How to Completely Wipe a Disk on Windows or Mac?

Use secure, proven, and efficient methods to completely wipe your disk on Windows or Mac today.

wipe a disk on windows or mac

Do you intend to give away or sell your drive? Or planning to replace your Windows computer with a Mac or vice versa? Make sure you completely wipe the hard drive to protect your personal data. But the question coming to your mind will be: how can you wipe the drive? Right? Well, this guide presents some useful disk wipe ways to help you get over the line. Let’s delve deeper into the discussion.

Part 1. Can I Completely Wipe a Hard Drive?

The answer to this question is a big YES. But it is not as simple as it seems to many of us. Simply deleting the files stored on your hard drive will not do the job. Instead, you will have to erase the complete data using some efficient disk wipe methods. We will discuss them later in this article.

Part 2. When Should I Completely Wipe a Disk?

Well, this is a great question to ask because thousands of people worldwide wonder when they should wipe the drive completely. Are you one of them? Let’s go through the potential scenarios when you need to erase your personal stuff from the disk.

1. Wipe the Drive When Getting Rid of Faulty Disks

Though a damaged drive will be of no use to you, someone can recover the data available on it. In the worst-case scenario, scammers may sell your sensitive stuff on the dark web. This has become a frustrating situation for those who have experienced these circumstances. Therefore, before you get rid of your damaged disk, don’t forget to erase the whole data.

Note: If you are using TRIM-enabled solid-state drives, you don’t need to worry much about wiping the disk because these devices overwrite the deleted data automatically and ensure your hard drive is 100% clean of everything.

2. Erase Drive Data While Starting Over from Square One

Wiping a disk completely and starting again, without a doubt, is a drastic alternative. But the good thing is that it helps you recover the older version of your drive and ensures its maximum efficiency when storing data. Moreover, wiping your hard drive provides you with 100% drive usage on your computer. Furthermore, doing this also results in removing all the tools or software you have on your system that you don’t know about or have never used.

3. Wipe Your Disk When Throwing Out, Trading, or Selling

Are you planning to sell your computer or laptop? Want to buy a new one? Never forget to wipe the hard drive completely before you sell it to anyone. This is because if you don’t erase your personal stuff, your sensitive data may be exposed to someone else. You will, of course, never want to do so. As soon as you use any disk wipe method to format your drive, it makes sure that no one will ever be able to recover it.

4. Completely Format Your Drive When Switching to SSD

Have you just replaced your HDD with a newly purchased SSD? Transferred the whole data on the new disk? Great! Remember, your old drive must be 100% clean to ensure that your sensitive or personal information is not recoverable. Interestingly, you can also use your old hard drive as an external storage device. Sounds good? Just buy a suitable casing for your old disk, fix it within, and you are good to go.

Part 3. How to Completely Wipe a Disk on Windows?

Before you sell your Windows computer or get rid of it, it is necessary to wipe the disk. This is where many people struggle because they don’t know which way to go to get the job done effectively. Are you experiencing the same problem? No worries! Follow the below disk wipe methods to erase your personal data in a matter of minutes. Let’s have a look at how they work.

1. Completely Wipe the Drive through the “This PC” Option

It is one of the quickest ways to clean your hard drive.

Step-By-Step Guide

A 3-step, super simple process is as follows.

Step 1: Go to the search bar in Windows, type “This PC”, and click on it. You will see a new window popping up on your screen. This window will show different drives and folders available on your computer, as shown below.

use this pc option to format the hard drive

Step 2: Choose the drive you want to format and right-click on it. Now, tap on the “Format” option you see on the list.

wipe the drive on windows

Step 3: It is time to select the right settings to format your drive and hit the “Start” button to initiate the formatting process.

Important Note: You can enable the “Quick Format” checkbox to quickly format to wipe the drive, but it will not be worth it. Though quick formatting consumes less time to complete, it does not delete your data; instead, it makes data recovery a bit difficult (but not impossible). On the other hand, if you don’t go with the “Quick Format” option and perform normal formatting, it will ensure that your hard drive is wiped out completely. Remember, it may take a couple of hours to complete the whole process.

quickly wipe your disk

2. Use Disk Management to Format the Hard Drive

You can easily divide your disks into multiple partitions with the “Disk Management” tool. You can compare it with introducing a new wall in your room to divide it into two portions. Just by logging in as the administrator, you can wipe the hard drive with this tool.

Step-By-Step Guide

It is a 2-step, quick process.

Step 1: Use a USB cable to connect the external storage device to your Windows computer. Now, press the “Windows” and “X” keys simultaneously, and click on the “Disk Management” option, as shown below.

format the drive with disk management tool

Step 2: Choose the drive you want to delete the data from, and hit the “Format” option to proceed.

wipe the hard drive with disk management

Are you unable to format your drive? Don’t worry. Just initialize the disk and then format it. Don’t know how to do that? Follow the 2 simple steps listed below.

