How to Wipe Clean a Hard Drive for Disposal on Windows 11/10/8/7?

On this page, you will learn how to wipe clean a hard drive for disposal on Windows PCs. Among all the methods, AOMEI Partition Assistant will wipe your hard drive completely and permanently to well protect your personal information.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

Why need to wipe clean a hard drive for disposal?


I have a laptop that windows 7 installed and I want to complete wipe the hard drive clean - no files on it - so that I can dispose of it completely. Anyone can tell me how to wipe clean a hard drive for disposal? Thank you for your response."

- Question from Microsoft Community

When using a computer for a long time, you may find your disk is full of massive data and runs slower. In this case, you might want to replace your hard drive with a larger one or a faster one. After replacement, it's common to sell or throw away the old one.

But one thing you must keep in mind before giving it away is to wipe clean the hard drive thoroughly. The main factors triggering you to wipe hard drive for disposal include:

★ To sell it at a good price. No buyer wants to buy a used hard drive with various files. Thus, you can clean the hard drive in advance to improve the purchase experience.

★ To wipe the hard drive for reuse. If you don't want to throw it, it's a great idea to erase all the data on it and take it as a new storage device.

★ To protect your private information. This is the most important factor you should take into account. No matter you sell it or dispose of it directly, please make sure no one can get any data from the hard drive.

How to wipe clean a hard drive for disposal (2 common ways)

After knowing the importance of wiping hard drive clean before disposal, let's move to the most significant part: How to wipe a hard drive before disposal? When it comes to this question, many users may delete everything on it or format the partition manually.

However, these two ways just make files invisible to the system. The deleted data can be easily found by professional recovery software. Thus, to truly wipe clean a hard drive, you need to take extra steps. Here are two common ways to help you erase a to-be-disposed disk.

Warning: No matter which method you plan to apply, please back up the important data or files you don't want to lose.

✍ Method 1. Resetting the PC to wipe a hard drive for disposal

Restoring factory settings will remove everything including all of your personal files, apps, and setting. The detailed steps for resetting your PC have slight differences between different versions of the operating system. Here, we'll take Windows 10 as an example.

Step 1. Go to Start Menu and click on Settings.

Step 2. Navigate to Update & Security > Recovery.

Step 3. Under Reset this PC section, select Get Started.


Step 4. Then, you will be asked to choose an option. In our case, we recommend you choose Remove everything. It will take a little longer, but it can ensure your data is deleted permanently.


Step 5. Then you will be asked to begin to reinstall Windows, select the Local reinstall > Change settings link at the Additional settings screen.

Step 6. Turn on the switch for Clean data and click the Confirm button > Next > Reset.

Step 7. When you get into the Windows 10 setup screen, you can turn off the computer.

Note: If you have more one hard drive on your computer, this method won't allow you to choose which one to be wiped.

✍ Method 2. Physically destroy the hard drive

It's admitted that physically destroying a hard drive is the only way to make sure the data on it is no longer recovered. There are several ways you can use to physically destroy a disk, including disintegration, grinding, incineration, melting, pulverization, and shredding.

Among all of these ways, the simplest one is to put the hard drive on hard ground, and then use a hammer to hit the hard drive hard until it's out of shape, severely deformed, or completely smashed.


However, if you are not confident enough to damage it at one time, please don't try it easily. It has the potential risk to hurt yourself and it's not friendly to the environment. Besides, this method is applied when you don't need the hard drive anymore. If you plan to clean it for reuse, you should keep it away from this way.

The best way to wipe hard drive for disposal - using AOMEI Partition Assistant

If you don't want to take so many steps to wipe hard drive for disposal or destroy the hard drive with a hammer, using a powerful disk wiping tool will make a difference. Here we sincerely recommend you try AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, a free and professional disk manager for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP and Vista to completely and permanently wipe a hard drive and make sure no one can restore the data from it.

With AOMEI software, you can use "Wipe Hard Drive" for hard drive disk while "SSD Secure Erase" for solid state disk. Moreover, it provides four different wiping methods to meet different wiping requirements. In only three steps, you can completely wipe your hard drive before disposal.

Now, download the freeware and follow the steps to see how to wipe clean a hard drive for disposal:

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Note: A disk will become blank as soon as it has been wiped and the data will be removed completely, so please be careful and back up important data to the cloud or external at first.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It will show you its main interface contained the hard drive on your computer. If you have more one hard drive, you can select a hard drive that you want to wipe; right-click on it and choose the "Wipe Hard Drive" option.


Step 2. Here you can only choose "Fill sectors with Zero" and click "OK".


Note: There are 3 more wiping methods provided by AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional edition that can erase the data more thoroughly and securely.

  • Fill sectors with random data: It will overwrite your hard drive with random data to all sectors, making it even more difficult to recover important files.

  • DoD 5220.22-M: It overwrites a drive with a set of zeros, ones, and data through 3 passes. It is safer but slower.

  • Gutmann: It performs 35 passes to overwrite a drive, and it erases more thoroughly compared with the other methods.

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


Bonus reading: How to re-partition the hard drive for reuse?

After wiping hard drives clean before disposal, all the space on the hard drive will show as unallocated. If you want to use the disk again, you must re-partition it first. In such a case, AOMEI Partition Assistant will provide you with a convenient way to partition your hard drive quickly. Using "Quick Partition" feature, you don't need to manually create partitions one by one in Disk Management.



If you don't know how to wipe clean a hard drive for disposal, this article has introduced you three ways that may help you. Considering the cost of time and price, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is more recommended to you. It can not only wipe HDD and SSD clean, but also migrate OS to SSD without reinstalling the system, convert MBR to GPT without data loss, clone disk to another one, and more. What's more, Windows Server users can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server Edition.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.