How to safely erase and erase your hard drive with Windows 10 and Windows 11

Windows 10 and Windows 11 include tools built into them to help create, copy and safely erase your hard drive as well as USB devices. When you erase data from your drive you need to ensure that nobody will ever retrieve it. If you’re looking for a secure way to erase an external, internal USB or internal hard drive, here’s the procedure you’ll need to do.

Windows 10 and Windows 11 include tools built into them to help create copies, backups, and safely erase your hard drive USB devices external hard drives along with SD cards. In the past, if you desired to quickly erase the contents of a USB flash drive you can utilize the reliable built-in Windows tool to swiftly format your hard drive. When you erase any content you need to be sure that nobody can never recover it.

If you have a solid state drive (SSD) is recommended to begin with encryption. SSDs are more efficient than conventional mechanical hard drives, and they use Flash memory, not magnetic platters for storing information. If you bought a new Windows PC in the past couple of years, you probably already have a solid state hard drive.

If you choose to encrypt your disk, an algorithmic method is employed to mix up the data by using the passkey only you are able to access. Without the passkey, the data on the drive will appear as if they are nonsense. If you’d like to clean your hard drive whether it’s an external drive, external or USB flash drive then follow this guide for a variety of methods to clean your hard drive.

Method 1: Wipe your hard drive using File Explorer

There are many other methods available to safely erase your data off your external, internal as well as USB drive. This is a great option for internal drives, where you don’t have an operating system running USB flash drives and various other storage devices that are external to your computer. Here’s how to go about it.

1. Open File Explorer2. Right-click the drive you’d like to erase 3. Click Format… 4. Make sure that you remove quick format in the Format Option to ensure you can ensure that Windows 10 and Windows 11 can complete the full format. Then, Click to start.

5. Select “OK” to ensure that you’ll erase every thing on the drive.

According to Microsoft’s documentation as of Windows Vista, Windows always writes zeros to the entire disk whenever it is performing an entire format. When it was Windows XP and earlier, the format command did not write zeros to the entire disk during full format.

Method 2: Cleanse your drive with Command Prompt or PowerShell

Another technique that may not be well-known to all is to use Command Prompt or PowerShell. It is possible to use either of these programs to do a complete formatting of any drive that is that is connected with Windows 10. Windows 10 and Windows 11 PC. Here’s how to do it.

1. Start the Command Prompt or PowerShell with Administrator rights.

2a. To access the Command Prompt Copy then paste this text:


Within the Command Prompt command, replace the word VOLUME by your hard drive’s name, and then FLASHDRIVE-LABEL is the name you want the drive to be displayed on File Explorer, FILE-SYSTEM with one of the file systems: FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS depending on the type of file system you’d like to utilize.

Here’s an Command Prompt example for reference:

format . E /v/WorkUSBDrive /fs:exFAT

2b. To use PowerShell 2.b. To use PowerShell, copy and paste the followingcode:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter DRIVELETTER -FileSystem FILESYSTEM -NewFileSystemLabel NewFileSystemName -Full -Force

When you run the PowerShell command, replace DRIVE_LETTER by your hard drive’s name, and FILESYSTEM for FAT-32, exFAT or NTFS, based on the system of files you wish to utilize. If you aren’t sure and you’re using Windows 10, NTFS could be an alternative. Its “-Full” option tells Windows to create full format. The “-Force” indicates that you would like to alter Windows’ default Windows setting that is currently in use.

Here’s an PowerShell sample to refer to:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter E: -FileSystem exFAT -Full -Force

3. Enter Enter to execute the command. It is possible that you need to enter Enter again after your ” Insert new disk for drive ” message to finish the process.

Another option is to start either Command Prompt or PowerShell with administrator privileges and then type in the following commands , as illustrated in the image below.

Method 3: Overwrite deleted data

In mechanical hard drives , or any other external device to store data, you could also use overwriting to make it more secure with the cipher.

The cipher

Utilizing or Command Prompt or PowerShell, copy and paste the following command into PowerShell or Command Prompt:

encryption cipher /w:

Here’s a code sample for reference, using ciphers that clean the C drive.

cipher /w/C //

The problem with cipher is that it requires you to shut down as many programs that are running in the background possible to allow cipher to take over the most space storage space that it can use.


SDelete (Secure Delete) is another command-line utility which can be downloaded to cleanse your hard drives safely. It is possible to use SDelete to safely delete existing files, and erase data files stored on the unallocated portions of the disk (including files you’ve erased or encrypted).

Method 4: Reset your PC

If you own an laptop or PC that has only just one drive the best choice is to utilize Reset PC to reset your computer factory Windows 10. Windows 11 users can make use of Reset PC to resolve any issues they may be experiencing and begin a fresh Windows user experience on the desktop.

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