5 Minute HelpDesk – How to Wipe a Computer Hard Drive
You want to donate your laptop or give it away to be recycled. The first step would be to wipe your hard drive clean of every information and data saved in the system. And no, deleting history and files isn’t enough. Just clicking the “delete” button doesn’t erase the information from your device. It just makes the data invisible. Everything you “delete” can still be retrieved from the hard drive. So, how to wipe a computer drive and clear all the information permanently? Our IT helpdesk technicians from Perth explain.
How To Wipe a Computer Hard Drive?
Follow any of these options to wipe your computer hard drive. But before that –
Back up your data
You have to ensure you have all the information you need before wiping the hard drive or doing a factory reset. Regularly backing up your data keeps it safe even when hard drives crash or your device gets stolen or affected by a virus.
You can use USB flash drives or thumb drives to back up the data. External hard drives are another way to back up the information you need physically. Compared to flash and thumb drives, external hard drives offer you more storage.
Another option is to back up data on the cloud. It is one of the safest ways to securely and conveniently save data. All you have to do is choose a trusted cloud platform, create an account, and complete the setup. Read our blog on saving digital data for more tips.
Option 1: Install data destruction software
As mentioned before, just deleting the files and emptying the recycle bin doesn’t erase your data from the hard drive. With data recovery software, anyone can restore them and use them against you. So, how can you ensure you delete files for good?
While there are several ways to clean your hard drive, using data destruction software is the easiest. There are special programs that can permanently erase the information stored in your hard drive. Using this software, you can completely erase everything from your hard drive, including other installed applications and operating systems. It also allows you to reuse the hard drive as well.
Option 2: Format your drive or reset the PC
Though it isn’t very thorough, you can use a standard formatting option to wipe your hard drive if you’re using a Windows system. Doing a system format does a very basic hard drive wipe. If your hard drive has multiple partitions, format each so the entire physical disk can be wiped.
You can also do a system reset using the following steps:
- Go to settings.
- Select Update and Security.
- Click Recovery.
- Tap on “Reset this PC.”
- Follow the instructions on the screen.
You can do a factory reset for Intel-based Mac devices by holding Shift+ Option+ Command+ R on startup till the Apple logo appears. Chromebook users can do a factory reset by clicking on the Launcher- Settings- Advanced- Reset settings- Reset.
Option 3: Re-install the Operating System
Doing a fresh installation of the OS is yet another way to rewrite the existing data. If you have a “restore” function on your hard drive, you can select the option and follow the instructions to complete re-installation. You can also re-install using discs from the system manufacturer by inserting them and booting up your computer.
It is important to wipe the hard drives before you hand over or dispose of your PC. If you don’t clear all the information in the drive, people with malicious intent can use the data to harm you and those around you. We hope this article will answer your doubts on how to wipe a computer hard drive. If these steps feel too techy for you, reach out for assistance at our 24/7 helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our Contact Us page.
Format drive: Formatting a drive means deleting all the data and setting up a new file system.
Reset PC: Resetting a device puts all applications back into their original, unused state and deletes everything added after the computer left the factory.