How to Dispose of Old Hard Drives?

How to dispose of old hard drives securely when you have new disks? Some users want to abandon the old HDD but data leaking is a serious bad thing. You’ll learn how to dispose of hard drive in this post.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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With the popularity of SSD, more and more users would like to choose SSD to replace the old hard drive on the PC. Some users may choose to set up an HDD and SSD combo to reuse the old hard drive. But, some users find that their hard drives are too old to recycle, and the only way is to dispose of hard drive.

Then the problem comes: how to safely dispose of old hard drives? Our old disks carry too much private information, you cannot throw it in the trash bin simply. Now, privacy leaking is a tricky problem all around the world. With a little neglect, someone may take advantage of the situation to use your personal information for bad things.

Thus, in this post, we’ll show you how to safely dispose of old hard drives to protect your privacy.

How to dispose of old hard drive in a Windows computer?

No matter what you want to do with your old hard drive in the future, the first thing is to clear all data on it. Here, we prepared 2 ways for you to clear data on the old hard drive.

Way 1. Use Command Prompt to wipe a hard drive

When it comes to performing hard disk operations, you might think of Windows built-in capabilities like DiskPart and Disk Management. Fortunately, DiskPart provides this feature to help you clean data on the target drive.

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" at the same time, input "cmd" in the Run box, and press "Enter" to open Command Prompt.

Step 2. In the Command Prompt window, type "diskpart" to enter the DiskPart window.

Step 3. Then type the following commands and press “Enter” after each:

• list disk (This will list all disks on your computer.)
• select disk x ("x" means the disk you want to wipe completely. Here we select disk 2.)
• clean all (This command line will delete all data from the selected disk.)

Wipe hard drive with CMD

Way 2. Use a professional disk wiper to wipe a hard drive

Although Command Prompt can help you clean your hard drive, it has several limitations. It is usual for people who are unfamiliar with CMD to select the incorrect disk to erase. Furthermore, the CMD wiping approach does not have an overwriting mechanism to prevent data from being retrieved by a data recovery program.

Thus, we suggest you use a disk wiper, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to wipe your old hard drive. It is a dependable and powerful hard drive eraser with a graphical user interface and zero-filling capabilities that may help you simply and safely wipes any data on a hard disk, USB drive, or SD card.

This software offers four distinct ways for cleaning up a hard disk in Windows to avoid data restoration: Fill sectors with zero, Fill sectors with random data, DoD 5220.22-M, and Gutmann.

In addition, if you wish to erase a hard drive on a dead computer, you may use this program to generate a bootable CD that will allow you to access your hard drive and effectively wipe it.

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Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, right-click on the hard drive you want to wipe, and choose "Wipe hard drive".

Wipe hard drive

Step 2. Here you can choose a wiping method from the 4 options, and click "OK".

Wipe methods

▶ Tips:
Fill sector with zero will replace a hard disk with a zero. It is secure and the quickest way to stop most recovery applications from retrieving data.
Fill sectors with random data writes random data to the hard disk to make it more difficult to extract meaningful data from it. It is safer than the first choice, but it takes longer.
DoD is a software-based data sanitization method that overwrites a disk three times with zeros, ones, and random data. It is safer than the first two, but it takes longer to complete.
Gutmann erases a hard disk and makes 35 passes. It is the safest approach to prevent almost all recovery programs from recovering any data, also it is the most time-consuming.

Step 3. You can preview the operation on the main interface, and click "Apply" to execute the task.


After a while, the hard drive will be completely wiped out.

How to destroy old hard drive physically?

Once you completely wipe data from your hard drive, if you’re sure you wish to abandon the hard drive. Then you can destroy the old hard drives via the following ideas.

Step 1. Remove the hard drive from your computer

The hard drive is put into the PC case on a drive bay or bolted to the side of the chassis for desktop users. You can simply detach the power and data cords and slide the drive out of the computer. Sometimes it may be bolted in place, you'll need to remove it using a screwdriver.

While for laptop users, you may need to consult your user manual or contact customer service for instructions on how to remove the hard drive. The access panel might be at the bottom of the case or the top.

Step 2. Open the hard drive box and destroy the spare parts

You may remove the circuit board with your Torx driver and remove the top plate. This step most likely needs you to pry it off with a flathead screwdriver. Continue disassembling the internal components by removing the tone arm and platters.

Open HDD box

The act of exposing the platters to air and manipulating them with unprotected fingers has almost definitely erased the data on the drive at this point. To be thorough, scrape the surface of each plate with a flathead screwdriver. Anyone would be hard-pushed to retrieve anything valuable from this drive at this point.


Can old hard drives be recycled?

For users whose old hard drives are still working well, it is not necessary to completely destroy them. Although SSD has better performance and faster speed, the price of an SSD is usually more expensive than an HDD with the same capacity. You can recycle it for your own computer or after you completely wipe it, you can sell it or donate it.

If you want to recycle it for your computer, you don’t even need to wipe it, formatting is enough. The only problem is if the hard drive is a system HDD, your Windows might not allow you to wipe a system disk. If you confront this problem, don’t worry, AOMEI Partition Assistant can help you. Our “Wipe Hard drive” function supports system disk wiping. And if your new SSD is prepared and has Windows OS installed, you can directly wipe the old hard drive.

For users who don’t want to reinstall the new Windows OS on the new disk, you can choose the “Disk Clone Wizard” or “Migrate OS to SSD” functions to use your old Windows system on your new disk without reinstalling system and losing data.

Of course, you can also use it as a new disk for your game console if it has a larger capacity than the current disk of your devices.

To sum up

This is how to dispose of old hard drives. If you want to destroy the hard drive, then after you wipe it completely, you’d better open it and disassemble it; if you want to recycle it, then you can have a nice data disk for your devices.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a multifunctional tool. You can use it to clean disks, and also use it to clone disks. Besides the features we’ve mentioned, it has many other helpful features like MBR/GPT data-safe conversion, SSD secure erase, app/folder mover, and so on.

Additionally, you can choose the Server Edition if you’re using Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/20012(R2)/2008(R2)/2003.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.