How to Wipe a Hard Drive Clean Windows 11?

Do you want to wipe a hard drive clean? If you are finding a secure way to erase the data on a drive, congratulations, this post will provide you a step-by-step guide on removing everything from a hard drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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When need to wipe a hard drive clean?

A hard drive is a storage device in a computer for users to store personal data like the operating system, documents, files, etc. But there are still some situations that require you to wipe a hard drive clean Windows 11, such as:

★ When there is no useful data on the disk, you can clean it to get more space to store new data.

★ When you want to remove all your private data from your computer before selling it or throwing it away.

★ When you upgrade to SSD and decide to wipe it as a data device or dispose of it.

★ When your confidential information needs to be protected by wiping it permanently.

How to wipe a hard drive clean Windows 11?

When it comes to wiping all the data on a hard drive, you are likely to use Disk Management to format it. However, formatting hard drive can't remove data from the disk completely, it just hides the data and makes the space rewritable. It's easy to restore the data back by using professional data recovery software.

Therefore, to permanently erase all the data on a hard drive securely, we suggest you employ third-party software like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It's a user-friendly and easy-to-use partition manager, allowing you to overwrite a hard drive with binary 0's, so that your personal data won't be recovered any longer.

Tip: If you fear you will lose some important files or folders during wiping, you can back it up by cloning the disk in advance.

Read the following content to learn how to wipe a hard drive clean Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, XP, and Vista:

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Step 1. Free download, install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard on your computer. Right-click the drive you want to wipe and select "Wipe Disk".


Step 2. Choose "Fill sectors with Zero" to wipe your hard drive, which is safe and quick. Then click "Next" to continue.


★Notes: Another three disk wiping methods could be chosen only when you upgrade to the Professional edition.
Fill sectors with random data: This method will rewrite all the sectors on the target drive with random data, making it harder for recovery software to find any meaningful data. It's safer than "zero-filling".
DoD 5220,22-M: DoD standard is first published in the Department of Defense of the U.S. It is often adopted by companies and organizations, and it's much more securer than "zero-filling" and "random data filling" and faster than the Guttman.
Gutmann: It is a software-based data sanitization to overwrite existing information on a hard drive. It is the safest way here, but it also takes the longest time.

Step 3. Click "Apply" to start executing the pending operation.  Then, you'll finish the tutorial on how to wipe a hard drive clean Windows 11, 10, 8, 7.


Since the differences between HDD and SSD, we can't wipe them in the same way. In order to erase SSD completely and safely, AOMEI Partition Assistant provides "SSD Secure Erase" for users to get it done.


Delete vs. Shred vs. Wipe vs. Erase: What's the difference?

Apart from wiping a hard drive, if you don't want some files or drives on your computer, there are other options for you to choose: delete a file or partition, shred a file or folder, or erase a partition or hard drive. Can you distinguish them? If you are still confused about their differences, don't worry, the following content will explain them one by one to clear out your confusion.

▶ Part 1. Delete: You can recover it if necessary

Delete something is the most commonly used way in our daily work. When you delete a partition or a file, it still exists there, it's just hidden from the computer and cannot be accessed. For example, when you drag something to the Recycle Bin, you can see the files on the original place as long as you recover it. That is to say, the deleted files or partitions can be easily restored by some recovery software before they have been overwritten by new data.

In summary, when you delete a file, you don't erase it, you just make it hard to find.

▶ Part 2. Shred: A single file will be erased

If there is only a single file or a small portion of folders on a hard drive you don't want, or there are some corrupted folders you are unable to delete, shred should be the best choice. Like wiping, shredding files involves creating a unique pattern of 1's and 0's that makes the data unreadable to anyone who is trying to recover it with current technology. But unlike wiping the entire hard drive data together, shredding allows you to delete a piece of data (usually a specific file or folder), and only delete what you select forever.

In a nutshell, when you shred files, you completely and permanently erase them.

▶ Part 3. Wipe/Erase: Everything is gone and never come back

From what we have discussed above, wiping or erasing data from a hard drive thoroughly removes all traces of data so that they are irrecoverable. Unlike deleting a file or partition, it's the only way of making sure that everything including confidential information, unwanted data, or any other type of important files is completely destroyed from your hard drive. And it's much safer than physically destroying the disk.

All in all, when you wipe a hard drive, everything is erased completely and permanently.


This is all about how to wipe a hard drive clean Windows 11, and you can easily make it with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It's more than a disk wiper in Windows, but is also a Windows 11 requirements check tool. Moreover, you can use it to repartition hard drive, migrate OS to SSD without losing data, merge partitions, etc.

In addition, we discussed the differences between wipe, erase, shred and delete, hope you have known them better so that you can choose the most favorable one next time.

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.