How to Completely Erase a Hard Drive

Alice90 Jan 19, 2014


How to Completely Erase a Hard Drive What do you do if you want to erase the hard drive? Just deleting information is not enough, as you know that removed files still exist somewhere on the computer and can be recovered. You should know that formatting doesn't erase hard drive completely: after that you still have to remove the rest of the files. Formatting removes just the file system, it makes information unseen but not gone, which means data can still be saved with the help of special hardware (or a file recovery program). To erase your hard drive completely, to make sure everything is done for good, you need to use special software. Wiping your hard drive is not that difficult, although it may take a few hours depending on your Operating System and how much data it contains.


Back up

If you don't back up, then you need to save all the information you want to keep. Think carefully and thoroughly pick the data you want to keep, as once you wipe your whole hard drive, you will never be able to recover any information. Notice: sometimes one HDD can include several hard drives that are not always seen. You will have to go to the Disk management tool to view them (they are called "volumes").

Download special program

The next thing you need to do is download and install a free data destruction program. Disk Wipe will do that for you easily. Using data destruction freeware is one of the ways to wipe your hard drive, but it is considered to be the simplest one which allows you to erase everything and start over.

Create a bootable disc or USB

You need to complete all the necessary steps to perform installation of disc erasing freeware. It may involve burning the .iso file, or whatever it takes to run the software or get it one a bootable device. Nero Burning ROM, Nero Kwik Burn or Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 will help you with that.

Boot from CD / USB

Insert your bootable disc or USB in the PC and restart it. Before the windows logo appears, keep tapping F8 to enter BIOS. In BIOS choose a booting option: boot from CD / USB. The program is going to give you simple guidelines that will help you erase all the data from your machine. Remember: Different programs use different ways of wiping information, if you want to know all about it, read more on data wiping methods. After the procedure is completed, consider all your information - all the personal data ''and OS'' - gone, and there is no way to recover it.

What to Avoid

  • Don't wipe your disc if you are not ready to reinstall Windows;
  • Don't worry about your Operating system, it doesn't matter if you have Windows 7, 8, Vista, Linux, UNIX, etc, wiping will work the same way;
  • Don't start a wiping process if you don't have a backup;
  • Don't forget that personal data are not the only thing that needs to be saved on a memory stick; you will need to save all the programs you are willing to install back onto your machine. Don't forget about the Operating System!


As your machine is going to be absolutely empty after the wiping procedure, you will need to install Windows and make a partition, or you can sell the HDD if you want. Erasing data and re-installing OS can be tricky - this is why you need to make sure everything is prepared.

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