Wipe HDD before selling
As you may recall, days ago we wrote a passage about selling my computer and erase data, which shared how to erase data on a computer when the device is infected by virus and when the laptop is well functioned. Today, we'll expand this topic and add more details on how to erase the disk instead of erase the free space so as to clean install Windows 10. We have 3 plans for you to erase the HDD, pick one suits you:
- Plan 1: Wipe the hard drive with a bootable CD
- Plan 2: Wipe the hard drive with a boot USB
- Plan 3: Connect the old hard drive to another PC
OK, before we step into each plan, we need to make a bootable USB of Windows 10, no license key requires, just download the tool from Microsoft, and do as follow to create the USB first. And it is better to have a more than 5GB USB flash drive. If you already have a Windows 10 setup disc or ISO file, you can skip this section.
1. Run MediaCreationTool.exe and click Yes to the UAC dialog.
2. Click the option Create installation media for another PC and click Next to continue.
3. Check the Use the recommend options for this PC and again Next.
4. Click USB flash drive and you'll see it needs at least 5GB and yes, Next.
5. Select the USB you plugged in and Next, and then you'll see the Downloading Windows 10 message. You'll wait for some minutes.
6. Click Finish when you see the Your USB flash drive is ready window.
7. Plug out the USB drive and put it get ready to wipe the hard drive.
You can check all the screenshots here.
Windows cannot wipe itself when it is running and that's why we need to create a bootable CD to wipe the system and the hard drive clean before its boot to the system. Check the steps below:
1. Insert a blank burnable CD/DVD after you plug out the Windows Setup USB.
2. Download ByebyeData Eraser, install and Run the program.
3. Click Bootable media and Eraser will guide you to create the ISO file.
4. Double click the ISO file of ByebyeData Eraser and it will burn to the blank CD.
5. Close the program and other running programs, and Restrat the computer.
6. boot from CD and Click Erase disk when ByebyeData Eraser shows.
7. Select Disk 0 or the hard drive you want to erase.
8. Select one erasing plan for the hard drive and click Erase Now.
By now, we have erased the hard drive clean and it is an empty disk, nothing in it, nothing can get anything back, the data recovery software you're worrying about will not get a clue of your personal information. And it is time to reinstall Windows 10 and sell the computer:
1. Insert Windows 10 Setup CD/DVD/USB and reboot from the media you plugged in.
2. Follow the Setup guide to clean install Windows 10.
Plan 2 is the alternative to plan 1 when you don't have a blank CD or CD-Row to burn the ISO file. Steps are almost the same, but you need to use third party software like Rufus to burn the ISO file to USB, take Rufus for example:
1. Download Rufus from here: https://rufus.akeo.ie/
2. Run it and plug in the USB.
3. Select the one you just connected from the Device dropdown menu.
4. Partition scheme and target system type, leave it as default.
5. File system, default it OK, NTFS has no problem too.
6. Cluster size, default is good.
7. Check all the four checkbox and choose ISO image in the "Create a bootable disk using " line.
8. Click Start and Rufus will burn ByebyeData Eraser ISO file to the USB.
And now you can repeat step 5-8 in plan 1 and repeat the clean install Windows 10 step.
This is another plan for old hard drive erasing when blank CD or USB is not available, we can take this advantage to disassemble the computer and clean the internal dust and take out the hard drive. it is better to connect the hard drive to a powered off desktop with a SATA cable and a power cable, which are always available on PCs, when the connection is completed, start the desktop and Run ByebyeData Eraser, then we'll use steps below to erase the old hard drive:
1. Click Erase disk and select the old hard drive.
2. Specify a wiping standard for the disk and click Erase Now.
3. Confirm and Eraser will start to erase the hard drive.
The whole process may take some time depends on the wiping plan you have chosen, the simpler the faster. If you choose the very complex method, the 35 passes overwrite plan, it will take about a week on a 1TB hard drive. So the simple and advanced erasing methods may satisfy you and safe time, of course, they can ensure data safe too.