How to Wipe a Locked Hard Drive in Windows?

How to wipe a locked hard drive when you wish to clean that disk? If you’re struggling in this problem, try the 2 ways in this post we list for you.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can you wipe an encrypted hard drive?

Windows provides many ways for users to protect their data, and one of those ways is locking the disk. With BitLocker encryption tech, Windows can prevent your private information from leaking, lost, and stolen. Combined with the TPM (Trusted Platform Module), your data is quite safe.

But, as a coin has two sides, encryption also brings limits. Users can’t wipe and resize the locked drive via Disk Management. Thus, if you wish to wipe a locked hard drive or wipe a locked external hard drive, you must unlock it before other operations.

How to wipe a locked hard drive on Windows PC?

To successfully wipe a locked hard drive, in this section, we’ll show 2 parts to do this job. In Part 1, you will learn how to unlock a locked disk, then in Part 2, you’ll see detailed steps about how to thoroughly wipe an encrypted hard drive to prevent data recovery.

Part 1. Unlock a locked drive

Step 1. Open Settings and type “encryption”, and click “Manage BitLocker”.

Manage encryption

Step 2. You’ll get a popup and choose the drive and click “Turn off BitLocker”.

Trun off

Step 3. Click “Turn off BitLocker” to confirm.


Part 2. Thoroughly wipe the hard drive with a professional tool

First, you need to understand what disk wiping is. Many users thought that formatting the hard drive can clean the disk and delete all data. This is wrong.

Formatting can’t thoroughly clean the data stored on the disk. It simply unlinks files from the file system, rendering them unfindable, and then wipes the partition table, leaving files unprotected and previously utilized disk space vulnerable to overwriting with fresh data. The old data, however, stay until it is overwritten.

Overwriting hard disks is how data wiping works. This implies that current data is replaced with a sequence of zeros or random data, effectively covering the disk with enough ink to render the data unrecoverable.

Thus, if you wish to thoroughly clean your hard drive, you need to wipe it, not just format it.

You may use a strong hard drive manager-AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to fully erase a hard disk and assure no one can retrieve it in any way. It is a partition manager for Windows-based computers. You can use it to wipe/clone/resize/format/check internal disks and external disks.

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This tool offers you 4 wiping methods, let’s see more details.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Partition Assistant, select a hard drive which you want to wipe; right-click on it and choose "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". If you want to sell your disk or give it to another user, you’d better choose one of the latter three ways.

Select wiping methods

• Fill sectors with Zeros: Overwrite all sectors with zeros. It is common to wipe a personal hard drive. It is safe and fast.
• Fill sectors with random data: It overwrites the hard drive with random data. It is more secure than the first one.
• DoD 5220.22-M: It is much more secure than "zero-filling" and "random data filling" and faster than the Guttman. Thus it is often adopted by companies and organizations.
• Gutmann: It overwrites a hard drive with 35 passes. It is the safest way here, but it also takes the longest time.

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


After the wiping, your disk will show as unallocated. You need to format it and then you can create a new partition.

Further reading: How to securely erase an SSD?

Because SSDs have different reading and writing methods than traditional hard drives, their wipe-out procedures differ. AOMEI Partition Assistant is also an SSD secure erase tool that allows you to completely wipe data from a solid-state drive in your Windows 7 PC. If you are working with another Windows system, you must connect it to a SATA-equipped Windows 7 PC.

SSD secure erase

To sum up

This article shows how to wipe a locked hard drive. Of course, you can directly format the locked hard drive for reuse, but, if you just want to hand up the target disk, please ensure your privacy is protected.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a useful application; if you don't know how to safely erase an encrypted Windows 10 hard disk, this utility can assist you. Furthermore, you can use this tool to move installed programs, convert file systems without formatting drive, convert to GPT/MBR without deleting partitions, and so on. And it has the Server Edition for your Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2).

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.