How to Wipe Data on a Laptop Hard Drive

How to Wipe a Laptop Hard Drive

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Sep 18, 2020 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions


You may use a laptop for several years, but eventually, it’s time will be done, and it will need to be upgraded. Or you may even choose to upgrade the hard disk to a higher capacity or a faster SSD to get the most of your existing laptop. You may decide to sell your old hard disk or send it for recycling. Among the many files that may be contained on old hard drives include account login tokens, browsing history, private photos, and videos, sensitive documents about employer and personal banking and credit card information. We shall discuss how data can be leaked in such a way, and how to wipe laptop hard drive or any hard drive clean of any sensitive data.

What should you do before wipe a laptop hard drive?

Remember that by following the techniques and methods mentioned in this article, you are going the extra step to ensure that any data on the hard drive is destroyed and cannot be recovered by anyone, and that includes you! Make a backup of any data that you might need and keep it in a secure place. Also make sure to transfer all the software licenses, which may require some calls to customer care of the corresponding software vendor in some cases.

Part 1: How to securely wipe laptop hard drive with Eraser

One of the methods to securely wipe the laptop hard drive that is easily available to the average Joe is using an erasure software. Stellar BitRaser for a file is one such software program offering comprehensive erasure options. It promises to erase the data beyond the point where it is recoverable by any means. It is designed to provide a quick and easy way to wipe your laptop hard disk. It can also provide a certificate of the task of erasing the files, which then you may save for record-keeping for your organization. It offers 17 different standard and advanced erasing algorithms, which is a nice option for advanced users, while novice users can use it simply by just a few clicks.

    1. Free download Stellar BitRaser for the file on your Windows computer and launch it.
    2. Click the "Erase Now" section and select the drive you want to wipe.

wipe laptop hard drive

  1. Click the button "Erase Now" to process.
  2. After completely erased you can reboot the system.

Tip: If you need to have additional peace of mind that your data is completely overwritten, you can run this process again. It will run the erasure algorithm again. A couple of passes of overwriting are enough to ensure beyond a doubt that your data is completely erased beyond the point of recovery.

Part 2: How to wipe a laptop hard drive without software

If for some reason you are unable to install additional software, you can still use the built-in functionality in Windows to wipe the hard drive. The process varies slightly for wiping the primary boot disk.

Wiping the secondary (non-boot) disk

  1. Open Windows Explorer by pressing Windows + E or by double-clicking This PC on the desktop or start menu. Then navigate the various drives and make sure that that is the absolutely the location that you need to wipe. Anything and everything there will be wiped.
  2. Open the Command Prompt from the Start menu (open Start menu and type ‘cmd’).
  3. Type the following and hit Enter. It will overwrite the destination (assumed to be D: in this case) with all 0s, thus erasing any original data. D: /fs:NTFS /p:1

Wiping the primary (boot) disk

  1. If you already have a repair disk, then you can skip this step, else create a repair disk. To do this, insert a blank CD or DVD into the DVD burner, then go to Backup and Restore in Control Panel. Click on ‘Create a system repair disc’ and follow the instructions
  2. Enter the repair disk into the disk drive and then boot into it. You do this by going to boot options. Pay attention during BIOS flash, and press the button mentioned to take you to boot menu or options.
  3. Choose ‘Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows’
  4. Open Command Prompt by going to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt
  5. Enter the following command, which acts similarly as mentioned in the previous section. C: /fs:NTFS /p:2

Your laptop’s hard drive can contain some very sensitive information, and hence you must not take it lightly when discarding it. Fortunately, there are various ways to ensure the destruction of any data beyond recovery. Even for those who are not technically astute, tools like Stellar BitRaser for the file can provide simple ways to ensure safe erasure of data.

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