“I am looking for a utility to write zeros to hard drives to erase all my private information before selling or donating to others. I know that Manufacturers provide this in their retail box but I am looking for a utility that will work with any hard drives. So, any good zero fill hard drive utility recommended? Thanks!”
What is zero filling hard drive?
Writing zero to hard drive is one of the popular data sanitization methods nowadays. This method is also known as the Single Overwrite method and called zero-fill erase or zero-fill.
It is a process of replacing existing data on hard drive with zeros, so as to prevent most hardware-based and all software-based recovery methods from extracting information from the drive. Therefore, when it comes to completely erasing sensitive files from hard drive, writing zero to hard drive is much more reliable than formatting hard drive, which just makes data invisible to the operating system and can be easily restored by special recovery tools.
Two free zero fill hard drive utilities you can try
Here, we would like to share you with two free yet powerful zero fill hard drive tools, both of which are proven to be able to write zeros to hard drive in Windows 10/8/7.
Option 1. Zero fill hard drive via Command Prompt
Actually, Windows itself comes with a free zero fill hard drive utility – Command Prompt. It adopts a special format command to achieve the purpose of writing zeros to the hard disk.
Step 1. Click “Start” button, input “cmd” in the “Search” box, right click the pop-out Command Prompt icon and select “Run as administrator”.
Step 2. At the prompt window, type “format f: /fs:NTFS /p:1” command, and hit on “Enter” to format the f drive with the NTFS file system and write zeros to every sector of the drive for a single pass. For a twice pass, you can input “p:2” instead.
Warning: You cannot undo a format! So ensure that you choose the right hard drive and back up any required files! If you format the primary drive by mistake, the operating system will be deleted and your computer will not work again until you reinstall it.
Step 3. Type “y” and press “Enter” to confirm erase data.
Step 4. Wait for the process to be completed. After that, you'll be prompted to enter a Volume label. Type a name for the drive if necessary, or then press "Enter" to skip it.
Step 5. Wait while “Creating file system structures” appears on the screen.
Step 6. Then repeat the above steps to format every partition on the hard disk.
After writing zeros to each partition, you can type “exit” and press “Enter” to close Command Prompt.
Option 2. Write zero to hard drive via freeware
If you are not familiar with Command Prompt tool, you can try the free partition manager named AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It comes with a user-friendly interface, easy to operate for every user. To write zero to hard drive in Windows 10/8/7, free download this zero fill hard drive software and follow the steps:
Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard on Windows computer. Right click the hard drive you wish to write zeros to, and choose “Wipe Hard Drive”.
Step 2. In this window, choose “Fill sectors with Zero” method to wipe data from the chosen disk, and click “OK”.
Step 3. Back to the main interface, click “Apply" to commit the pending operation.
When the process is finished, the existing data on the disk has been erased successfully. Besides, you can also use it to wipe a specific partition via filling sectors with zeros.
Note: If you want to write random characters over the existing information on the hard drive for a much powerful data sanitization result, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, which provides another three more advanced data wiping methods: “Fill sectors with random data” “DoD 5220.22-M” and “Gutmann”(as you see in step 2).
Now, you can choose a proper zero fill hard drive utility from the two options above. Compared with running complicated commands, AOMEI Partition Assistant is much easier to operate. In addition, it comes with many other great functions such as transferring OS to SSD/HDD, merging partitions, converting disk between MBR and GPT without deleting partition, shredding stubborn files, etc. To write zeros to hard drive and enjoy other features in Windows Server computer, please try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.