How To Completely Wipe A Hard Drive
Got a new PC? Bet you’re excited to explore it and toss the old one out.
Not so fast! If you’ve got private information on your disk drive, you have to secure it. Otherwise, you risk exposing yourself to identity thieves.
Sure, you can delete files. However, deleting only hides your files, it does not completely remove data. Thieves can use data recovery programs to access your deleted files.
Next, you can shred files, removing them from the disk drive completely. However, this will only let you work on an individual file at a time.
Lastly, you can wipe or scrub your HDD or hard disk drive clean, completely removing all files and private information.
So if you are going to let go of an HDD containing your files, the best thing to do is to “wipe” it clean. Allow us to tell you how to do it.
Different Ways to Scrub a Disk Drive
- Reformatting a drive is thought to be a solution to cleaning out personal data. However, formatting does not always clear out all the data there is on a hard drive.
- You can also elect to encrypt your entire hard drive instead of deleting the data completely and do as you please with the encryption key. Although this is usually enough, the data is not removed at all.
- You can also destroy data using software which securely erases or wipes clean a hard drive.
Before You Begin Wiping Data from Hard Drive
Before you wipe your hard disk drive of all the data it contains, back it up first.
You can never tell if you will need your files from your old disk drive. So create a back up in an external storage device, CD or cloud storage. Once you wipe the data, you won’t be able to recover it.
And that’s basically the idea we’re getting at here.
Also, remember that in some cases, there are multiple drives on a single hard drive. Make sure to check the drive volumes in the Disk Management Tool in Windows operated PCs. Or, you can use Windows Explorer or File Explorer to view all disks present on your computer.
If you don’t have backup software, following are a few free backup software programs to use.
- AOMEI Backupper Standard – Easy to use one-click backup of your entire system.
- @MAX SyncUp – Backup files to multiple destinations.
- Personal Backup – Save single files, entire folders, or whole hard drives.
Download and Install Free Data Destruction Programs
The easiest and safest way to secure your private data is to use data destruction software. There are actually quite a few of them that are free to download and install.
These software utilities employ several different methods to wipe data off your hard drive completely. Remember to check out Data Sanitization Methods used by the data destruction program of your choice (usually indicated in their websites) before downloading it.
Here’s a list of popular software programs to wipe data off your hard disk drives:
Active@Kill Disk – Hard Drive Eraser – This free utility complies with the United States Department of Defense standards (DoD 5220.22M) for hard disk data removal.
Download here: Active@Kill Disk
Darik’s Boot and Nuke – This free software is one of the most preferred when it comes to wiping data from HDDs. Download DBAN for free and burn the .iso to a disc. Insert the disk and boot PC to optical drive instead of your HDD.
Download here: DBAN
This software from Heidi Computers can securely erase HDDs and provide several methods according to various standards of doing – so including your custom-defined method.
Download here: Eraser
Although CCleaner is known for removing junk files and optimizing your computer, the software also includes a feature to wipe your hard drive completely.
Download here: CCleaner
After you’ve successfully removed all data in your HDD, you may now part with your disk drive without fear of having your privacy invaded or your identity stolen.