How Do You Wipe a Hard Drive And Start Over?

How do you wipe out a hard drive and start over? You can learn how to clean a hard drive for reuse and how to reuse an SSD securely in this article.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can I wipe out a hard drive and start over?

A hard drive is a standard storage solution for computers and multiple electronic devices. It can store terabytes of data, making it a convenient method to back up your files, whether internal or external. However, when your hard drive is affected by viruses and malware and cannot be repaired, or too many files on the hard drive are obsolete and unimportant, you can wipe out a hard drive and start over.

2 ways of cleaning a hard drive for reuse

So, how can you reuse a hard drive? In this section, we'll show you two programs to wipe a hard drive and start over. The first is Disk Management, a built-in Windows utility, and the second is a third-party application that allows users to fully erase a hard drive using four wiping methods.

Opt. 1. Use Disk Management to clean hard drive

Step 1. Right-click "My Computer" and click "Manage" to launch the Computer Management applet. And click "Disk Management" on the left pane.

Step 2. Your existing hard drives will be listed below. Then right-click on the hard drive you want to wipe and click “Format”.

Disk Management format hard drive

Step 3. In the pop-up windows, if you want to do a deep wipe, please cancel the box “Perform a quick format” select the file system and click “OK”.

DIsk Management format file system

After the formatting, you can reuse your hard drive.

Opt. 2. Wipe a hard drive for reuse via a professional disk cleaner

The second tool is a professional disk wiper—AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It is a Windows disk and partition management utility supporting Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP systems. If you don’t know how to completely wipe a hard drive for reuse, the “Wipe Hard Drive” feature of this tool is the best answer.

Note: if you can’t even boot your PC, you can create a repair USB to boot into this software, and then you can wipe the disk.
Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Download and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, and right-click on the hard drive you want to wipe, and choose “Wipe hard drive”. If you’re cleaning an external hard drive for reuse, please make sure the connection is steady. 

Wipe hard drive

Step 2. There are 4 wiping methods, please read the note and select a suitable one, and click “OK”.

Select wiping method

• Fill sector with Zero: This way is safe and fast via overwriting a hard drive with zero to prevent most recovery programs and software to lift any data.
Fill sectors with random data: It writes random data to the hard drive to wipe a hard drive. It is safer than the first option but takes a little more time.
DoD 5220.22-M: It is a software-based data sanitization method, which overwrites a drive with 3 passes: zeros, ones, and random data. It is a very safe way and takes more time to finish.
Gutmann: It performs 35 passes to wipe a hard drive. It is the safest way to prevent nearly all recovery methods, and programs from restoring any data. But it overwrites a drive so frequently that it can cause wear on the drive, and it takes a long time.

Step 3. And you can view preview the operation on the main interface, and click “Apply” to execute the task.


After the wipe, your hard drive will show as unallocated space. You can format and reuse it to store data or create new partitions.

Further knowledge: How to wipe SSD for reuse?

SSD is increasingly more common than HDD as a contemporary storage component due to its quicker speed, durability, and all-around performance. Unlike HDDs, which are made up of several physical components, SSDs store data using flash memory chips. As a result, it cannot be erased in the same manner that a hard drive can.

To safeguard the SSD's longevity, use a tool with a secure erase feature when cleaning it. This task can also be assisted by AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Tip: You need to install this tool on a Windows 7 PC and connect your SSD to this Windows 7 PC.

Step 1. Launch this tool, click on the SSD and choose "Wipe"> “SSD Secure Erase” to start the program.

SSD secure erase

Step 3. Select the SSD that you want to securely erase and click "Next".

Choose a SSD

Step 4. Double-check the SSD identification information in case of erasing the wrong SSD because the data is unrecoverable after the Erase. Now, you will see the SSD is in a frozen state. To continue, you need to perform a hot-swap.

SSD identification info

To perform Hot Swap:
1. Open your computer case. If it is a laptop, open the computer's rear cover or drive shell. Locate the SSD that needs to be securely erased.
2. Unplug the power cable from the SSD. Disconnect the SATA data cable from the SSD.
3. Then reconnect the SATA cable to the SATA port on the SSD.
4. Finally, plug the power cable back into the SSD's power connector to complete the hot-swap.

Step 5. Click "Next" to start the SSD Secure Erase.

Wait erasing

Then your SSD will be erased securely.


If you want to wipe out a hard drive and start over, hope this post will help you a lot. AOMEI Partition Assistant is a versatile tool that can also extend partition, and convert to GPT/MBR without deleting data, cloning disk, and so on. And it has the Server edition for Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2) users.

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.