How To Completely Wipe a Hard Drive?

Do you need some space in your PC and want to remove unwanted data? Or do you wish to sell your device but first want to erase the data?

Maybe you want to dispose of your hard drive? If so, you must also be wondering how to completely wipe a hard drive.

If you’re curious about it then you came to the right place because today we’ll discuss a few tips and methods to wipe a hard drive.

An HDD is an important component of a computer. It’s the primary storage bank and stores everything from software to files.

While it can store a huge number of items, it can cause issues like lagging when it’s full. So, it’s necessary to always keep some space to optimize your PC’s performance. 

So, without further ado, let’s find out how to wipe a hard drive and boost your computer’s performance. Hang around and you’ll surely have some great ideas by the end of this write-up.

Does Factory Reset Wipe HDD?

Factory reset is a step that puts your device in its original state. It means that your device goes back to the position before it left the factory.

The process removes any user data. If you simply delete the files, it’ll remove any files remaining in the hard drive so resetting is a way to wipe off the drive.

Does Secure Erase Delete Everything? 

Secure Erase is a process when given the command, removes all data from your device.

It overwrites every portion of the hard drive including those not in use and erases the data. Once secure erase is executed, no data can be recovered from a hard drive.

How to Wipe A Hard Drive Completely – 5 Ways

Everyone stores various types of files on their and similar devices.

But when it’s time to sell or discard it, it’s essential to remove any file that you saved or your data may fall into the wrong hands.

The good news is that you can wipe your hard drive entirely. 

Now, there are many ways to wipe a hard drive. But not all are simple and great and it is impossible to mention all here.

In this section, we’ll discuss the five popular and easy methods to completely wipe a hard drive for both Windows and macOS for how to completely wipe a hard drive including os.

However, make sure to back up your data before proceeding to an external hard drive or cloud storage. The following are the five ways to wipe your hard drive.

how to wipe a hard drive completely

Wipe Hard Drive Using Built-in Utility From The Operating System

(a). Wipe Hard Drive on a Windows Based System

reset pc

Here are the simple steps to wipe a hard drive from Windows 11

  1. Click on Windows Key
  2. Type “Settings” and open it.
  3. Press the “Update & Security”
  4. Press on “Recovery” then on “Reset PC”.
  5. Select the “Remove Everything” option if you want to wipe off everything including your data.
  6. Select “Local reinstall” or “Cloud download”.
  7. Under “Additional Settings”, press on “Change Settings”.
  8. Allow “Clean Data” and press on Confirm.
  9. Click “Next” and then on Reset.

(b). Wipe Hard Drive on MacOS (Intel)

If you own an Apple computer with Intel Processor and want to wipe the hard drive, follow these steps.

  1. Switch off your Mac
  2. Click the power button and right away hold “Command” and “R” until the Apple icon comes up.
  3. Choose “Disk Utility” from the menu and press “Continue
  4. Choose “Macintosh HD”.
  5. Press “Erase.”
  6. It’ll prompt you to enter a name and select a format. Enter “Macintosh HD” and choose APFS format.
  7. Press “Erase volume group.” If it doesn’t display that or any option, select “Erase” and click on it.

(c). Wipe MacOS (With Apple Silicon or Apple T2 Security Chip)

  1. Select “System Preferences” from the Apple menu in the corner of your screen.
  2. Choose “Erase All Content and Settings” under System Preferences.

An Erase Assistant will open and prompt instructions. You just have to follow all the instructions one by one and you’ll be able to erase everything then reset to factory settings.

Use Third Party Tools To Wipe Hard Drive

You can also use third-party software to wipe your hard drive. You’ll find many tools so there are plenty of choices. The following are some of the best and most popular software currently available.


Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) is an excellent software for wiping hard drives but it’s not compatible with SSD. It’s compatible with multiple OS but it erases the entire drive.


Active KillDisk is another great free data destruction tool. However, it doesn’t have all the features of the paid version called KillDisk Pro.

CBL Data Shredder

There are two ways to use CBL Data Shredder; you can use it from within Windows to wipe selected files or boot from it with a USB stick or disc to erase the whole drive.


ccleaner wipe

It’s typically a system cleaner but can also wipe hard drives and free disk space. CCleaner is available in free and paid versions.

Wipe The Hard Drive Using The Manufacturer’s Software

Another way to erase your hard drive is by using the manufacturer’s software.

You can check it out at the official website and follow the instructions to use the software and wipe the hard drive.

You can check for available disk utilities in your HDD manufacturer’s website.

Such tools come with several features to manage your HDD as well as securely erasing all data. Here is a list of popular hard disk utilities from manufacturers

  1. WD Drive Utilities from Western Digital
  2. DiskWizard from Seagate Technology

Wipe The Hard Drive Using CMD

  1. You can also wipe your hard drive with this method.
  2. Click the “Windows” icon and the “S” key at the same time to prompt a search. 
  3. Enter “cmd” in the box.
  4. Right-click and select “Run as administrator”. 
  5. a CMD window will open with a dark background. Type “diskpart” and click Enter.
  6. You have to enter some commands; “list disk” will show up connected disk drives on the system, “Select disk X” (type the number of the targeted disk in “X” s spot) will select a particular disk and “Clean all” will clean all contents of the targeted disk.
  7. Close the CMD window as soon as the reset process is completed.

Wipe The Hard Drive Physically

data recovery software photorecovery hdd computer windows10 1599936

If you want to dispose of your hard drive in the trash bin, you can also wipe it physically.

This step is only suitable if you don’t have any intention of ever using the HDD again.

You can melt, smash, grind or shred your hard drive in a safe environment and make sure that you don’t harm yourself. You can also follow the steps below to destroy the HDD entirely.

  1. Take out the HDD from your device with a screwdriver.
  2. Put a powerful magnet on one portion of the drive.
  3. Wait five minutes and move the magnet all over the drive.
  4. Turn the drive upside down and repeat the process from step 2.
  5. Finally, hammer a few nails on the drive to be sure that it’s utterly destroyed.

How To Wipe a Hard Drive: Paid Vs Free 

While free and paid data destruction tools have some similar features, the latter have more. The table is an example of free vs paid versions.

AspectFree ToolsPaid Tools
CostFree (some like Active Kill Disk cost a little but not more than paid version)Costs vary by product, features and duration
FeaturesFewAll those available in free plus more
User InterfaceEasyEasy

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Possible To Completely Wipe a Hard Drive?

Yes, it’s possible to wipe a hard drive entirely using several methods.

How Do You Completely Wipe a Hard Drive So no Data Can Be Recovered?

As you can see above, you can wipe your hard drive by securely erasing all data so that nothing is recoverable.

How Do I Permanently Delete Data From My Hard Drive?

If you use one of the third-party software mentioned above to wipe your hard drive, it’ll delete all the data permanently.
Make sure to follow operating instructions from the software developer. 

How Do I Permanently Clean My Hard Drive?

Ans: Any of the above techniques can clean your hard drive permanently.

Final Thoughts

Wiping your hard drive can create space as well as get rid of unwanted files.

It’s also essential to wipe your HD before selling or disposing of your device so that nobody gets their hands on your files.

So, you can use any of the above methods for the task.