What to Do with Old Hard Drives?

What to do with old hard drives after you upgrade your hard disk? In this post, we’ll show you how to do a secure hard drive disposal and how to reuse old hard drive.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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What to do with old hard drives after hard disk upgrading?

Upgrading hardware is a big thing for PC upgrade, and one of the first things you might consider upgrading is your hard disk. The seemingly infinite storage space a few years ago has already been filled with various files and software. Then, more and more users use SSD to replace old hard drives on their computers. So, what to do with old hard drives?

If you’re wondering about this problem, well, in this post, we offer you some ideas to securely deal with your old hard drives.

Option 1. Secure hard drive disposal

For users who want to dispose of old hard drives or sell old hard drives, the first operation is to completely wipe all data on the disk. Wiping a hard disk means clearing data and overwriting useless data on the disk to prevent data recovery. Thus, you can’t just delete or format your old hard drives, these two operations can’t protect your privacy.

We suggest you use AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a free disk and partition management tool for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP operating systems. The “Wipe Hard Drive” feature offers you 4 ways to overwrite the hard drive.

"Fill sectors with zeros" can fill all sectors with zeros. It is normal practice to erase a personal hard disk. It is both safe and quick.
"Fill sections with random data" can overwrite the hard disk with random data. It is safer than the previous one.
"DoD 5220.22-M" is more secure than "zero-filling" and "random data filling" and it is often used by businesses and organizations.
“Gutmann” overwrites a hard disk 35 times. It is the safest way here, also takes the longest time.
Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Download and run this tool. 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".

Choose wiping method

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


Now your hard drive is safe to be sold to other users.

For users who want to abandon old hard drives, the best way is to physically destroy your old hard drive.

Step 1. Remove the hard drive from your computer. You need to open your PC case or laptop bottom to remove your hard drive.

Step 2. Open the hard drive box and destroy the spare parts. And scrape the surface of each plate with a flathead screwdriver.

HDD disposal

Option 2. Reuse old hard drive on PC

It is a little waste to set those old hard drives aside if they are still well. If you’re thinking about reusing your hard drive on the computer to set a combo with SSD, then you don’t need to wipe it. Deleting all partitions or directly formatting it is totally enough. The problem is if your old hard drive is a system disk, Windows will not allow you to clean data. So, if your new disk is ready to boot as your new system disk, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant to clean data on your system hard drive.

You can choose “Delete Partitions” and “Format Partitions”. Here we’ll show you how to delete all partitions, after the deleting, if you need, you can also go to the “Format Partition” feature to change the file system.

Step 1. Select your old hard drive and choose “Delete all partitions”.

Delete all partitions on system disk

Step 2. Choose the deleting method.

Methods to delete partitions

Step 3. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to confirm the operation.


Now your old hard drive can be used as a data disk for your computer.

Option 3. Turn old hard drive into an external hard drive

Another way to use your old hard drive on your computer is to turn it into a portable disk.

a functioning HDD in your hands. Put it back to use by inserting it into an external hard drive enclosure to create a DIY external hard drive.

You may use it with or without a power adaptor, depending on the drive and the enclosure. As a matter of thumb, power adapters are handy for desktop 3.5-inch hard drives, whereas adapters aren't normally needed for laptop 2.5-inch drives.

There are several enclosures and cases available on Amazon, including the basic Amazon Basics 3.5-inch SATA HDD Hard Drive Enclosure. Alternatively, you may check at a docking station for many hard disks, which are also available on Amazon.

Option 4. Build a NAS box with old hard drives

By converting your freshly portable drive into a NAS server, your files will be wirelessly available to any machine on your network.

A router and NAS adapter are required to get started. You most certainly already have the first one, but you may need to purchase the adaptor. The setup process is pretty easy with those three pieces of equipment in hand.

Insert the NAS adapter and attach the hard disk to its USB port and connect the adapter to the router via an Ethernet. The remainder of the procedure is carried out on your computer, and then you connect your setup to the router. It should recognize the IP address and let you set up login and password credentials and build user profiles.

Any data stored on the old hard drive will be available via a shared network drive to any computer on your network, providing the user has the required login credentials. You'll never have to tote the drive from room to room again.

To sum up

If you don’t know what to do with old hard drives, hope this post can help you deal with your old hard drive.

AOMEI Partition Assistant can help you wipe and reuse your hard drive if you need, and it also has many other useful features like MBR/GPT data-safe conversion, cloning disk and OS migration to quickly change disk, PC Cleaner, app/folder mover, etc. What’s more, it has the Server Edition for Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2)/2003 users to easily and securely manage their devices.

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.