How to Wipe a Hard Drive on Windows and Mac?

Have you ever met the problem of "How to Completely Wipe a Hard Drive"? If once ever, you can follow the guide to see the most considerate steps.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

May 20, 2022 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

Janet: Recently, I plan to wipe my hard drive completely to release the disk space. But I am afraid it will be not effective and efficient through easy deletion. Who can help?

Have you ever thought of how to erase your hard drive and what you can benefit from the format? According to a technician in Apple and Microsoft corporations, regular thorough clean-up is good for hard drive health. So you have to figure out efficient methods to completely erase the data without a mark. And you are in the right place, this article is going to address your doubt on how to wipe your hard drive on Mac or Windows OS completely.

How Can You Benefit from Thoroughly Wiping a Hard Drive?

Imagine that if we have an infinite storage device, then there is no need to clean up the hard drive. However, the reality is the opposite. We need to occasionally conduct a complete hard drive clean-up on Windows and Mac computers. According to some hard drive users, they think a thorough format will help them in the following aspects.

  1. Erase data to improve computer performance. Sometimes, you have accumulated lots of data on your computer, it gets sluggish. In this condition, cleanup is needed.
  2. Wipe the incursive virus out. Erasing hard drive data from the computer will wipe the virus out at the same time.
  3. Maintain hard disk health. Wiping or erasing the disk will solve a lot of fragmentation and many other issues.
  4. Merge or create a new partition. For that purpose, you are required to delete or format some partition on your computer.
  5. Erase the old OS to install new. Hence, you will have to wipe the old data from the hard drive, to make way for a fresh installation.

After know why some people choose to completely wipe out the hard drive data(The data cannot be recoverable in the situation). Let's turn to methods on Windows and Mac separately.

How to Wipe Hard Drive on Windows OS Entirely?

Windows gives good options when it comes to erasing data from your Windows computer. However, you must always back up your data before you erase hard drive data from your computer. You can always use third-party software but Windows gives you a more secure way of wiping data. You can use either the old installation disk or a new OS installation disk to erase the data from your computer.  

You can use the following steps to wipe or erase hard drive data on your Windows computer. You will require a backup CD or your Windows CD to wipe the data.

Step 1 Insert the CD in the computer and restart your computer. Once the booting starts you will see a function button for entering into boot option. Press that button continuously when the computer starts and enter into the boot option and choose CD-ROM.

wipe hard drive data on windows step 1

Step 2 It will start again and boot from the CD-Rom. On the next screen, you will see various setup options. And also there will a list of the disks on your computer. Select the disk you want to erase and then go to the option to Delete The Selected Partition. In case there is more than one partition, you can choose the other also to delete it.

wipe hard drive data on windows step 2

Step 3 Now choose the NTFS option for a drive and choose the formatting option quick or normal.

wipe hard drive data on windows step 3

It will automatically format your disk and it will restart again. Make sure there is an operating system on your computer and boots from that drive. Few options may change from OS to OS but the steps will remain the same while erasing the data. You reinstall the new OS or use the existing one to access your formatted computer.

What is the easiest way to wipe a hard disk completely in Windows 10?

There are multiple tools to erase your hard drive. Among all the tools, the Windows inbuilt program PowerShell is the most easiest and popular way to completely wipe a disk. You can read the following notice and take the steps to wipe out the drive.

Before performing the format task, do ensure that you know the Drive Letter which you want to erase. You can't wipe out "C" Drive from the Windows.

Step 1 Click on the icon of start, now open Windows power shell (admin). This will open a new window. In this tool, you can input-text based instructions.

windows powershell

Step 2 Use this command line; Format volume /P: passes. In this command line volume is the drive letter and "P" is the number of times you want to overwrite the drive.

Step 3 Press "Enter" and your task is done.

What if you want to erase your C Drive thoroughly? there does have a way.

How to totally wipe a Windows C Drive with DBAN?

DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) is an astonishing third-party tool to wipe a hard drive. The fault of the Windows built-in command line is that it can't wipe out the C Drive. Fortunately, DBAN is capable of wiping the "C" drive. Follow the instructions to completely clear your C Drive.

