By Jessie / Last update November 7, 2022

A Case Study on Securing Erase HDD

“So I’m selling my old HDD cause there is no space for a 3rd HDD in my case... So how can I completely erase everything from it that no one can’t recover any of my data? I’m already formatting it and I plan to wipe it also, but is that enough?”

Secure Erase Hdd

From this user’s case, we can see that many people have such kind of problem “how to secure erase HDD”. When the hard disk space is insufficient, it need to be replaced in time. Some people choose to format the computer. However, they are also afraid that formatting can’t prevent information leakage. Therefore, we need a way to erase the HDD safely and completely.

Common Scenarios for Securing Erase HDD

In our daily life, we often encounter situations we need to erase disks, such as selling old disk, buying a new computer and selling the old one, transferring previous disk to others, throwing away the disk if it is broken etc. Therefore, we need to know how to securely erase a disk.

Next, this article will introduce you three methods of erasing HDD in turn, you can choose them according to your needs.

Three Easiest Methods for Erasing HDD

Among the three methods we offer to you, the first and the second methods are DBAN and AOMEI Backupper Professional. The last one is to use a physical way to erase the HDD. You can know the detailed content by reading the following graphic tutorials.

Method 1: Securely Erase HDD by DBAN

DBAN, also called Dariks Boot and Nuke, which is a free software to erase their hard disk drive safely for Windows 7. It can erase all data on the computer, whether it is the system or some other private information. You can select the disk that need to be erased, if not, all disks will be erased.

You can follow the steps below:

Step 1. First and foremost, you should go to the official site to download the DBAN program and export the ISO file to CD/DVD or USB.

Download DBAN

Step 2. Set the boot sequence for the bootable disk containing the ISO file, and restart your computer. Then you will see a blue screen, and press the “ENTER” to start DBAN in interactive mode.

DBAN

Step 3. Then you will see the erased hard drive on the screen, and type “M” to know the different wiping methods.

Disks and Partitions

Step 4. Choose disk wiping method you will use.

Select Wipe Method

Step 5. Select the hard drive you would like to erase, and then click “Space”.

Wipe Disk

Step 6. Push “F10” to start the wiping process, and then you will see the hard drive is erased successfully.

In general, DBAN can help you to erase the HDD for free, but it is usually used for Windows 7. If you have a higher version of computer, you may have failed to erase the disk. 

In addition, please keep in mind when you are using this software to erase a disk, all the other disks must be unplugged except the system disk and the disk that needs to be erased. If you consider this method is a little bit complicated, you can try the next easier method.

Method 2: Secure Erase HDD by AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a powerful backup software for Windows 11/10/8/7 with disk wipe function, including two disk wiping types and four wiping methods. Therefore, you can choose what to erase as well as which wiping method to use based on your own needs.

As for wiping types, you could choose wipe one of the partitions or wipe the whole disk based on your needs.

  • wiping partition(s) or unallocated space on the disk
  • wipe disk

As for wiping methods, it includes the following four methods:

  • Fill sectors with Zero
  • Fill sectors with random data
  • DoD 52220.22-M
  • Gutmann

And the following are the specific steps.

Step 1. You should download and install the AOMEI Backupper at first and then find the Disk Wipe function in the tools tab, and click it.

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

Disk Wipe

Step 2. Then you will see two options. They are “wipe partitions or unallocated space on the disk” and “wipe disk”. And you should choose “Wipe disk” then click “Next”. By the way, it can’t erase the disk the system is located, otherwise the system will not boot. 

disk wipe

Notes:

  • The first option implies that the software will erase the selected partition or unallocated space and wipe all sectors on it. After wiping, no data can be retrieved.
  • The HDD wipe tool will remove all partitions and wipe all sectors on the disk if you choose the second option. The information can’t be restored.

Step 3. There are four different choices in the wiping method window. You can click the first option “Fill sectors with Zero” and then click the “Start”.

Fill Sectors with Zero

By following the above graphic tutorial, you can safely wipe your HDD with this powerful software. If you want a more thorough way, you can choose to fill sectors with random data, or use DoD 52220.22-M, or Gutmann. Among them, Gutmann is the most through way, which can wipe a hard disk 32 times in total.

Method 3: Destroy a Hard Drive Physically

In order to achieve the purpose of completely erasing HDD and protecting personal privacy,  some people will directly use physical methods to destroy it, such as destroying the hard disk drive with a hammer, or soaking the hard disk in water and then discarding the hard disk.

Although it can erase HDD and protecting privacy, it will cause great damage to the environment and cause pollution of electronic products. It is not conducive to the recycling of disks as well. Therefore, it is not recommended you use this method when other options are available.

FAQs

1. How long does Secure Erase take?

It actually depends on the size of your hard drive. The higher your HDD capacity is, the more time it’ll take. The overall time may also be affected by the speed of the hard drive, the software you use, and possibly the computer’s processor speed.

2. How do I secure erase my laptop?

You could choose download the free software such as DBAN or AOMEI Backupper to erase the data in your laptop.

3. Does Secure Erase damage HDD?

No, wiping or erasing it is not harmful. Unless you do it every day, twice a day. If you're looking for a clean installation of Windows, just delete all the existing partitions when you install. If you were selling the drive, then a Secure Erase would be in order.

Summary

From above, when you need to secure erase your HDD, you have many options to choose. To wipe a disk with DBAN, you must run it in a PE environment, and you can’t select which partition to erase. If you want an easier way, you can certainly choose AOMEI Backupper, which easy to operate and contains more securely wiping methods to protect your data.

And it provides users with many other features as well, like disk backup that can help you back up data before erasing HDD.