Going back to your question about data stored on the computers hard drive. Hard drives are composed of magnetic particles imbeded in/on a silicon disc. The heads of the hard drive float above the disk as it spins and read or right information to the disk as it's spinning. Not much different than a VCR tape for recording TV shows. Most programs don't erase themselves from the harddrive when you delete them. You could compare the way a computer 'deletes' files/data to the filing system of say a library. They have the name and author of a book stored in files on little cards. If you tore up the cards for a particular book, no one would know the book was in the library unless they did a shelf by shelf search to find it. The same thing happens when you "delete" a program or other data on your computer. The information on where to look on the hard drive is "erased" but the program or data is right where it was. It is not erased. This is also the case for things in the "Recycle bin", though their location information is kept in the 'Recycle Bin' folder in case you decide you didn't want to delete them. In time, as you save stuff on your computer, some of the "deleted" files or parts of them get copied over and can't be recovered....unless you have special software. There is also equipment that will recover some if not most of the "lost" data. It's a little on the spendy side though, so usually law enforcement agencies and data recovery companies are the only ones that have this equipment. There are software programs though that you can buy to recover lost data. Good news is that there are several programs that can "shred" files when you delete them. They basically record over the files with random information several times to make it difficult to recover the deleted infromation. Seven passes is/was the US Goverment standard for erasing electronically stored information. Many of these programs will also shred the free (unused) disk space to eliminate info from previously deleted programs. I will warn you that shredding a file takes a little longer than deleting it and if you do it to the free space on a large hard drive, you could be in for a wait of several hours or more for it to finish. Not really practical unless your paranoid or have a drive that has personal information on it that your getting rid of, for instance you get a new computer and donate your old one to a yard sale.
Hope that answers your question.
TheAlphaWolf, were yoou thinking of "Planned obsolescense"?