How to Wipe a Hard Drive Before Recycling on Windows PC?

How do you wipe a hard drive before recycling it if you want to get rid of the current disk? In this post, you’ll learn more about how to wipe disks completely.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Massive amounts of data are stored on hard disks and other storage devices. However, a hard disk might be so susceptible that viruses and malware readily infect it. After failing to restore the hard disk, wiping a hard drive for reuse is the final and best option. Even if you intend to sell or leave it, you must wipe all data on it to avoid data leaks.

Typically, consumers will need to clear their disk for a variety of reasons, including:

1. Buy a used internal or external hard disk.

2. Have too many unneeded files and wish to delete them completely.

3. Get a hard disk ready for data storage or backup.

4. Affected by malware or a virus, the hard drive cannot be fixed.

5. Offer it for sale or give it away to others.

Why do you need to wipe a hard drive before reusing it in Windows?

To wipe data, some people may format or delete files manually. However, formatting and deleting manually, which make files invisible to the system, may be readily restored using market recovery software.

Once data is written on the disk, it won’t be “Deleted” or “Cleaned” by any tools. Deleting some files can only be recognized as “useless” data, but they don’t disappear. When you store new files, the old data will be covered by the new data, you can call this process an “overwrite”. Until this, the old data is replaced by the new data being stored in the original place.

Disk wipe uses this process to protect your privacy. After you confirm the data wiping task, the disk wiping tool will delete data and overwrite meaningless data on it to cover original data to prevent the recovery tool to retrieve any useful data on the target disk. When the process is finished, you can reuse it or give it to another user without privacy leaking issues.

A powerful & reliable disk wipe tool

After we finished a brief introduction, you must understand that a powerful disk wiping tool plays a crucial role during the whole wiping task.

If you still have no approving option, we sincerely recommend you to try AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a powerful disk and partition management tool for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP to fully erase a hard disk and assure no one can retrieve it in any way.

The "Wipe Hard Drive" feature allows you to erase a hard disk using one of four wiping methods. Furthermore, owing to various storage methods, this wiping method is not used to wipe an SSD and has a detrimental impact on the SSD's longevity. This tool also has the “SSD Secure Erase” function to help you clean your SSD disk.

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How do you erase hard drive before recycling computer?

▶ Preparation:
• Backup data you don’t want to wipe from the disk you will erase.
• A disk will become blank as soon as it has been wiped, by doing so, you can make full use of this disk by re-partition it.
• If you need to wipe the system hard drive, you ask to restart into PreOS mode, or you can make a bootable device and do the clean in Windows PE mode.

Let’s see how to erase laptops and desktops before recycling with this handy tool!

Step 1. This feature will erase a given hard drive for anti-recovery. You can select a hard drive that you want to wipe; right-click on it and choose the "Wipe Hard Drive" option.

Wipe hard drive

Step 2. Choose a wiping method to wipe the selected hard drive according to your requirements and click "OK".

Wiping methods

◤ Wiping methods:
1. Overwrite all sectors with zeros: Fill all sectors with zeros. It is standard practice to erase a personal hard disk. It is both safe and quick.
2. Fill sectors with random data: It writes random data to the hard disk. It is safer than the previous one.
3. DoD 5220.22-M: The DoD standard was initially published in the United States Department of Defense. It is more secure than "zero-filling" and "random data filling," as well as faster than the Guttman algorithm. As a result, it is often used by businesses and organizations.
4. Gutmann: It takes 35 passes to overwrite a hard disk. It is the safest route here, but it is also the most time-consuming.

Step 3. Click "Apply" in the toolbar to execute the operation.


In only three steps, you can completely wipe your hard drive before recycling into a Windows computer.

Further reading: How to securely erase an SSD?

To securely erase your SSD, you can click "Wipe" on the top pane and click  "SSD secure erase” to employ the function.

SSD secure erase


If you don’t know how to wipe a hard drive before recycling it on a Windows PC, this article will greatly help you. AOMEI Partition Assistant can not only clean HDD and SSD, but it can also clone disk for backup, migrate OS, move installed programs, and convert disk between GPT and MBR without deleting data. And you can choose the Server Edition to manage your Server device.

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.