How do I completely wipe a hard drive?
Wiping a hard drive is quite different from formatting or deleting hard drive. When you delete or format a disk partition, the inside data seem to be cleared, but actually they just become invisible to the Windows operating system. With a proper data recovery tool, any one can recover the deleted data without efforts.
Therefore, before you sell or donate your old hard drive, it is necessary to wipe it completely. That can prevent the next user from restoring your private or personal information. But how to permanently wipe a hard drive in Windows 10/8/7? Read on and we will tell what is the best program to wipe a hard drive.
Choose a secure hard drive eraser
To be as safe as possible, you might need to choose a secure hard drive wipe tool that can clear the disk in such a way that it’s impossible for anyone to recover the content even with a professional data recovery tool. Here we highly recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It is designed for Windows operating systems, such as Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP and Vista (both 32-bit and 64-bit).
To wipe a hard drive completely, it develops “Wipe Hard Drive” function, and this function contains 4 different wiping methods for your choice.
⓵Fill sector with zero: overwrite the hard drive with zero.
⓶Fill sector with random data: overwrite disk with random data.
⓷DoD 5220.22-M: 3 passes (pass 1: writes a zero and verifies the write; pass 2: writes a one and verifies the write; pass 3: writes a random character and verifies the write).
⓸Gutmann: pass and overwrite hard drive 35 times.
These methods are ranked by the security level and pass times. Now, you can download the Demo version and check out the following guide.
Full guide: wipe a hard drive step by step in Windows PC
Now, we will show you how to wipe a hard drive completely in Windows computer.
Note: Hard drive erasing will result in data loss. It is suggested to perform a local backup or cloud backup on crucial files before you start.
Step 1. Install and run the hard drive eraser, find and right-click the hard drive you want to wipe, and choose “Wipe Hard Drive”.
Step 2. In this pop-out window, you are offered 4 different hard drive wiping methods.
Choose one according to your needs and click "OK".
Step 3. Click "Apply" ->"Proceed" to execute the operation.
This method could also apply to wipe a USB drive, pen drive, SD card, memory card and more. If you just want to wipe a specific volume/partition, you can right click the space, select “Wipe Partition” and follow the prompts.
Besides, the hard drive wipe software can also erase everything from solid state drives (SSD) with the “SSD Secure Erase Wizard”. This feature can clear all data on SSD without damaging its lifespan and performance. But it only works on Windows 7 by far, so you need to connect the SSD to a Windows 7 computer when you want to erase it.
Further reading: Erase hard drive from bootable USB (without loading OS)
If your Windows fails to boot for some reason and you need to wipe the system hard drive for OS reinstallation, you can first create a bootable USB drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, then boot PC from it and perform hard drive erasing under WinPE environment.
Step 1. Connect an empty USB (over 8GB) to a working computer, and run AOMEI software on that PC. Then click “Make Bootable Media” and “Next”.
Step 2. Choose a USB drive and click “Proceed”.
Step 3. When it is done, click “Finish” to close this window.
Note: the bootable USB contains the pre-installed AOMEI Partition Assistant.
Step 4. Unplug the USB and insert it into the computer which cannot start up. Enter BIOS setup and make the bootable USB the first boot device.
Step 5. Once login, you will be in the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, and then you can take the above steps to wipe hard drive or erase SSD without accessing OS.
Whether you want to wipe an HDD or SSD, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional can be a great hard drive eraser. Moreover, it can also work as a nice SSD optimization tool to fix the SSD slowing down issue.
Last but not least, when you finish wiping the disk, it will show as unallocated space. If you want to use it again, you can try its “Quick Partition” function to create multiple partitions in one click. To use those functions to manage Server disk partitions, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.