive or disk. This can be done by physically taking the device apart and destroying each piece, melting the device in high heat, or using acids and other corrosive chemicals to destroy it. The field of computer forensics typically utilizes data remanence on a disk or hard drive to find data that a user tried to delete. Various laboratory methods and software programs can be used to access data that is cleared, though purged and destroyed data are much harder, perhaps impossible, to access.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.