Dear Heloise: In regard to the column that appeared in the (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun Sentinel, I would like to add to your discussion on ERASING COMPUTER FILES.

Even when computer files are erased from the recycle bin, they are NOT permanently erased from the computer’s hard drive. Erasing the files leaves the files on the hard drive, but tells the computer that it would be okay to overwrite the location (where the files are on the hard drive) and reuse that space. The files continue to reside on the hard drive, and there are programs that can recover files that have been “erased” because they have not actually been erased.

Likewise, there are programs that will actually overwrite the space on the hard drive, where the file resides, so that it cannot be recovered, but it takes an additional program to do this.

This is why it is so important, when discarding or recycling a computer, that the hard drive be thoroughly scrubbed by a special program, or that the hard drive is removed from the computer and destroyed before discarding, donating or recycling a computer. Otherwise, it would be possible to read files that someone thought had been erased and that might contain financial information, passwords, personal information, etc.

I do enjoy reading your column, and I hope that this information may help. -- Bill Parker, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: This hint has made my bread baking even more enjoyable and was given to me by a good friend. I always dreaded washing the bowl after making bread. I now use a couple of paper towels, instead of my dishcloth or sponge, and when done, I simply throw the paper towels in the trash. No more trying to pick the dough off my sponge! -- Janet in Bella Vista, Ark.


Dear Heloise: The plastic lids that come on containers of stacked potato chips are a near-perfect fit for a common-size metal can, such as the ones containing beans, peas, etc. I save those lids to cover such cans in the fridge when I don’t use all the contents. -- Doug Johnson, Denham Springs, La.


Dear Heloise: Who doesn’t love chocolate? I live with a husband and two sons who also love it and get to it before I do!

I decided to hide it where no man would look for it — the vegetable section in the fridge. -- Sherry Lee Snider, Annapolis, Md.


Dear Heloise: I read the idea of keeping a towel on the counter to keep those pesky little pills from getting lost.

I use a plastic storage container to corral my meds. The lid has a lip, so, if I use it as a tray while filling my weekly dispensers, no little pills get away. Plus, should I have a medical emergency, all my meds are in one spot and can easily travel to the hospital with me. -- Paula Morgan, Irwin, Pa.

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate