How to wipe a computer if you want to sell it or give it a fresh start
Step 1 Launch the free disk wipe tool DiskGenius from your Windows computer. Step 2 Click menu " File " and choose " Reboot to DiskGenius WinPE version " option. Step 3 It takes about two minutes to create booting information for Windows PE, please wait it to complete with patience. Jul 13, · 5 steps to wipe a computer hard drive Step 1: Back up your hard-drive data. Before you wipe your computer’s hard drive or do a factory reset, make sure to Step 2: Don’t just delete files from your computer. You might think moving your documents to the trash or recycle bin Step 3: Use a .
Subscriber Account active since. Although older versions of Windows didn't make it etase to wipe your computer clean of personal information, that's pretty simple to do with Ovwr You can do this if you're preparing to sell or give away your computer, or you might do this to troubleshoot a problematic PC.
Wiping it and starting fresh can help you reclaim all your hard drive space and return your PC to full, factory-fresh performance. How you wipe your PC depends on what you plan to do with it afterward. If you are keeping the computer, you can proceed directly to resetting the hard drive back to a fresh hadd of Windows. But if you ersse to sell or give the computer away, you'll want to take extra precaution to make sure the data stored on your PC is inaccessible to the computer's next owner.
If you have a hard disk drive HDDit will be thoroughly erased when you refresh Windows. But if your computer has a solid-state drive SSD — and virtually all computers sold in the last few years do — you'll have to take an extra step to ensure your old data staart be recovered even after it's erased — nad should encrypt it. The easiest way to encrypt your PC is to use the built-in encryption option in Windows, but not all SSDs support this feature. To find out, do this:.
After your hard drive is encrypted — or if you don't need to encrypt it — you can use Windows to wipe your PC, setting it back to its factory defaults. On the "Choose an option" page, click "Remove everything. The steps for wiping a Mac computer are quite different from wiping a PC. Whether you're trying to sell your Mac or just start fresh, read our article to learn how to wipe a Mac computer.
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Flipboard Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Copy Link. You can wipe a computer's hard drive and return it to its factory conditions with just a few clicks. If you are not keeping the PC, you should be sure it's impossible to how to install exhaust tip any old data from the solid-state drive by encrypting the data.
When you reset your PC, be sure to starg the hzrd to remove everything. Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories. Insider Inc.
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Erasing the hard drive and reinstalling Windows
Feb 21, · Another way to permanently erase a hard drive is to use a degausser to disrupt the magnetic domains on the drive—the very way that a hard drive stores data. Some NSA approved automatic degaussers can erase dozens of hard drives in an hour and cost tens of . Mar 24, · With the help of the recovery tool in Windows 10, you can reset your PC and wipe the drive at the same time. Go to Settings > Update & Security > . Nov 14, · Click the Start button and then click "Settings." 2. Click "System" and then click "About." If you see an option for "Device Encryption," click it and follow the instructions to encrypt your hard.
To wipe a hard drive means to completely erase the drive of all its information. Deleting everything does not wipe a hard drive and formatting does not usually either.
You'll need to take an extra step so the data can't be easily reconstructed later. When you format a hard drive or delete a partition , you're usually only deleting the file system , making the data invisible, or no longer actively indexed, but not gone. A file recovery program or special hardware often recovers the information.
If you want to make sure that your private information is gone forever, you'll need to wipe the hard drive using special software. Wiping a hard drive is operating system independent if you use one of the bootable tools from our list mentioned in Step 2 below, which means that it doesn't matter what OS is running on the drive. See the tip at the bottom of the page for information on a "simple" wipe using the format command in Windows 10 , Windows 8 , Windows 7 , and Windows Vista.
This process could take several minutes to several hours depending on how big the drive is and what method you choose. Back up anything you want to keep, such as photos, software product keys, etc. When the hard drive wipe is complete, there will be absolutely no way to get anything on the drive back. If you've been using an online backup service , you can safely assume that all your important files are already backed up online. If you haven't been so proactive, pick from several free offline backup tools that can save your files to an external hard drive.
Back up everything you want to keep; sometimes several virtual drives share space on a single physical hard drive. View the drives volumes that sit on a hard drive from the Disk Management tool in Windows. Download a free data destruction program. Any of the first six programs we recommend on that list will work great because they can be used to wipe a hard drive from outside of Windows, a necessary feature if you want to wipe the drive that Windows is installed on.
We're big fans of DBAN , our first pick on that list. It's probably the most widely used hard drive wiping tool but please know that it doesn't wipe solid-state drives. There are actually several ways to completely erase a hard drive , but using data destruction software is the easiest and still allows the hard drive to be used again. Wipe the hard drive according to the program's instructions. Most data destruction programs offer several methods.
If you're curious about the effectiveness or methods used to complete the wipe, see Data Sanitization Methods. Plug in your laptop or verify the battery's fully charged. The total time it takes to finish the HDD wipe depends on the size of the drive and the speed of the computer. When it's all said and done, you can be confident that whatever information was on the drive is now gone for good.
You can now install Windows on the drive, create a new partition , sell or give away the hard drive or computer, recycle or dispose of it, restore your backed up files, or whatever else you need to do. Beginning in Windows Vista, the format process changed and a single write-zero pass is applied to each standard non-quick format. In other words, a very basic hard drive wipe is performed during a format.
If a single write-zero pass is good enough for you, consider your drive wiped after a regular format in Windows 10, 8, 7, or Vista. If you want something even more secure, follow the hard drive wipe instructions above.
This is a wipe of just the partition you're formatting. If you have more than one partition on a physical hard drive, you'll need to format those additional drives as well if you want to consider the entire physical disk as "wiped.
If what you really want to do is just make sure that files you delete on a regular basis are really gone and not retrievable with special tools, a data-wiping program is more than you need.
See our list of free file shredder software programs for programs that "destroy" individual files on an as-needed basis. Many of those shredder programs also do what's called a free space wipe , which is a wipe of all the "empty" space on your hard drive. The purpose of this is to ensure that the files you've already deleted are actually deleted for good.
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