Step 1: Right-click on the desired drive, choose the “Initialize” option and select “GPT”. Now, tap on the “OK” button, as shown below.

initialize the drive when formatting

Step 2: As soon as your drive is initialized, you can wipe the hard drive with the “Disk Management” option as presented above. Select “NFTS” from the drop-down menu. You will find it in front of the “File system”.

ntfs formatting using disk management

Part 4. How to Completely Wipe the Disk on Mac?

Before getting into the details of how to completely wipe your disk on a Mac, it is important to know whether your computer has an SSD or HDD installed on it. Don’t know how to find it? Well, all you need is to tap on the “Apple” icon and click on the “About this Mac” option. You will see a new window on your screen. Now, go to the “Storage” tab to determine if your Mac has an enabled HDD or SSD. The picture below shows that the computer has a 1TB SSD installed on it.

how to find the hard drive on mac

The next step is to create a manual backup on any external storage device before you move toward wiping your hard drive. For this, a “Time Machine” can also do the job. You can locate it inside the “System Preferences”, as shown below.

create a backup with time machine

Now, let’s look at how the Mac disk wipe methods operate.

1. Wipe the Drive with an Intel Processor

This process involves 4 convenient and easy-to-follow steps, as follows.

Step 1: Turn off your Mac computer and start it again.

Step 2: Now, immediately press the “Command + R” keys and keep holding them until Apple’s logo appears.

Step 3: Choose the “Disk Utility” option and tap on “Security Options”. Move the slider from left to right to choose the safest option.

Note: If you are unable to see the “Security Options”, it indicates that “Disk Utility” cannot format your data safely.

Step 4: Now, tap on “Erase” and hit “Done”.

2. Wipe the Drive on Mac with SSD

You can’t format an SSD with Disk Utility. This is where the “FileVault utility” comes in handy. It restricts everyone from recovering your sensitive data. Are you looking for how to enable FileVault encryption? It is pretty simple. Just go to Security and Privacy” from your computer.

enable filevault to wipe an ssd on mac

Now, tap on the “FileVault” tab, as shown below.

filevault tab to format ssd on mac

Important Note: Save your recovery key if you don’t use your iCloud account to manage FileVault encryption.

Step-By-Step Guide

This process involves encrypting your hard drive, instead of wiping it out. Then, it allows you to delete the FileVault recovery key.

Step 1: As soon as you encrypt an SSD, restart the Mac computer into the “Recovery” mode, as described in the above method.

Step 2: Now, go to the “Disk Utility”, choose the drive you want to format, and tap on “Unlock”.

Step 3: It is time to wipe the now-unlocked drive. Doing this will make it impossible for anyone to recover your data and will permanently delete your FileVault recovery key.

This is how you can wipe the hard drive on a Mac in just a few steps.

Part 5. Bonus Tip: How to Recover Data from Wiped Hard Drive on Windows or Mac?

Are you struggling to recover your important data from the formatted hard drive on Mac or Windows? Worried about losing the stuff you can never think of? Your search ends here because Wondershare Recoverit will surely be your helping hand. It is a tremendous data recovery tool designed while keeping your needs in mind. A few features that make this software stand out are:

  • Highest data recovery rate (up to 95%)
  • More than 500 recovery scenarios
  • Compatible with a wide variety of storage devices
  • Support for a huge range of file formats
  • 100% secure recovery

1. Use Recoverit to Recover Your Data from Hard Drive on Windows

A simple, 3-step process to recover your hard drive is as follows.

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 or later

Step 1: Download and launch the program and choose the drive you want to restore data from. Now, hit the “Start” button.

recover data from the hard drive on windows with recoverit

Step 2: The program will initiate an automatic scanning. Wait for a few minutes until it gets completed. The scanning may vary depending on the amount of data you wish to recover.

scan the drive with recoverit

Step 3: It is time to preview the scanned files before you save them. Once you verify them, press the “Recover” button, and choose a different location to save the recovered files where they are recovered from.

preview and save the recovered files with recoverit

2. Use Recoverit to Recover Your Data from Hard Drive on Mac

It is also a simple data recovery method for Mac, consisting of three convenient steps only.

Step 1: Choose the device you wish to restore the data from.

recover data from a wiped drive on Mac with recoverit

Step 2: Once you select the desired device, Recoverit will start scanning your device automatically, as shown below.

recoverit scanning to recover drive on mac

Step 3: As soon as Recoverit completes scanning, you will be able to preview the scanned files before recovering them. Now, tap on the “Recover” button to save the recovered data on your computer. Make sure to select a different location for this data (compared to where they are restored from).

preview and recover data on mac using recoverit


It doesn’t matter if you are looking for secure and quick Windows or Mac disk wipe ways, this article has got you covered. It has presented two valuable methods to wipe the hard drive on Windows and two efficient ways to wipe the drive on Mac. Apart from that, an incredible data recovery software - Wondershare Recoverit - is also presented in the above discussion. It is a wonderful software to restore your sensitive data and is being used by millions of people around the world. Download this tool and give it a try. You will be surprised to see how accurate, secure, and efficient it is. Good Luck!

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 or later

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