By Yuka / Last update March 17, 2022

Difference Between Data Wiping and Deleting

Many users may have misunderstanding of data wiping and deleting. Some people even consider both of them as one thing. However, the two are worlds apart. If you are one of those people who are confused with the two, have a fresh look at the brief explanation bellow.

Wiping and Deleting

Data deleting

Hard drive is a kind of storage devices which is used to store digital data. Our files can be stored on the surface of magnetic and rotating platters in hard disk case. When writing or reading data, the magnetic property of platter surface can be changed to 1 and 0 by hard disks.
When you simply delete files with Shift + Delete or empty the Recycle Bin, the data will not be erased permanently, you just delete the reference of the data in the allocation table that you can’t find it. The deleted files can be easily recovered with recovery software before being overwritten or damaged.

Data wiping

Sometimes referred as data clearing, data destruction, data erasure. It is a process of overwriting the data on a storage device and the data cannot be recovered any more. Our files are stored on the hard disks in the form of basic binary data.
For instance, when we save data such as photo, documents, etc. on hard drive, rows of zeros and ones are recorded on platters. To completely erase disk, we should overwrite those zeros and ones with new data. As long as the old data is overwritten, it cannot be recovered.

The Necessity of Disk Wiping

User’s case: “Hi! I have an issue that's just a little bit different from the responses here. I have a desktop PC that's currently running Windows 10. it has no other hard drive on it other than the main drive and partition. It was my late father's and I want to sell it or possibly just give it away. All I want to do is completely wipe the hard drive of everything. My question is how the heck do I wipe the drive clean and leave it at that? Am I making sense? Any suggestions would be appreciated!”

I believe that many users in life will encounter the above-mentioned situation. Whether you are dealing with an old hard drive or selling your old computer, you cannot avoid cleaning up the disk. Reasons are as follows:

✿ You may want to erase the hard drive to protect your information from being leaked or misused. Before giving your hard drive or PC to someone else, you must ensure that your personal data has been completely deleted and cannot be recovered.
✿ Meanwhile, some people do disk wiping to protect their customer’s identity, such as lawyers, business men, etc. Once the data on their computer or hard disk is exposed, it will bring great losses and troubles to their customers.
✿ What’s more, some people wipe their hard drives entirely to get their computer to factory settings. After that, they can make the computer like a new one, or upgrade the OS.

Preparations for wiping a disk

Before erasing the disk thoroughly, you need to do some preparatory work, because once the disk or computer is wiped, the files on it cannot be retrieved.

◑ Backup your important files if you still need them. You can back them up to USB drive or other new hard drives.
◑ Ensure battery is full. If you want to wipe a laptop, you should make sure the battery is well charged or connected to power.

Next part, I will show you how to wipe hard drive in Windows 10 using its built-in tool and a piece of reliable hard drive erase software. The second disk wiper is also suitable for Windows 10/8/7 disk wiping. Please read on if you are interested.

How to Wipe a Disk with Windows Built-in Tool

With the help of the recovery tool in Windows 10, you can wipe a disk completely. Here are steps to wipe a hard drive in Windows 10:

  1. Click "Start" menu and select "Settings" option. Then click "Update & Security" option.
  2. Click "Recovery" option on the left and then click "Get Started" button under "Reset this PC" section.

Get Started

  1. In the popup window, you are asked to choose an option: Keep my files or Remove everything. If you want to erase your computer or disk, choose the latter one.

Remove Everything

  1. Select "Remove files and clean the drive" when you are asked to whether to clean the drives too. The cleaning process may take longer time but it makes sure no one can recover erased files.

Remove Files and Clean the Drive

  1. Click "Next" and "Reset" button on following steps to complete the task.

Easier Way to Erase Disk in Windows 10/8/7

You can use Windows 10's built-in recovery tool to achieve disk erasing, but if you want a more powerful and safer method of erasing hard drives, a trusted hard drive eraser is needed. Here I strongly recommend the best disk wiperAOMEI Backupper Professional to you. It supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP systems. Using this software, you can:

❀  Wipe an entire disk, a selected partition, or unallocated space, and the data will be unrecoverable after wiping.
  
Wipe hard disk drives, a USB drive, as well as SD card. All brands of disks are supported, including Samsung, SanDisk and WD, etc.
❀ Create backups, restore files, clone disks with just a few clicks. The powerful functions of this software can meet all your needs.

Here I will show you the instructions of wiping a disk via AOMEI Backupper Professional. Download this software in advance and launch it.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Click "Tools" in the left tab, and then select the "Disk Wipe" tool under "Common Tools".

Disk Wipe

Step 2. After that, you will enter the page to select Wiping Type. There are 2 types available to select: Wipe partitions or unallocated space; Wipe disk. Choose the latter one and then click “Next”.

Choose Wipe Disk

Notes✍:

● Wipe Partitions or unallocated space on the disk: if you choose this option, the selected partition or unallocated space on the disk will be deleted and all its sectors will be wiped. The data will not be restored after wiping.
● Wipe disk: if you choose this option, the partitions and all sectors on the disk will be deleted. The data will not be restored after wiping.

Step 3. Select the disk you want to erase. Click Next to continue.

Choose Disk

Note: if you are choosing a disk including the OS, a popup window will prompt you that wipe boot drive will run in reboot mode, press OK to confirm.

Select System Disk

Wipe System Disk Warning

Step 4. Select a Wiping Method with the safety level and speed you want, hit Start to wipe the hard drive.

Wipe Method

Helpful tips: You can choose safer wiping methods come with more passes and lower wiping speed. 

Step 5. After the wipe process is started, you will enter the page of Wiping Process. You can click “Cancel” on the right corner if you want to stop this progress.

Wipe Process

Summary

It’s of great importance to erase the disk or computer in order to prevent your data from being stolen or leaked. In addition to Windows built in tools, the best reliable disk wipe software—AOMEI Backupper can provide you with the most convenient and concise operation to wipe a disk permanently and ensure that the data wiped cannot be recovered.

What’s more, if you are planning to replace your old hard drive with a new one, or planning to upgrade the OS, the clone feature of AOMEI Backupper can do you a favor. It can move Windows 10 installation to another drive, or  replace laptop hard drive and reinstall operating system with ease. Don’t hesitate to try this software!