How to Delete Everything on C Drive

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You can't completely delete your C drive from within Windows, because your C drive holds Windows on it. Wiping the drive completely requires you to use another system entirely. You could physically remove the hard drive and connect it to another computer, but there's a much simpler way: Run an alternative operating system from your CD drive. The best part? It's easier than it sounds.

  • Download the Gparted Live CD. A Live CD is a complete operating system that can boot entirely from your CD drive without being installed to your hard drive. Gparted is a program capable of reformatting hard drives. These two tools together make it possible to wipe a computer's primary hard drive.

  • Burn the Live CD to a blank CD. If you're not sure how to do this, download ISO Record (linked to in "Resources," below). This tool will make burning ISO files easy: Just right-click the ISO and click "Burn to Disc."

  • Insert the Live CD and restart your computer. Make sure the computer boots from the CD; this frequently requires pressing a certain button at boot time. If you're not sure, read the instructions on the screen immediately after you turn the computer on or consult your computer's documentation.

  • Format the drive. Once the Live CD boots, it will load up Gparted on its own and you'll be ready to format. Right-click the drive you want to erase, then click "Delete partition." You can leave the space blank or format the drive for future use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Simply deleting everything on your hard drive doesn't necessarily remove it completely; forensics teams can recover files years after they've been deleted. Completely destroying all data requires the help of data removal experts.
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