There's plenty of utilities to help you securely delete files so nobody can recover them, but did you know there's a built-in command-line utility that can do just that? Here's how to do it.
As long as you're using the NTFS filesystem on a recent version of Windows, you should be able to use the cipher.exe utility from the command line to securely overwrite files—all you need to do is specify the /W switch and the file or folder you want to overwrite—after you have already deleted it.
Using this method to overwrite data will take quite a while, and it's definitely not as easy to use as some other utilities, but it's a great way to securely overwrite data without using a third-party utility. Readers should note that we tested this on Windows 7, but the same command is available on XP or Vista if you are using the Professional or Ultimate editions.