How to permanently erase all data on a hard drive without leaving a trace?

If you want to permanently delete the files stored on a hard drive, we recommend reading the following information with which you will learn the existing methods.

Note that this tutorial is focused on Windows, but it is also possible to delete all files permanently on Linux . Without further ado let’s continue with this guide to permanently delete your files.

How does file deletion on hard drives work?

Hard drives are the most common storage units in our computers, thanks to them we can store a large amount of information and access it at any time. In any case, deleting files from a hard drive is not as simple as you might think.

When we delete files from a hard disk, they are not completely eliminated from our system, in fact, hard disks do not delete information directly, instead what they do is hide them from visualization, to later overwrite information with new files that enter system.

As you can imagine, this can be inconvenient if you want to protect your privacy, since with a file recovery tool after formatting , anyone could access your information.

If you will continue to use the disk and just want to protect your information, there is the possibility of permanently deleting files from the trash . In any case, if what you want is to give the disk or computer to someone else, the matter can be problematic, fortunately there are some methods with which it is possible to permanently erase the data from a hard disk.

SSD disk

How to permanently erase all data on a hard drive without leaving a trace?

One of the most effective ways to erase information on a hard drive so that it cannot be accessed again is by using the Hard Wipe tool . A very powerful software capable of permanently deleting files from a hard disk, it is also completely free and functional.

  1. To use this method, the first thing you should do is download the Hard Wipe file deletion software, this by doing it through the following Hardwipe link .
  2. Once you are inside the page you will have to locate the “Free Download” section, click on it. After this, the download will begin, which should not take too long, since the file weighs less than 10 MB.
  3. When the download is complete, you must install the software. It is very possible that during the installation special permits will be requested, grant them to continue.
  4. To start using the application, the first thing to do is start it. The application has many configuration options , designed for different situations as we will comment below.

Types of erasure

  • Delete file: this option allows the permanent deletion of a file that you want to delete from your system.
  • Physical devices: selecting this option will delete all the contents present on a hard drive, pendrive or SSD drive. For the latter, bear in mind that the process could reduce the useful life of devices with these characteristics.
  • Volumes: this will delete the information present on the logical disks, that is, the partitions created on the system.
  • Free space: using this option, all those files that may remain within the free space of the hard disk will be deleted.
  • Trash cans: as the name indicates, selecting this option will delete all those files that could be hidden in the recycle bin.

Erasing methods

The program has multiple erasure methods, from the classic Random Data, which it does is overwriting the system files with random files, to the powerful Gutmann.

The Gutmann method will write 35 times on the file you want to delete or on the hard disk, which is why it is considered the best method to permanently erase content from a storage unit.

The Gutmann mode is very efficient to permanently delete files inside a hard disk, in any case, the process is quite extensive. Use this method only when you want to permanently delete information.

Hard drives

The other option

As you will see, it is possible to permanently delete files from a hard disk, in any case, it is a process that can take a long time if the hard disk has enough capacity.

Even so, the other alternative is to physically destroy the hard disk, an option worthy of consideration in the event that you are not going to use the device again and that you do not want anyone to access the information that was stored there at some point, for everything Otherwise, you can use the option we presented above.

In any case, if for some reason you want to save some of the information, you can back up a hard drive with Xcopy , a process that will also work on failed hard drives.

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