4 Ways to Wipe a Hard Drive

By Puja Chatterjee on June 29, 2023

You will need to wipe a hard drive when you upgrade to a Solid-State Drive or want to get rid of a damaged hard drive. There are also several other reasons behind it.

The process is simple and can be completed in a few easy steps, as explained in this article. Read on.


Why Do You Need to Wipe Hard Drive?

You will need to wipe a hard drive when you want to sell off or give away your used drive to anyone. This will ensure that no personal or any data gets into the hands of the person.

You may also need to clean your used hard drive when you want to donate it or hand it over to a charity so that it appears like it is brand new.

With relation to the above aspect, here are some other specific but allied reasons to wipe clean the hard drive:

Most importantly, if you clean your hard drive and then use it yourself, it will enhance the performance of the processor and your PC on the whole.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive?

How to Wipe a Hard Drive

The most common and perhaps the easiest way to wipe a hard drive clean and delete all data and information from it is to run a few specific commands on the Command Prompt.

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Apart from that, there are also a few other easy ways to wipe data from the hard drive of your computer. These are:

Here is what you will need to do to go ahead with each of these methods.

Method 1: From the Command Prompt

You can run the ‘clean all’ command in the Command Prompt to wipe all data stored in a hard drive.


Typing the final command "clean all"

It will take some time. Wait for the process to complete. When it is done, your disk will be wiped clean.

Method 2: Perform a Secure Wipe

If you want you can also perform a secure wipe on your hard drive by using the Command Prompt to wipe it clean.

For example, assume that you want to clean drive F.


(This will format the F drive and P3 will instruct the computer to pass random data over the hard drive three times.)

Typing format F: /p:3

The secure wiping process will be initiated. It will take a long time to complete.

When it is complete, you will be asked once again to give a volume name within the specified number of characters. If you do not wish to give any name, simply press Enter on your keyboard.

In this case it is given the same label – Untitled.

Performing a Secure Wipe

When you hit the Enter key, the computer will initiate creating the file system structures. When it is completed successfully, you can close the Command Prompt.

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Method 3: From the Windows Settings

Windows offer some easy options to wipe a hard drive clean with its inbuilt feature, Settings. You can use it for this purpose.


Clicking on Get started under Reset this PC

Choosing Remove everything

Choosing Local reinstall

Clicking on the Next button in the Additional settings

Ready to reset this PC

This will take some time and when it is complete the PC will restart.

Note: Depending on Windows version and settings, you may not need to follow each and every step mentioned above.

Method 4: Using the Disk Management Tool

You may use the Disk Management tool in Windows to clean a hard drive that is not formatted for it.

However, you will need to use an external hard drive for it and also need to log in as an administrator first and then go ahead with the process.


Selecting Disk Management

Formatting drive

You can choose Perform a quick format by checking the small square box next to it. Otherwise, you may leave it unchecked if you want a longer and more secure formatting of your hard drive.

Choosing Perform a quick format

Clicking on the OK button

Once the formatting of the hard drive starts, it will show Formatting under the Status column. When it is complete, it will show Healthy under the Status column and 100% under the % Free column.

However, sometimes, you may not be allowed to format and wide your hard drive clean. In such situations, you will need to initialize the hard drive first in the following way:

Selecting MBR

Selecting New Simple Volume

Clicking on the Next button on the New Simple Volume Wizard window

Assign the following drive letter section

Clicking on the Finish button on the New Simple Volume Wizard window

Clicking on the Format disk button

This will complete the formatting process after initializing the hard drive and it will now show in the File Explorer.


Erasing data from a hard drive and wiping it clean before handing it over to the buyer or to a charity is a good, safe, and sure way to protect your data.

And, as it is shown in this article, it is quite a simple process as well.