How to Wipe A Hard Drive Without Deleting Windows 11, 10, 8, And 7

If you are considering selling or giving away your PC, you should wipe personal data from the hard drive to prevent data leakage. This article will show how to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP.


By Dervish / Updated on November 10, 2023

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Help! How do I erase my hard drive but keep the operating system?



I want to sell my Dell computer on eBay. To prevent personal data from being leaked, I need to wipe out the hard drive completely but keep the Windows system at the same time. I'm currently confused because I can't find a proper way. I hope someone can tell me what to do, thanks in advance!”


It is a common phenomenon to wipe the hard drive while keeping the Windows system because reinstalling Windows can waste a lot of time and effort. Do you know if it is possible to wipe out a hard drive without deleting Windows or how to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows? Please read on.

Can you wipe your hard drive with Windows on it without removing it?

First, the answer is yes. You can erase your hard drive while keeping Windows 11/10/8/7. Usually, when we need to sell the computer, the computer should be wiped completely while keeping Windows. When the user reuses the hard disk, the hard disk needs to be erased to free up space, remove viruses, and so on. The following part will show you how to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows.

How to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows - 2 ways

Here are two methods for you to choose to wipe a hard drive permanently, the first method is to use Windows built-in tools to reset the PC, and the second method is to wipe the partition through powerful third-party software. You can choose a method that works best for you.

▶ Way 1. Reset this PC to wipe hard drive without deleting Windows

Resetting this PC in Windows 10 returns the computer to its default state and deletes everything. This feature is actually derived from Refresh your PC in Windows 8. It wipes the hard drive before reinstalling Windows and overwrites the remaining data by writing zeros to the hard drive.

In Windows 10, you can access it by 2 methods:

>> If you can log on to Windows 10: Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery Reset this PC
>> If you want to wipe a hard drive without logging in: Enter Windows 10 recovery mode via installation disc > Select language and region > Next > Repair your computer > Troubleshot > Reset this PC

Step 1. After selecting it to start, you can select Remove Everything on the next page to clear all personal files, applications and settings from your hard drive.


Step 2. Then select Fully Clean the Drive.

Clean the Drive

Step 3. Make sure and click Reset.


▶ Way 2. Using freeware to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows

Resetting this PC is a relatively safe method of erasing in Windows 10, but it's not the safest method. If you want to ensure that sensitive data will never be recovered, or if you are wiping a hard drive from Windows 7, then you need a reliable hard drive wiper, such as AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

This is a free all-in-one disk partition manager. Its Delete Partition feature can delete the partition and permanently erase all information and data by zero-padding method. To wipe a hard drive without removing Windows, you can delete other partitions in sequence except the system partition. Download and install the software and follow these steps:

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

● Before erasing, you can clone the hard drive to another HDD/SSD to back up the data you need.
● If you need to completely delete data on a solid-state drive, it offers the“Secure Erase SSD” feature that is specialized for SSD in terms of the structure of SSD.

Step 1. After downloading and installing it, right-click on a data partition and choose “Delete Partition” from the drop-down menu.

Delete Partition

Step 2. And choose “Delete Partition and wipe data on it” And tick “Fil Sector with Zero”.

Wipe Data

Upgrade to the Professional Version to try 3 other methods:
Fill sectors with random data: wipe the partition and overwrite existing contents with random data.
DoD 5220.22-M: Overwrite all addressable locations with binary zeroes firstly; secondly with binary ones; thirdly with a random bit pattern.
✍ Gutmann: Overwrite the partition with a random character for the first 4 and the last 4 passes and overwrite from pass 5 through pass 31 with a complex pattern.

Step 3. Then, delete the partitions you need one by one until the end. Finally, click "Apply" to generate the action.


Tip: If you want to wipe the entire data disk permanently, you can try the Wipe Hard Drive feature.


This is the whole process of how to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. In comparison, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is the most effective method. After erasing all partitions, you can also use it to create partitions.

Last but not least, if you need to wipe a hard drive on Windows Server, you should switch to Server Edition which is designed for Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012(R2), 2008(R2), and 2003 users.

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.