Hard Drive: Planning to delete your Windows PC? Here’s how to make sure all personal files on your hard drive are erased and inaccessible, whether you are using Windows 11, 10, 8.1, or 7.
Do you sell or donate your computer? You may have erased your private data by deleting files and reinstalling Windows, but you are not done yet. The last action you need to take before saying goodbye to your old friend is to erase the hard drive.
Most computers now come with solid-state (SSD) drivers, faster than their machine counterparts but which can be difficult to clean. Simply deleting your files does not trick you because they can be restored to the Recycle Bin. And even if you unload Bin, your deleted files can be recovered with the right help.
No matter which version of Windows you use, you can reset the OS to factory defaults using the built-in reset features. However, you will need a good hard drive tool if you are looking for a stronger and more secure way to clear your drive.
Erase Your Drive in Windows 10
In Windows 10, open Settings> Update and security> Restore, then click the Start button. When asked what you want to delete, select Delete Everything. Select the Local Installation option to reinstall Windows on your computer.
Click Change settings and open the switch next to Clear Drive. Click Confirm, then Next, and finally click Reset to begin the process.
After the drive is cleared and Windows is reinstalled, you can proceed to the initial setup process. When you are done, your PC restarts, placing you on the Windows setup screen. If you plan to keep the computer, you can go through the setup process again. If you plan to uninstall PC, just turn it off.
Erase Your Drive in Windows 11
If you update to Windows 11, the process is very similar to the existing Windows 10, with a few tweaks. Open Settings> System> Restore and click Reset PC.
When prompted, select Delete Everything, as in Windows 10. Choose a local installer to reinstall Windows from this device, as it will work faster than cloud downloads. If that doesn’t work, select Cloud download.
From the Additional Settings window, click the Change settings link then open Clean Data Change, then click Confirm. Click Next to begin the process, then click the Reset button.
Your computer then goes through a reset process when your drive is erased and Windows is restarted. You can reset Windows if you plan to keep the computer, otherwise it is safe to close it now.