How To Wipe Hard Drive Completely

How to Wipe Hard Drive Completely

Permanently wiping a hard drive is not the same as deleting everything on it. It’s because a deleted file is recoverable while a permanently deleted file is unrecoverable. This is why instead of just deleting files, wipe the hard drive when you plan to sell a PC or give it to someone.

Here, we will explain how to wipe the hard drive and delete data forever. Whether running Windows 11,10,8 or 7, using the Secure Delete feature of Advanced System Optimizer, you can easily wipe deleted data and hard drive. To learn how to use it, check the section – How to Wipe Hard Drive permanently.

Scenarios when you should wipe the hard drive – Windows 10

  • When switching to an SSD drive
  • When discarding a computer or exchanging it for a new one
  • When throwing away a damaged hard drive
  • When restoring a hard drive

How To Wipe Hard Drive in Windows?

Windows provides different options to wipe hard drives. Before you follow these steps, back up your data. External hard disk and cloud storage are the best suited to save data and keep it safe. To reinstall Windows on a new machine, create a recovery drive.

Note : The steps to create a recovery drive are the same in Windows 11 and 10.

Steps to Create a Windows Recovery Drive in Windows 11 or 10

  • In Windows search, type recovery drive.
  • Select the best search results to open the Recovery Drive menu.  Create a Windows Recovery Drive
  • Select the box next to the Backup system to the recovery drive> click Next.  create recovery drive
  • Connect the USB drive with a minimum of 8GB of free space > click Next > Create.

connect usb drive

Once the Windows recovery drive is created, and the backup of important data is done, you are ready to wipe the hard drive. Follow the steps below to wipe the hard drive.

Must Read: How To Perform Automatic PC Cleaning?

How To Format An External Drive – Windows 11, 10 & 7

Formatting external storage wipes all the data saved on it.

  • Connect the USB drive to your PC.
  • Press Windows + E to open File Explorer.

open file explorer

  • Under This PC, look for the connected USB drive.
  • Right-click on it > select Format.

select format

  • Select the File System in which you want to format it and follow the instructions.

If the connected hard drive does not show up in File Explorer, the possibility is that it is either corrupt or incompatible with Windows. Therefore, to wipe the external drive use the Disk Management tool.

Must Read : Best Way to Optimize Memory and Manage System Cache

Wiping Hard Drive Using Disk Management Tool

Usually, the Disk Management tool is used to create disk partitions or volumes. However, you can use it to wipe the disk, which isn’t formatted for Windows. To do so, you must be logged in as an administrator.

Follow the steps below to use the Disk Management tool:

  • Connect the external drive to your PC.
  • Press the Windows key + X> select Disk Management.

Wiping Hard Drive by Disk Management Tool

  • Right-click the external drive you want to wipe > select Format.

select format in disk management tool

  • Select a new file system compatible with Windows.

However, you can try initializing the disk if you face any issues. Initializing a drive will wipe the drive and reformat it for Windows.

  • Open Disk Management.
  • Right-click the disk you are facing issues with > select Initialize.
  • Select GPT and click OK.

select gpt

  • Select the NTFS file system and format the select disk.

Select NTFS file system

In addition to this, you can even use the Reset function. It will wipe all the data allowing you to use clean slate Windows. However, there might be slight chances of data recovery and for Windows 7 users wiping data isn’t that easy. Therefore, try Secure Delete and wipe the hard disk to eliminate any chance of data recovery and simplify wiping the hard drive. To use it, follow the steps below:

Must Read: How to Deep Clean a PC the Right Way?

How To Permanently Delete Files Using Secure Delete?

Follow these steps to permanently wipe out the previously deleted files and folders or a specific drive, leaving no possible chance for retrieval.

Note : Once the files are deleted using Secure Delete, you can recover them even using the finest recovery tool.

  • Download and install Advanced System Optimizer
  • Launch Advanced System Optimizer.
  • Click Security & Privacy from the left pane > double-click Secure Delete.
  • Select secure deleteClick the Select Files button to add files and folders that you want to delete permanently.

select files & folders in ASO

  • Using the “Add File” or “Add Folder,” select the files and folders to be securely deleted.
  • Furthermore, if you want, you can select the wiping method. To do so, click the Change link, as shown in the screenshot below:
  • select files to wipeYou will have three types of wipe methods to select from:

select wipe methods

1. Fast Secure Delete

This method is the fastest but less secure way of deletion. Deleted data can be recovered using microscopic examination of disks. (Single Pass – data is overwritten once by random digits).

2. Random fill data streams

This method is a little slower but more secure. There are remote chances of data recovery using microscopic examination of disks. (Three Passes – data is overwritten thrice by random digits).

3. Secure Delete

This method is the most secure but the slowest. There is no chance of retrieving data from disks. (Seven Passes – data is overwritten seven times by random digits). It is the safest mode.

  • Once the wiping method is selected, click the “Continue” button to start the process.
  • Check the items you wish to delete and securely click the “Next” button.
  • go next to wipeEnter the confirmation code in the box to start the process and hit Next.

enter confirmation code

  • Secure Delete will now ask for user confirmation. Type “YES” to start the removal process. (Note: Data deleted by Secure Delete is unrecoverable).
  • When the selected data is wiped, you will get a summary of the process. It will show the total number and volume of files and folders wiped out from the computer.

all files wiped

Tip : If you want to add more files, click on the button “Wipe More Files,” or else click the “Finish” button to go back to the main/welcome screen.

How To Securely Wipe a Hard Disk Drive Using Hard Drive-Erased Software?

  • Launch Advanced System Optimizer.
  • Click Security & Privacy from the left pane > double-click Secure Delete.
  • double-click Secure Delete Click the Drive tab.
  • select drive tabSelect the hard drive from the drop-down list you wish to scan for already deleted files and folders. This will help permanently remove deleted files and folders.
  • Select from the three options:

Read More

Wipe deleted files only – permanently wipe out the files which have been previously deleted from the selected hard drive.

Wipe the entire drive – securely delete all the contents (existing and previously deleted) of the selected drive so that nothing is recoverable.

Wipe free space – Choose this option to identify the free space and overwrite data on it so that no chances of data retrieval are left.

Note- To change these settings, use the Settings tab.

  • Once you choose the hard drive and the kind of wipe to do, continue with the process by clicking on “Start Scan Now.”
  • start scan processOnce the scan is through, the scan results are put forth. Click the “Wipe Now” button and securely delete the files and folders found in the scan.
  • confirmation for secure deleteEnter the code to proceed and click the Wipe button.
  • click the wipe processTake a look at the summary and click Finish.

Click on finish button

This is how using specialized tool; you can scrub your hard drive clean using the specialized tool. Secure Delete uses three different methods to wipe data. You can use any to wipe clean the drive and stay worry-free.

Wipe External and Internal Hard Drive Using Hard Drive Eraser Software

When selling a PC or discarding a hard drive, wiping the drive is an intelligent way to keep data safe. For this, you can use either format the drive or can use Secure Delete. However, if you don’t want to wipe the drive but want to keep the PC clean and optimized for optimal use.

Try Advanced System Optimizer. This PC cleaner and optimization will take care of junk files, cluttered data, spyware, malware, unwanted startup programs, disk fragmentation, and more. To know more about it, read the complete review and try it. We hope the information we’ve provided helps you and that you can wipe disks easily using hard drive wipe software.

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About The Author

Preeti Seth
Preeti Seth

A UX writer who loves explaining technical details in a clear, crisp, and concise manner. She loves writing about technical troubleshooting, How-To's, product reviews, etc. In her free time, she loves reading, meditating, and traveling.

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