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Windows 7: FULLY erase a hard drive

18 Nov 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
FULLY erase a hard drive


I am trying to completely erase everything from my hard drive (windows are not installed on that hard drive). So is everything deleted by going to the hard drive and right click -> format? or does this do what a regular win7 format does? I mean to completely erase all hidden files that can be restored and such.

Thanks for your help,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2012   #2

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1

Formatting just eliminates directory entries.

If you wish to make the files unrecoverable, the disk must be overwritten. Depending on how securely you wish to do that, it could be written multiple times.

The freeware CCleaner can do that.

I erase defective drives with an 8 pound sledge hammer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2012   #3

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Alex,

You could do a full format to delete everything on the HDD. A quick format would only mark the data on the drive as deleted, but not actually delete anything until the data has been overwritten.

If you like, you could also run a clean all command on the HDD to secure delete everything on it, and have it all overwritten x1. This option will take a long time to finish.
Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command
Hope this helps, :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Nov 2012   #4
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Brinks method is a great way of doing it and it's free. If you desire other methods there are many 3rd part programs that can also do that. I use Drive Scrubber 2 but it's not free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2012   #5

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

I like DBAN, as long as the only hdd in the machine is the one you want to erase, it's safe to use. Disconnect all other drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2012   #6
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

The open source program Eraser and even with the free version of Acronis True Image Disk Director suite provided free by Western Digital and rebranded by Seagate to Disk Wizard has a live cd option as well as utilities for secure drive erasure.

Active KillDisk is just another among countless drive tools to select from depending on how secure you want the drive wipe to be. The DiskPart tool will handle that in a minute or so provided you select the correct drive however before entering either of the two commands mentioned. Clean and Clean All(Ultimate destruct if entered right after typing in List Disk to list all drives!)

There is one other thing to know however. While a secure tool can make it impossible for a data recovery program to retrieve files a professional may still be able to!

If you are keeping the drive and not giving it away or selling it used you wouldn't have any worries for simply entering the Clean command once you select the drive. For a fast secure wipe where you can create a new partition "Clean" it! :)

For any drive you would be tossing in the trash however breaking open the casing and exposing the platters to the elements as well as scraping a good deal of the magnetic coating from the platters will insure nothing can ever be recovered! Running a magnet over the platters! A friend uses a power drill to bore right through when going to toss any failed drive. That will do it alright!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 FULLY erase a hard drive

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