How can I clean all traces of files that are kept on networked drives?

I heard IT and a manager discussing how the manager could use documents created by a former employee instead of doing the work himself. I'd like to delete all my files prior to leaving my employer in four months.


First, some advice. Don't be a dick. If you're leaving your current company on bad terms, just leave. Don't go out of your way to screw them over on the way out. Purposefully deleting work related documents that might help your replacement is just mean particularly when that replacement might have had nothing to do with your leaving in the first place.

That said, unless you have physical access to the machine with the data on it, there's no way to "securely" delete the files. And even if you did, it's likely (I hope) your employer has backups they can restore.

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    It is also probably illegal, those documents are not yours, even if you created them. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 5 '10 at 19:49

If you delete the files on the network folder, chances are that they will really be deleted. If you have the rights to create them in the first place, you will be able to delete them.

However, it is highly possible that these network folders are backed up regularly, and so, there is no chance to really remove your files, as there will still be a previous version on these saves. (unless you do a "Mission: Impossible" action to find these saves and destroy them, of course, but I guess we can rule this possibility out).


Keep in mind when you are being paid to do work for a company, the company owns the rights to your work not you. So if you do a big job, we can use development for an example, then you quit. You don't get to take the source code you wrote for the project with you. That being said. If you delete something of any real value, there is the potential for the company to take legal action against you for tampering with their property and hindering operation of normal business.

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    Exactly. People tend to forget that they don't own what they do on their firm time, or on the firm's computers. You shouldn't have personal files one the firm's folders/computers. And the rest is property of the firm in which you work. – Gnoupi Feb 5 '10 at 19:31


I'm not trying to sabotage a job in anyway. The server room is open to the public 18 hours a day, so a glass of water could could probably do more damage than I could. They are not a good fit for me and I'm leaving, giving them four months notice and hiring/training my replacement. I just don't like the idea of a manager firing someone for "gross incompetence" and then conspiring to use that same person's work, and smirking openly about it no less. People should be valued more.

If its illegal, it is what it is. I'll delete what's mine and they can find what's theirs.

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