Answered: Does Formatting a Disk Erase Data Permanently?

If you are wondering if formatting a disk erase data completely and permanently, here you can find the answer and learn how to erase all data on a disk thoroughly.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

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“Does formatting a disk erase data completely?”

“I have an old external hard drive and want to sell it, but there are many business documents in it, even I deleted them and formatted my drive, but I still worry about that someone could retrieve my data with some program data recovery, so, I was wondering does formatting a disk wipe everything without recovery chance?”

Formatting vs. Erasing a disk: which way to go?

Before answering "will formatting disk erase data", we need to figure out the difference between formatting and erasing a hard drive.

Formatting a hard drive is a process of wiping its partition table and unlinks all the data in the file system. It also sets up a new file system to use with certain applications or operating systems. Although all the data seems to be deleted already, it just becomes invisible and can be recovered easily with a certain data recovery program.

▸Erasing a hard drive is a process of completely and permanently removing everything on the drive, as well as anything you have previously deleted that might still exist. What’s more, the erased data is unable to be recovered in any way.

So, does formatting a disk erase data totally? The answer is obvious, NO. As for which one is better, that depends on your individual needs. If you upgrade to a new hard drive and giving your old one to your friend, need a fresh start on your existing drive, or want to restore SSD drive performance, wiping the drive is the best way to avoid the risk of exposing sensitive personal data like social security numbers, account numbers, passwords, etc.

How to erase all data from a disk permanently?

By far, the easiest way to erase all data from a disk completely is to use a professional and reliable hard drive data eraser such as AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It is a powerful disk partition management software for Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. It offers two different methods. The "Wipe Hard Drive" is to wipe HDD completely while "SSD Secure Erase" is to erase SSD securely without causing damage to the SSD drive. Plus, it has a Demo version for your free trial.

Download DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Before you do: backup something important if necessary since the wiping process will make the data unable to be retrieved in any software.

Part 1. Erase all data from HDD

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right click the hard drive you plan to erase and select “Wipe Hard Drive”.

Wipe Hard Drive

Step 2. Select a wiping method in this window. Here we choose “Fill sectors with random data” .

Fill Sectors with Random Data

Step 3. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” to start wiping the hard drive.


Part 2. Remove all data from SSD

Since the “SSD Secure Erase” function only works on Windows 7 at present, please connect your SSD to a Windows 7 based computer and make sure it is detected.

Step 1. In the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the SSD drive from which you need to erase data and select “SSD Secure Erase”.

Secure Erase SSD

Step 2. Choose the SSD you are going to erase and click “Next”.

Choose SSD

Step 3. There are chances that the selected SSD is in a frozen state. To continue with secure erase, you can follow the given link to perform a hot swap to unfreeze the SSD. After that, click “Next”.

Frozen State Ok

Step 4. Then wait for the SSD secure erase process to be completed.

Waiting Erasing

Final words

Till here, we have cleared your doubt about “does formatting a disk erase data”, and introduced the best way to erase data from disks when necessary. After wiping HDD or erasing SSD permanently via the aforementioned software, you can create partition on it for reuse or throw it away without worrying about data leakage.

Besides, this software also comes with “Extend Partition Wizard” to increase data or system partition size, or “Allocate Free Space” to directly transfer a part of unused disk space from one partition to another. If you are running Windows Server operating system, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.