Can the police recover things that you delete from a computer, tablet or smart phone?

Just wondering as my friend mite be in trouble.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Yes they can. Simple answer.

  • August
    Lv 6
    10 months ago

    Food & Drink for the Police

  • 10 months ago

    Yes. Plenty of deleted data remains fully recoverable even after reformatting the disc or other storage device.

    Even overwriting the data on a hard drive doesn’t fully erase it: small edges of what was overwritten remain and are recoverable with special hardware which forensically scans the entire disc surface. It takes multiple overwriting to guarantee destruction of most of the data. Even putting a hard disc into a fire does not guarantee destruction of the data. Opening the disc drive and physically wiping the entire disc surface with a powerful magnet will usually do the job though. Or removing the discs and microwaving them can destroy most of the data at the risk of severe damage to the microwave oven. Just putting the entire drive into a microwave may fry the disc controller circuit-board but the metal casing of the drive will usually protect the discs themselves.

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    Just destroy the hard drive but there are others ways the police can catch your friend.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 10 months ago

    Yes. Unless data is wiped, it can be recovered.

    Data recovery specialist make a killing for that.

    Even I can do it with a little software.

    Law enforcement investigating crimes need a warrant, but probable cause can often get around that.

  • 10 months ago

    Yes, in most cases, items that a user deletes from thier computer (temporary files, documents, photos, videos, etc.) can be recovered in full. Some good indicators that the files are able to be recovered be a forensic team are:

    A). The computer you are worried about them recovering the files from is running a Windows Operating System

    B). The computer is backing up files to a Cloud Service or External Hard Drive

    C). The Hard Drive is not encrypted with a complex password

    D). The user asks, "Can the police recover things that you delete from a computer?"

    However, the reasoning for needing to recover the deleted data from a computer needs to be serious enough to obtain a warrant, and for that warrant to be approved by a judge (since completing such a task is clearly a breach of privacy). For such a warrant to be approved, the crime usually needs to be along the lines of:

    - Obtaining something illegal using the computer (narcotics, weapons, counterfiet currency, etc.)

    - Viewing or storing child pornography, voyured photos / videos, etc.

    - Hacking / breaking into an official network, government device, etc.

    Among other things. If the device is believed to have been used to break the law in anyway, it could warrant a federal search and/or seizure of that device. It should also be noted, that in order to be granted the ability to search your device in such a way, they must be able to provide reasonable suspicion that your device was used to act in something illegal, or that it was used to cover up such an illegal activity.

    The only real way to destroy evidence completely, would be to completely destroy the device that is under suspicion. This involves complete destroying all components (the motherboard, processor, storage device (Hard Drive, SSD, SD Card, etc.), RAM and Network Interface Card (NIC). Each component can be used to trace back certain activities. This is why it is important that all components be destroyed. If all components are destroyed, make sure everything is properly disposed of, or else you could be accused and convicted of evidence tampering, which is a whole other crime in itself.

    I hope this helps!

  • Andy T
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    Yes, simply put, a delete command ghost out the file, it'll be recoverable via specialized means for sometime.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    Depends on how good a job your friend did of deleting that stuff. If they just deleted it, theres still an image on the harddrive that stays there until the sector it was written on gets overwritten. You'd need specialist software to completely wipe off the data

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago


    In serious cases, police have technology, like special apps and programs to investigate search history.

    Most people don’t realise that deleting data only deletes in a “cosmetic” way, but all data is always stored either in the device, or in the files of the search provider.

    Even using an anonymous SIM card with no contact details, can be investigated using local phone company masts etc to locate the user, and investigate from there.

  • 10 months ago

    To an extent, yes, especially on a Windows PC. Additionally, a lot of people make the mistake of backing up their smart devices to cloud services.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.