TechTips & Tricks

Tips on How to Zero out Hard Drive

Would you like to destroy it or sell it out when you have an old hard drive which is not useful anymore?

To physically destroy a hard drive and avoid data leakage, you just need to remove all screws with a screwdriver and remove the main circuit board after opening the enclosure. Then use a hammer to destroy the magnetic platter and the whole disk. After that, you can put all the pieces in a box and throw them to the garbage can.

If you decide to sell the hard drive out, you need to clean the data on it at first to protect your private information.

However, if you just simply delete it or format the hard drive, the data could be recovered by some professional software easily. Actually, to permanently and safely erase data on a hard drive, the best way is to write zeroes to every bit of the hard drive. Besides protecting personal data from being stolen, zero filling a hard drive could also be used to fix a corrupted hard drive or remove viruses.

Also read: How to Unhide Facebook Messages in 2020

How to zero out a hard drive? Generally, there are 3 methods which you can take into consideration:

  • Using Command Prompt to zero out the hard drive
  • Resetting this PC to zero out the hard drive
  • Using third-party software to zero out the hard drive

Now, let’s get more detailed information about them one by one.

Method 1: Using Command Prompt

Using Command Prompt
Using Command Prompt

Command Prompt is the command-line interpreter in Windows operating system. You can use it to zero out a hard drive.

Remember to back up the data before the operation, as it will be unrecoverable after writing zeros on the hard drive. Then you can start the zero filling with the following steps:

  1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Input the command format f: /fs:NTFS /p:2 and press Enter to format the F drive with NTFS file system and write zeros to every sector of the drive. You need to replace “f” with other drive letters according your needs.
  3. Enter the volume label of the target drive. When you get a warning, type y and press Enter to confirm the operation.
  4. Repeat the second step to zero out the left drives.

After executing the commands successfully, you can exit Command Prompt. Then shut down the PC and unplug the hard drive. Please notice that if you want to zero out the system drive with Command Prompt, you should boot the PC from a Windows Installation Disk and navigate to System Recovery Options > Command Prompt.

If you have never used Command Prompt or you don’t want to remember the command, you can try the next method.

Method 2: Resetting This PC

Resetting This PC
Resetting This PC

You can also erase the data on your hard drive by factory resetting this pc. This is easy to operate and you can have a try. Of course, you’d better back up the important files at first.

  1. Go to Windows Settings.
  2. Select Update & Security category > Recovery. In the right pane, click Get started under Reset this PC section.
  3. In the pop-up window, select Remove everything.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to finish the process.

This will remove all your personal files, apps, and personalized settings, and then reinstall Windows 10.

Method 3: Using a Third-Party Software

Third-Party Software
Third-Party Software

Another easy way to zero out a hard drive is to use professional third-party software, such as MiniTool Partition Wizard. With the help of the application, you can erase your hard drive safely within a few clicks. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard.
  2. When you get the main interface, right-click the hard drive you need to zero out and select Wipe Disk. If the target hard drive is the system disk, you need to create a bootable USB drive with MiniTool Partition Wizard and then boot from the USB drive before wiping it.
  3. Select a wiping method according to your needs and click OK. When you go back to the main interface, click Apply to execute the pending operations.

After wiping the hard drive, you can sell it out without any concerns about data leakage.

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