Sign up ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Just wanted to see if you could help me out with something.

I moved some files (all in one folder)from an external HDD to a jump drive using my work computer. This HDD was old, and I wasn't sure of what was on it anymore. Anyhow, since I do not own a laptop, I used my work computer. Come to find out there were "inappropriate" pictures of an ex-girlfriend in the folder. I found this out when I open the contents of the jump drive on the other machine.

When I moved the files, it was just done in windows explorer, using the cut paste method between the two drives. I never moved or copied anything to the internal HDD. The files were never opened either. Knowing what I know now, I am really worried about losing my job. I work for a large company, so I know they have all kinds of IT tools in place.

Am I over reacting about the situation or what is the likelyhood of this blowing up in my face. Thanks.

Additional question. Would any cache been involved in the process? And if so, how long would have it remained in that state?

share|improve this question
You will probably go to jail. – M.Bennett Mar 4 '14 at 16:05
" what is the likelyhood of this blowing up in my face" -- Huge. – Tom O'Connor Mar 4 '14 at 16:06
Good for you - you did not open the files. Most likely such copy-paste operation would be done directly: USB-stick -> External-drive without placing anything to the internal drive. Just reboot your computer to be sure nothing remains in RAM. – Nikolay Mar 4 '14 at 16:07
I did reboot my computer a few hours later that day. It wasn't until days later I saw the contents of the jump drive. I'm just concerned and was wondering if you think I will be ok. – Anxious Mar 4 '14 at 16:19

1 Answer 1

I would recommending reading my question on IT Security about this issue. Basically, the information will be there until it is overwritten on the original device. If you want to make sure no one can recover it, you'll need to move the data around the blocks of your hard drive, or completely zero out your hard drive (which will delete your data).

Basically, Windows does not delete the data when you empty the Recycling Bin. It simply marks that area of the disk as "available", so that deletes are nice and quick. Once all the free space has been taken up, then Windows will start overwriting old sectors that were marked as 'Available' to the operating system. Linux, however, is not as easy for recovery. Windows is very resilient, as long as it hasn't been overwritten.

I'm sorry you had to find out that way about your ex, but I had a very similar instance, just with a cell phone instead of a computer.

share|improve this answer
thanks for your response. It was an ex from a long time ago and they were given to me, so no worries. We broke up anyway. Lol. However, the files were never on the internal HDD of the computer. The computer was just used so I could move the files from an external HDD to a jump drive. – Anxious Mar 4 '14 at 17:02
Then, in theory, you should be fine. – Canadian Luke Mar 4 '14 at 17:05
Ok. Thanks. Don't think it's likely any software/programs were able to grab the files? I'm sure there was a log of two storage devices connecting to the PC, but that's all I can think of. – Anxious Mar 4 '14 at 17:18
Usually, that's all that would be there. I'm sure in high-security organizations, they may have spyware installed to monitor everything going in and out (think of CIA/NSA type jobs). If you're not working there, I'm assuming you're safe – Canadian Luke Mar 4 '14 at 17:23

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.