How to Wipe a Hard Drive on a Dead Computer

Do you have a lot of important data on your computer, like passwords and personal information? Or your bank or company computers are now going to die being old but contain highly professional data, banking information of clients, or any other type of client dealings?

You can never be sure how secure your data is when it is stored on a dead computer, and it is always a question of whether or not you can wipe a hard disc from a dead computer. The answer is a resounding yes! Even if your computer does not boot up or is completely dead, you may still delete the hard disc. Let’s discuss this question in detail to understand it more profoundly.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive on a Dead Computer

Use a functional computer.

It is the easiest and most practical approach if you want to delete the whole data from your hard disk. The problem occurred with your computer, not with your hard disk. So, the hard disk is completely safe to use while putting it into any other computer.

In order to do the next procedures, you’ll need a second computer that can accommodate an additional hard drive that you can use for the wiping operation.

If your computer does not have the capability of supporting an additional hard drive, you may still use your hard drive by upgrading the enclosure to one that supports USB. When you’ve got your hard disc to function with your computer, you may move on to the next stages in this approach.

First, verify that the hard disc is functioning properly by connecting it to the computer. On Windows, the drive will display as ‘Disk D,’ whereas on macOS, the drive will be immediately visible on the desktop.

You will get the ease of wiping your hard drive with a simple option of the operating system’s formatting utility. To clean the data, right-click on the drive in Windows and choose “Format.”

It’s recommended to keep the format settings at their default values, though you have an opportunity to customize them according to your choices. To begin the process of wiping your hard drive, click on the ‘Start’ button.

Apparently, it looks easy but with a major drawback. This type of removing data is easy to recover. You can easily recover all erased files with easy file recovery software.

This type of wiping is good if you need to delete only corrupted files or want some space to save some data. But if you have concerns regarding your important personal or official data, you need to do further work to delete the data permanently so that no one can recover it. Otherwise, anyone can easily access it, and it can cause a problem for you.

Remove permanently

The procedure mentioned above can’t remove the data permanently; thus, any professional can easily recover it. But if you want to remove your professional files on your own, you can do it also. There are several free software and application that can help you in this regard.

Erasers: Best free application to remove data permanently. This software is especially for Windows.

CleanMyDrive: This application is best for Mac. It removes the data instantly.

Physically Destroy the Hard Drive

After all these efforts, If you still feel fearful, it’s time to destroy your hard drive physically. However, many people suggest several ways, but here I’m going to discuss only two ways used by most people.

  • To begin, take out the dead PC’s hard drive.
  • Set the drive down on a firm surface and secure it with a clamp to prevent it from moving. It’s best to protect your hands and eyes by using an apron, gloves, and safety goggles when smashing.
  • To break the internal platters, you’ll need to give it a good thwack with a hard hammer. However, this may need some effort and time, so persevere until you hear the plate pieces rattling. After that, the process completes.

The other method is the use of a drill machine.

  • You can use a drill machine to make drills into your drive. It is also an effective way to pierce the hard drive platters and finally destroy them.
  • Consider damaging all data connections on the drive as well as the PCB of the drive to make data recovery from the drive even more difficult.

So, by using these tricks, you can physically make your disk impossible to insert into any computer.

Use Eraser Hardware

The next way to get stress-free from your data’s security point of view is not pocket-friendly advice. Drive eRazer Ultra, a stand-alone gadget that functions even if your computer is dead, is a great solution. The only drawback is the price.

But you can seriously think about it if you have a lot of drives to delete permanently in the future; for example, if you want to use it commercially or on a big basis, then, by all means, go ahead and use it.

However, if you need it only once, then it would put a lot of pressure on your piggy bank but remember, this is the best option you have at this point to remove highly official or important data permanently.

Wipe Hard Drive from Windows

If you receive an error notification or a pop-up warning that your files or data is corrupted, what will be your next step. It is obvious that you will delete the data to secure your laptop or personal computer or keep it functional.

Windows 10 includes a built-in tool that allows you to wipe up the contents of your hard disc. Once you have reset your computer, it will appear as though it has a brand new hard drive. If your computer is corrupted, not performing properly, or showing an error due to any other reason, you can restore it to its factory settings. Here are some easy-to-follow instructions.

  • Go to Settings of your windows.
  • Select “Update & Security” option.
  • Move to “Recovery.”
  • Find the option of “reset the PC.”
  • Find and click on “Get Started” from the drop-down list.
  • Select “Remove everything.”
  • Then you receive a warning that you will lose your data.
  • Choose the option “Accept it.”
  • It may take a while for all of the data to be deleted completely.
  • Once it’s done, your laptop is completely fine now, with no corrupted files or errors.

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Wipe Hard Drive from macOS

But sometimes your laptop or pc just shows you some notifications regarding viruses or alerts you about the damage it creates. So before your mac dies, wiping your hard drive is a good idea.

Disk Utility is a built-in tool for wiping off your whole hard drive’s contents in macOS. So, you don’t need to use any additional software or buy any stand-alone device to erase your hard drive data. However, the primary aim of the disk utility is to provide information about the amount of storage space available on your Mac. While on the other hand, it can permanently erase all the stored data. However, you have the ability to entirely erase anything, even external storage devices that are attached to your mac. Here are a few straightforward actions you need to perform to wipe your hard drive.

  1. First, you have to open a spotlight search.
  2. Type “Disk Utility” in the search bar.
  3. Go to its “Hard Drive” section.
  4. Find the erase button, and click on it.
  5. And then you will see the magic; within a minute, all your Hard Drive data is permanently deleted.  

FAQs

Is there a way to completely wipe a hard drive?

Making it physically impossible to access the discs is a definite technique to destroy the hard drive fully. You can accomplish it by disassembling the hard disc with a screwdriver and then scratching and mangling the disc with a hammer.

Can you destroy a hard drive by putting it in water?

When a hard drive is submerged in water, the water has the potential to cause a short circuit, particularly if the water dries out on the platters of the hard drive. On the other hand, water will neither erase nor wipe any data on a hard disc. Since it will stay on the platters, experienced data recovery specialists can still retrieve information from a hard disc that has been submerged in water.

Does removing a hard drive remove all data?

Removing a hard drive removes data from your computer because a PC can’t save data by itself; it stores it in HDD or SDD. On the other hand, the data remains safe in your hard drive. To permanently delete it, wipe your hard drive.

The Final Thought

Whatever your reason for permanently deleting the data from your hard drive, I have discussed every way to do it. You get every piece of information from the easiest to the hardest, cheapest or expensive, and I hope now you have enough knowledge about how to wipe a hard drive on a dead computer.

So, what are you waiting for? Apply any of these tips to remove your personal or professional data to secure it from any hacker.

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