How to Permanently Wipe Hard Drive?

If you delete all partitions on a hard drive, it doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. You need to permanently wipe hard drive to make the deleted partitions irrecoverable. Read this post, you will get a professional hard drive wiper to help you erase your disk easily and safely.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can you permanently wipe a hard drive?

"I'm going to be selling my desktop soon and wanting to wipe hard drive completely clean so that no information or data can be retained. Never done this before, so is anyone willing to give me a simple guide? Thanks."

When you search on the Internet about what need to do before selling your computer, it's no doubt that the first thing required is to permanently wipe hard drive. You may have tried formatting partition or deleting all the files on it to erase the data. However, the fact is that simply deleting or formatting hard drive does not completely clear data. This is because of the differences between delete, format and wipe:

Delete won't clean up hard drive completely. When you delete some files or partitions, you may think you will lose them forever, however, you just delete its file system, which means it's hard for Windows to find them. If you use a hard drive recovery tool, you can easily get them back.

Format won't erase the data permanently either. It just makes the drive look empty so it’s hidden from the system. But the same as deleted partition, the formatted drive is also restored easily with the help of partition recovery software.

Wipe is a reliable way to erase everything forever. When you wipe a disk for reuse, it will overwrite the file system, partition table, and every sector of the hard drive, so it's impossible to retrieve the data after wiping.

As mentioned above, the answer to "can you permanently wipe a hard drive" depends on the method you apply.

When do you need to permanently wipe hard drive?

In face of various situations, you may need to clear hard drive completely when you plan to:

✎ Sell or throw out your computer. In such a case, you'd better erase everything on the hard drive to prevent anyone from recovering the deleted data.

✎ Get rid of the damaged drives. If you think the damaged drives are useless, don't give it away easily. Some bad people may recover the data from the disk, leading to your personal information being theft for illegal use.

✎ Free up disk space. Wiping hard drive is a more effective way to free up disk space than deleting folders on it one by one.

✎ Wipe it as data drive. When you upgrade your disk from HDD to a larger one or SSD, it's good to wipe the previous drive to store data only.

✎ Remove viruses or malware. If your hard drive is infected by viruses and you don't know how to solve it, trying to clean up disks thoroughly may make a difference.

How to wipe a hard drive permanently?

If you are in a similar situation described above, for the sake of your data security, it's time for you to consider how to permanently wipe a hard drive. Instead of physically damaging the disk using a hammer, the content below will show you a safe and practical tutorial on erasing the hard drive completely. But before that, there are two things you must make out:

Back up anything you need such as folders, photos, etc. Because when the hard drive wipe is completed, there is no way to get them back.
You need to figure out whether your computer is running on a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) because they have different working structures and principles so they can't be wiped in the same way.

When you resort to Windows built-in features, there are two options in front of you: DiskPart and Disk Management. The former one is known for its difficulty of the command line while the latter only provides "Format volume" feature. To this end, switching to a third-party disk wiper may release the troubles a lot.

Here I highly recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a versatile disk management tool designed for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP and Vista users, which allows you to wipe data disk as well as system disk in a secure way. Besides, it's featured with various functions: you could employ "Wipe Hard Drive" for HDD and "SSD Secure Erase" for SSD so you don't need to worry about doing harm to your disk health.

Now, you may want to have a try, just download the demo version and follow the steps to permanently wipe hard drive (HDD as an example).

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

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


Step 2. Here you can choose a wiping method as you like, and click "OK".

Fill sector with Zero: It will overwrite a hard drive with zero. It is safe and fast and prevents most recovery programs and software to retrieve any data.
Fill sectors with random data: It writes random data to the hard drive. It is safer than the first one, but takes more time correspondingly.
DoD 5220.22-MIt is a software-based data sanitization method, which overwrites a drive with 3 passes: zeros, ones, and random data. It is very safe than the former two but takes more time to finish.
Gutmann: It overwrites a hard drive with 35 passes. It is the safest way to prevent nearly all recovery methods, and programs from restoring any data but it takes the longest time.


Step 3. You can preview the operation on the main interface, and click "Apply" > "Proceed" to execute the operation to completely wipe hard drive.



From this passage, you have learned the necessity of cleaning up the disk and a secure way to permanently wipe hard drive with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. The data erased by the "Wipe Hard Drive" feature will be no longer recovered, which can perfectly prevent your data from being stolen.

Besides, AOMEI Partition Assistant is also a Windows 11 requirements check  tool that can test whether your computer is compatible to use Win 11 system. Other features like extending C drive, migrating OS to SSD, moving folders to a different drive, etc can help you manage your computer better.

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.