Step 1 Back up valuable data

Out of all the junk, there might be some valuable data on your hard drive. You have to make a backup of it before you proceed any further. You can only ignore this step if you have 100% data useless on your hard drive.

back up

Step 2 Download and burn DBAN to disc

Downloading DBAN is no big deal. It is easily downloadable following these guidelines. You need to go to the DBAN download page on Sourceforge. The ISO file will be of 17 MB in size when downloaded. After downloading it must be written to a blank optical disk using Windows built-in tool. You must insert a blank disk into your computer. Lastly, right-click on the "DBAN-2.3.0_i586.iso" file and select the option of the burn disc image. Wait for several minutes till the disk is created and label it.

Source forge

Step 3 identify your hard drive

When the whole downloading and burning DBAN to disc process is completed. Make sure you have identified your hard drive first. You can use Windows Explorer to check the "C" drive. Open Windows Explorer and see if the device is labeled OS C: or Windows C: then everything is going fine. You can further specify the drive by clicking on the properties and the hardware option of the drive. You can copy the hardware name of the device.

properties hardware

Step 4 Boot into DBAN

In this step, you need to insert the DBAN disc and restart your Pc. You need to reorder the boot device into the bios of your computer by taping the key "DEL or f12" to prompt the boot section area. The keys are different from different laptops and Pcs.

Boot in dban

Step 5 Wipe your hard drive with Darik's boot and nuke.

In this last step, you actually are going to wipe your hard drive with Darik's boot and nuke. These options will be available on your screen.

Disks and partition

Okay, now use arrows to select the disk which you want to select, remember the name you copied in the third step. Select the device which matches the name. Tap space to change the flag to wipe. Press F-10, it will start the wipe process. To change the random number generator destroying your data use "P". you can enable the verification mode using "V" but this action will take much more time. You will have a timer on the top corner which will tell you the time required for wiping. When the drive is wiped a new screen will pop up with "pass" highlighted in green. If it shows "fail" then your drive might be having physical issues.

wipe method

How to Erase Hard Drive on Mac Thoroughly?

Erasing or wiping data on Mac is similar but options and steps are a little different as it is a different OS. However, Mac also gives you inbuilt options from erasing data from your Mac computer. Like in Windows, use the backup option first to save your important data. You do not want to lose this data because it might become impossible to recover data after it has been erased from the computer.

Here are the steps you can follow to wipe or erase hard drive data from Mac. You will require an installation disk of the OS to perform this wipe.

Step 1 Insert the disc into your Mac and restart it. When the computer restarts keep C pressed until the logo of Apple appears.

erase hard drive data from mac step 1

Step 2 When the new screens pop, select the appropriate selection. To erase select Macintosh HD volume and the go-to option button at the bottom. Choose to erase and install a clean OS of the operating system.

erase hard drive data from mac step 2

This is the best and easiest way to delete hard disk data on Mac. After the process, your computer will be restarted and it will be a fresh installation hence, you will have to restore your original data on your computer from the backup. However, you will require administrative permission before you make this change. Hence, enable the Root user to allow you to make this change.

Both methods are simple and easy to follow. Make sure you have back up your data and use the original installation OS disks to make the process smooth. And I also attach a video teaching you how to format your hard drive thoroughly.

Video Tutorial on How to Format an External Hard Drive

Wondershare Recoverit - Powerful Data Recovery Software

If you forget a copy a backup, don't be panic! There is a Solution.

recoverit feature list

Using Wondershare Recoverit, you are able to restore your formated hard drive safely and efficiently. The application is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems. Except that, it supports to recover lost data from hard drive, flash drive, external hard drive, and any other storage devices. Click the following link to download and launch the software.

Here are the instructions you can follow: Guide.

Step 1 Connect your hard drive to the computer or just insert it.

Step 2 Select the hard drive. Open the Recoverit software, now select the storage device you want to recover data from. You can also recover the data lost during the partition. Once the location is selected press "start".

select the wiped hard drive

Step 3 Scan the hard drive. if you have pressed start, the software will deeply scan your hard drive. This process might take some time according to the size of your hard drive.

scan the erased hard drive

Step 4 Preview and recover data. after the scanning is complete all the files scanned will be displayed on the screen. You can preview the data you want to recover. Lastly, select the location to save the recovered data.

recover data from formatted hard drive

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