I am frequently frustrated by the excessive caution imposed by windows operating systems and associated software on regular users. While it is certainly an honourable intention to prevent people from accidental file deletion, it's really verging on the ridiculous now.

Historically, when you deleted a file from a FAT filesytem in DOS or Windows 3.1 all that would happen was the Operating system would overwrite the first character of the filename on the FAT, so that it wouldn't show up. The file was not actually erased, just no longer accessible. It was quite often possible to recover these files with a utility such as undelete which shipped with DOS 6.1 as I recall.

Windows 95 came to pass, and now your 'deleted' files go to the recycle bin. Once you empty the recycle bin, it's gone for good. This is all the protection you should need. BUT NO!!!.

Consider this sequence required to delete a file using the file manager:

It's now not only Windows that does this. Lotus Notes does it as well. To delete a "note" you must click delete, them select Actions->Empty Trash. With my company's webmail selecting a message and clicking delete is not enough, you must then expunge to get rid of it!

Contrast with the simplicity of deleting a file in unix:


poof! gone!

If only I could prevent windows from second-guessing me all the time...

I don't really know what you're complaining about, the enter key is right beside the delete key...

Both these windows annoyances can be solved
  • To remove the confirmation dialog box:
    Right click your recycle bin, hit Properties, and deselect the box that says "Display Delete Confirmation"
  • To bypass the recycle bin, and actually delete the file:
    You can hold shift while you delete it.
  • Or, If you want this by default, check the box in your Recycle Bin property sheet that says "Do not move files to the recycle bin, remove files immediately when deleted."

Now pressing one button will instantly and permanently delete your file.

"Windows 95 came to pass, and now your 'deleted' files go to the recycle bin. Once you empty the recycle bin, it's gone for good"
I think you're missing something here...
There's nothing mysterious about the recycle bin.. When you delete something, it's copied to \recycled and then deleted.
Windows still just overwrites the first character in the file's directory entry (not FAT)... so undelete still works (use setver)... In fact, you're twice as likely to successfully undelete something, as you have 2 deleted copies...

and btw: undelete shipped with more than just 6.2... I'm pretty sure it's been around since 4.0...

Both of these Windows annoyances can easily be solved.

Never delete anything ever again. Turn off your computer and go out into the fresh air and sunshine, skip happily through fields of daisies and buttercups ... no, hang on.

The file deletion user interface mechanism in Windows 9x is pretty ridiculous. Most people put up with the tedium of going through all the motions. (Labour saving hint : don't empty the Recycle Bin straight away each time! Let it grow and grow for a bit. Think of all the effort you're saving not moving the cursor all the way to the leftmost edge of the screen.)

Those who use the "Smart" deletion method of pressing shift invariably get burnt sooner or later. But the most annoying (and evil) thing of all? If you have a non-FAT partition sharing the same disk as your Windows boot partition, irrespective of whether you tell Windows to ignore it or not, after emptying the Recycle Bin it will "helpfully" offer to format that drive!

"Are you sure you want to delete? Yep... Are you sure you want to delete (it's a program file)? Yep... Are you sure you want to empty the bin? Yep... Are you really sure? Yep, Yep, Yep... Are you sure you want to vape your work OS? Ye... no, wait!"

Even with Recycle Bin disabled, and with the shift-del shortcuts etc, there's still the general annoyance of the "Are you SURE?" prompt. This is one way to avoid the dreaded question. Obviously, this only applies to Windows users.

In Win9x/Me, create a file, in say Notepad, containing only the line:

%windir%\command\deltree/y %1

Users of Windows NT, 2000, and XP - will benefit from something more advanced:

@echo off
if !%1==! goto e

%systemroot%\system32\attrib /s -h -s -r %1

del/q %1
rd/s/q %1

goto a

See, in the big line there, the "-h -s -r" bit? This is to say it's ok to delete Hidden, System and Read-Only files, respectively. Take out one of the letters, and its minus-sign, and the batch file will no longer be capable of deleting files with that attribute, in case you don't trust yourself with this new destructive power. Example: taking out the -s will stop it eating system files. Take out the entire line if you wish to protect all three file types.

The command will work safely and happily on multiple highlighted files. Although, regardless of how you set it up, if used directly on a folder, it will eat ALL files in ANY such folder. So you could try it on a nice big folder with plenty of system files, oh say, c:\windows, for the unspeakable joy of reinstalling Windows. Can also be fun if you're trying to use SendTo to send an important file to Notepad, but miss, sending it to Oblivion instead.

Give this file the name of your choice (mine is OBLIVION.bat), just ensure it ends in .bat. To do this, you'll probably need to make sure 'Hide extensions for known file types' is OFF. It can be found either in View->Folder Options, or Tools->Folder Options, on the View tab.

Save this batch file somewhere out of your way - "C:\Program Files" would be a good choice. Create a shortcut to the file, and drop this shortcut in SendTo, setting it to Run Minimized (and Close On Exit, if given the option - they'll both be on the Program or Shortcut tab.) The SendTo folder is %windir%\SendTo in Win9x/ME (if not then it's c:\Windows\SendTo; my Win98 installation is down atm), or %homepath%\SendTo in NT/2000/XP.

Now you can just develop a new habit of sending files to OBLIVION - one command, no keyboard, no prompting, and you can leave the Recycle Bin enabled for those times when you aren't quite so sure you want something destroyed so thoroughly. Nice when the keyboard, and therefore the Shift key, is sitting on the floor across the room; you may now easily control file destruction using only a mouse.

Don't trust yourself to do away with the Recycle Bin concept completely? Good call. This alternative will give you the chance to retrieve your deleted files up until the next time you use it. Allow me to clarify.

The alternative to OBLIVION.bat is what I call VORTEX.bat. It is simply a batch file containing:

I am truly sorry, but must leave this unfinished! It still needs debugging, as neither del nor rd works as smoothly and easily as did deltree from dos 6ish and up. I swear this will be the next thing I write on e2! /msg me if you want results fast! -- 3 May 03
(not sure! I will think up something...preferably when I have win98 to test it on)

@echo off

rd/s/q %temp%\Vortex
md %temp%\Vortex

if !%1==! goto e

xcopy/q/h/e/c/k %1 %temp%\Vortex

%systemroot%\system32\attrib /s -h -s -r %1

del/q %1
rd/s/q %1

goto a

Running this program will empty the "vortex" (the program's own Recycle Bin, if you will). It then will move the files you feed it into this bin, without deleting them or changing their attributes at all.

If you wish to restore your files you will find them in your %temp%\Vortex folder. Their original pathnames must be remembered by you, their place will be lost if your memory fails you. If you care not for the fate of these files, well, ignore them, because they will be cleaned up next time Vortex is invoked.

Was just scanning the New Writeups. Sounds like mwundel.exe would be useful in these situations; it's an Undelete utility for Windows. Check it out.

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