Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Longest-Running Tech Reference on the Planet

A CDE Definition

You'll love The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) for Tech Term of the Day (TTOD)



(1) To completely erase data from memory (RAM) or a storage device (hard disk, SSD). See file wipe.

(2) A digital video effect that places one image over another. Although there are a myriad varieties, the classic wipe is a scene transition where the next scene slides horizontally or vertically over the current one. Another common wipe is the circle wipe. A small circle that contains another scene starts to grow in the middle of the current frame and gradually fills the entire frame.

file wipe

A security measure when selling, giving away or retiring a computer. A file wipe completely erases the data from the hard disk.

Deleting Does Not Erase
When a file is deleted in an application or file manager, only the file name in the directory is marked as deleted. The data still reside in the disk sectors until overwritten by new data by the same or some other application. In the meantime, if somebody wanted the file badly enough, it can be reconstructed from the sector data.

Wipe Means Write
Wiping the hard disk means actually erasing the data in the disk sectors. For maximum security, experts claim that random data should be written into the sectors several times, because forensic analysis can detect the previous magnetic residue if the magnetic bits are overwritten only once. In addition, caches such as the recycle bin and trash can are also cleared. See wipe.

Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
WinSxSwipe file
WinTPCwire bond
WinVistawire center
WinWordwire-free PC
WinXPwire level
WinXSwire level protocol
WinZipwire protocol
WIPwire rack

Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.
Computer Words You Gotta KnowSystem design
Job categoriesUnix/Linux
Interesting stuffPersonal computers
InternetIndustrial Automation/Process Control
Communications & networkingAssociations/Standards organizations
HistoryDesktop publishing
ProgrammingHealthcare IT
System design