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How to Wipe a Hard Drive

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There are many reasons you’d want to wipe your computer’s hard drive.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive

For example, you may have gotten a new computer and want to get rid of your old one. But first, you need to make sure your data – or that of your business or customers – doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. And the best way to do that is to wipe the hard drive.

Whatever the reason, this article will guide you through the steps needed to erase your hard drive in no time. Keep reading to learn how.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive in Windows 10

Windows 10 users will find the hard drive wiping process extremely simple. In fact, the Recovery tool will allow you to do two things at once: reset your PC if it’s not working correctly and wipe the drive as well.

This option is excellent for those who plan on keeping the computer and only want to boost its speed and performance. It lets you choose specific folders and files you want to keep and the resetting process won’t affect them.

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Click the Windows icon on the left side of the taskbar.

  2. Scroll to find “Settings,” or click the gear icon on the left side of the menu.

  3. In the “Settings” window, select “Update & Security.”

  4. Click on “Recovery” and navigate to the first option: “Reset this PC.”

  5. Click the “Get started” button below to begin the process.

  6. In the pop-up window, click the personal files you want to keep and delete the rest. Or choose the option that removes everything from the computer.

  7. The reset will start, and Windows will be reinstalled. Now you can set up the PC again, or simply turn off the computer.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive in Windows 8

If your computer is running Windows 8, make sure you’ve backed up any data you want to keep. You can use Google Drive or another cloud service for this purpose.

When you’re done with that, proceed to wipe the hard drive.

For Windows 8.1, the process is similar to the one previously described.

  1. Open the “Settings” window and click on “Change PC Settings.”

  2. Select “Update and recovery,” and from there, choose “Recovery.”

  3. You’ll see three available options, so decide if you want to refresh the PC, remove all data and reinstall Windows, or adjust other settings.

  4. If you’re planning on removing all files and programs, choose the “Remove everything” option, and on the next screen, select “Fully clean the drive.”

  5. Your operating system will be entirely wiped and reinstalled after you confirm this action.

For standard Windows 8, you may need to download a special program that destroys data on hard drives. For instance, you may opt for CBL Data Shredder, which erases your hard drive completely.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive Without Deleting Windows

Windows 8 and 10 will not be deleted from your computer if you follow the instructions from the sections above. After you opt for removing your data from the hard drive, the operating system is reinstalled, and you can set it up again.

However, if you’re running Windows 7, you will need the operating system installation disc. If you don’t have it, you need to create a recovery partition to keep specific hard drive files. That’s because this version of Windows doesn’t have the reset tool that more advanced versions do.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive in Windows 7

  1. Launch Control Panel.

  2. Select “Recovery,” and when a new screen opens, click on “Advanced recovery methods.”

  3. If you’ve created a recovery partition, choose the first option. If you have the installation disc, select option number two.

  4. You’ll be asked to back up your data, so click on “Skip.”

  5. Windows will restart, and you can then proceed to reinstall it in the manner you have chosen.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive in Windows XP

To erase all your data from your hard drive entirely and permanently, you’ll need to use a third-party program, as with Windows 8. For example, you may choose EaseUS, which comes with a free trial.

wipe a hard drive

How to Wipe a Hard Drive From BIOS

You can’t wipe the hard drive directly from BIOS. However, you can use a CD, DVD, or USB to boot your computer and then wipe the hard drive from there.

  1. Turn on the computer and press one of the following keys: F1, F2, F8, or Del.

  2. Enter BIOS settings.

  3. Choose “Advanced BIOS Features.” You can use the arrow keys to do so.

  4. Select the boot device (depending on which one you’ve chosen).

  5. Now exit this screen and restart the computer.

  6. Insert the device you’ve chosen for rebooting and let the computer boot from it.

  7. Format the hard drive, and you’re done.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive on a Dead Computer

Some people may not know it, but it’s possible to wipe a hard drive of a dead computer.

The simplest and the fastest way to do so is to use a third-party program, such as Darik’s Boot and Nuke, known as DBN. It’s popular among computer users worldwide and can be done in minutes.

how to wipe hard drive

How to Wipe a Hard Drive on Mac

If you want to wipe your macOS hard drive, here are the instructions to follow.

  1. Restart your computer.

  2. Before you see the Apple logo on the screen, press the CMD (Command) and R keys simultaneously. A menu will appear on your screen. Select “Disk Utility” and then “Continue.”

  3. Choose the drive you’d like to wipe and choose “Erase.”

  4. Now select the number of desired overwrites (a 7-pass is the safest option, but you can choose according to your needs) under “Security options.”

  5. Click “OK” to confirm.

Additional FAQs

Here are some more answers to your most frequently asked questions.

What Is the Best Software to Wipe a Hard Drive?

The two programs we’ve mentioned in this article – CBL Data Shredder and EaseUS – have excellent reputations. They are simple to download and use. The CBL tool is free, while EaseUS offers a free trial only.

Does a Factory Reset Wipe the Hard Drive?

No. A factory data reset keeps the data so that it can be restored. On the other hand, once you perform the hard drive wiping, the files and apps you’ve removed cannot possibly be retrieved.

Does Wiping a Hard Drive Remove Everything?

Depending on your computer’s operating system and what option you choose, wiping a hard drive can indeed remove everything. However, if you want to keep your personal files and only remove apps and restore original settings, you can do that in Windows 8 and 10, for example.

How Can I Wipe My SSD?

When wiping your SSD, it’s quite easy to accidentally delete something you didn’t mean to or to fail to back up your data correctly. That’s why the safest and simplest way to wipe your SSD is to use the manufacturer’s utilities.

For example, if you have a Samsung SSD, you can use the Samsung Magician Software.

Make Sure You Really Want to Do It

There are two things to remember when wiping your hard drive: Make sure you know why you want to do so and remember to back up your data beforehand if necessary.

Windows 8 and 10 users have an easier task since there’s an option to keep specific data. Still, whether you want to delete everything or not, you need to make sure that’s really what you want to do. Once you make that final click, there’s no going back. Consider other options first, such as resetting your computer back to the original factory settings.

What operating system does your computer use? Which of the methods do you think you will choose? Let us know in the comments section below.

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