By Ivy / Last update October 14, 2021

How to wipe my hard drive before selling

Any bootable hard drive eraser to wipe data permanently?

hi, on a Windows machine, are there any tools where you can boot to a DVD / USB pen to have a disk utility for erasing a hard drive using a 35 pass erase method?, Thanks.

- Question from Chris

If you want to wipe your hard drive before selling, donating or abandoning and prevent data from recovery, you will find the solutions here.

★ Note: To wipe data permanently, please do not use format feature. Because formatting a hard drive could not remove data permanently and the data can be recoverable.

Way 1: Diskpart Erase Hard Drive Permanently

★ Note: If there any important files on your hard disk, please backup files first before bootable disk wipe.

If you have Windows installation disc, you could wipe hard drive permanently with the installation disc:

1. Insert the Windows installation disc, then boot from it.

2. Click Repair your computer Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.

3. Run the following commands one by one:

  • diskpart

  • list disk

  • select disk n (n is the disk number of the hard disk that you want to wipe)

  • clean

Diskpart Clean Disk

If you clean system disk under Windows environment, you will get the error: Virtual disk service error clean is not allowed on the disk containing the current boot, system, pagefile, crashdump, or hibernation volume.

Way 2. Bootable hard drive eraser

There are many bootable drive wiper to perform bootable disk wipe. One of them is Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) is a free bootable disk eraser only for personal use to securely erase hard drive and the data cannot be recoverable, and only provides you the bootable CD to erase data. However, there are some limitations you need be aware:

  • The program only available in x86 systems that is out of date, which means you cannot use the DBAN in Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista and XP on x64 systems.

  • DBAN does not support UEFI, USB drive, RAID, etc.

Hence, it’s time to turn to DBAN alternative - AOMEI Backupper Standard for help, which helps to wipe boot drive or other data hard disk permanently.

AOMEI Backupper as the best free bootable drive wiper, allows you to create bootable USB to wipe hard drive without Windows or wipe hard drive permanently within Windows environment, and we will show you the details about the two ways to perform bootable disk wipe.

  • This bootable disk eraser supports Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, including all editions, 32-bit and 64-bit.

  • Supports UEFI, Legacy boot mode, USB drive, external hard drive, network share/NAS, CD/DVD, RAID, etc.

Please download the the bootable hard drive eraser first.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

1. Bootable disk wipe within Windows Environment

If you can boot up your computer, the easiest way is wipe the hard drive with Disk Wipe feature in AOMEI Backupper, here it is:

1. Please install the bootable hard drive eraser - AOMEI Backupper, then Choose Tools > Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe

2. Tick Wipe disk option and hit Next >>.

Choose Wipe Disk

3. Select the system bootable disk to wipe, and press Next >>.

Choose System Bootable Disk

✿ Tip: A window will prompt you that wipe boot drive will run in reboot mode, press OK to confirm.

Wipe System Disk Warning

4. Choose the wiping method: Fill sectors with Zero (Safe, Quick), Fill Sectors with random data (Safe, Quick), DoD 52220.22-M (Very Safe, Slow), or Gutmann (35 passes, Very Safe, Very Slow) to wipe bootable disk. And then press Start >>.

Start Wipe Disk Fill Sectors with Zero

✿ Tip: The last three options of wiping method are premium features, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional or other editions to enjoy.

The data cannot be recoverable once the disk wipe operation finished, please make sure you erase the right hard drive.

2. Wipe Hard Drive without Windows

If you cannot boot up your Windows computer any more, you could create a bootable disk wipe USB drive to wipe your hard drive without Windows. Here are the details:

Step 1. Create bootable disk wipe USB

1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, choose Tools > Create Bootable Media.

Create Bootable Media

2. Choose Windows PE - Create bootable disc based on Windows PE, and press Next >>.

Windows Bootable Disc

3. Tick USB Boot Device option to create bootable disk wipe USB.

Select USB Device

✿ Tip: Of course, you could tick other options to create bootable CD or ISO file to wipe hard drive.

Wait for a while, you will get the bootable disk wipe USB.

Step 2. Wipe boot drive with bootable disk wipe USB

Then, you could wipe boot drive using the bootable disk wipe USB:

1. Please enter BIOS or UEFI BIOS to boot from the bootable USB drive, and it will bring up the AOMEI Backupper interface. Then go Tools > Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe

2. Tick Wipe disk option and hit Next >>.

3. Select the bootable disk to wipe, and press Next >>.

4. Choose the wiping method Fill sectors with Zero (Safe, Quick) to wipe bootable disk and press Start >>.

Wait for a while, you will find your bootable disk has been wiped out.

The Epilogue

It’s great idea to wipe data on your computer permanently before selling, donating, or abandoning to prevent data from recovery, and protect your privacy. Bootable disk wipe is easy for you according to the above two ways to wipe boot drive directly or with the bootable disk wipe USB.

Besides, you could create Windows recovery disk to restore system, create a system image on USB drive, etc. For server users, you could create Windows Server 2019 bootable USB, sync files between Windows Servers, command line backup/restore/clone and so on with the AOMEI Backupper Server.