By Dylan / Last Updated April 1, 2020

Necessary to zero-fill hard drive via bootable USB

Can I wipe a hard drive without boot into the system?

I got a hard drive that has been using for a long time. But now, I can’t boot my computer from it. So I want to zero-fill the hard drive before upgrading to a new one. Then I’m wondering if there is a way to wipe hard drive without booting into Windows. Thanks a lot."

The answer is “yes”. And many users may have already known low-level formatting can’t delete data on a hard drive completely and zero filling a hard drive is an efficient method to wipe the data completely and permanently. But how can you do that when you are not allowed to boot into Windows for some reasons?

Actually, you can zero-fill your hard drive from a bootable USB flash drive. It sounds incredible and complicated, but you can turn to the disk wiping freeware called AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, which can help you to create a bootable USB drive to boot your PC and zero-fill your HDD/SSD with ease. And it is compatible with most Windows systems, including Windows 10/8/7, Windows XP and Vista.

The following content will give you a detailed demonstration of how to zero-fill hard drive from bootable USB stick.

1. Create a bootable USB

First of all, you need a USB stick that doesn’t have any important data, because it will be formatted after being a bootable drive. Or you can back up files on the USB beforehand.

Step 1. Insert USB into another working Windows computer, free download and open AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click “Make Bootable Media” on the left pane. And click “Next”.

Step 2. Here choose “USB Boot Device” as bootable media. And click “Proceed”.

Choose Usb Drive

    ✍Note:

  • Add drivers: It permits you to manually add additional drivers into the bootable media.

  • Burn to CD/DVD: If you have a CD or DVD, you can also choose "Burn to CD/DVD" to make bootable CD.

  • Export ISO File: Using this method, you can make bootable ISO file.

Step 3. Then you will be warned that your USB stick will be formatted. Ensure you have anything valuable backed up. Then click “Yes”.

Formatting Warning

Step 4. When the operation is finished successfully, then click “Finish”.

Finish

Now, the AOMEI Partition Assistant is installed in the bootable USB, and you can zero-fill hard drive with it.

2. Boot from the bootable USB

Now, insert the bootable USB into computer, and set the USB as the boot drive.

1. Turn on the computer, when first screen shows up, press and hold the F1, F2, F3 or Esc to enter BIOS. The key to enter BIOS depends on system. If you don’t know it, consult the computer manually.

2. When you enter the BIOS, you can use arrow keys to select the bootable USB as boot drive, and press Enter to boot from it. Refer to the following image:

3. Start zero filling hard drive from bootable USB

Now, follow the steps below to wipe your hard drive by zero-filling from the bootable USB.

Step 1. When your computer starts up, you will see the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant. Then right-click the system disk, and select “Wipe Hard Drive”.

Wipe Hard Drive System

Step 2. In the window, select “Fill sectors with zero”, and every sector on your hard drive will be overwritten with zeros. Then click “OK”.

Fill Sectors With Zero System

Note: You can also upgrade to Professional edition to choose the other 3 methods, which will write complex patterns to your hard drive with more passes so they are safer than writing zero to a hard drive.

Step 3. In the pop-up window, click “Yes” to ensure the operation.

Confirm Delete System

Step 4. Click “Apply” to wipe hard drive from USB stick.

Apply Delete System

Conclusion

This is about how to zero-fill hard drive with bootable USB. As you can see, when your computer can’t boot into Windows, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant to create a bootable USB, and boot your computer from it to wipe your HDD/SSD.

Moreover, if you upgrade to professional edition, you can unlock more great and practical functions, such as Windows to go, migrate OS from MBR disk to GPT or from GPT to MBR, SSD secure erase.