Difference between Delete and Shift Delete

Key Difference: Both options delete the file. Delete relocates the file to the Recycle Bin, whereas Shift Delete permanently deletes the file.

These days no matter what the size of the hard drive is, it is too small. The space on the computer hard drive is nearly always full no matter what. While some of the options are to upgrade to a bigger hard drive or get an external hard drive, they cost money. The most common option that most people turn to, which is free by the way, is to delete some files from the drive. Here the user has two options: delete the file using the Delete option, or pressing Shift+Delete.

Both options delete the file, which is the target here, but the way that they go about it is where they differ. Whenever, someone wants to delete a file, their first instinct is to hit the delete button. A confirmation box then appears asking, Are you sure you want to move this file to the Recycle Bin? Hence, noting that the Delete function does not actually delete the file, but rather it moves the file to the Recycle Bin. In the Recycle Bin, the user then has the option of either permanently deleting the file or restoring the file to its previous location.

 However, if the user is sure that the file is to be deleted and that he will not need it again, he can bypass the Recycle Bin and directly and permanently delete the file by utilizing the Shift Delete option. This file is then permanently deleted from the computer and cannot be accessed.

Still, in rare cases if the user finds that he has use of the file, there are ways that can recover the permanently deleted file. Nevertheless, none of these ways are easy. The user can utilize various recovery programs that are available on the market. However, these programs will only work if the disk space, where the file was located, is not written over. If it is, then it is impossible to recover the file. The best option to permanently delete the files is to do a full format on the drive, but this will delete all the files on the drive, not just a selected few.

Comparison between Delete and Shift Delete



Shift Delete


Deletes the file

Permanently deletes the file


Sends the file to the Recycle Bin

Directly deletes the file from the computer


Restore the files from the Recycle Bin

Have to use a recovery program to recover the files, and only if the data on the drive has not been written over.

Image Courtesy: blog.prepscholar.com, caclubindia.com

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