How to Wipe a Hard Drive

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Wiping a computer's hard drive can be done in the "Disk Management" section, which can be reached by right-clicking on "My Computer." Reformat a hard drive with IT help from a software developer in this free video on using computers.

Part of the Video Series: Computer Help
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Dave Andrews, and today I'm going to show you how to wipe a hard drive. Let's go to our computer. I have a hard drive in this computer that I want to completely wipe. If I open up My Computer, I have it as my F drive here. And there's a file on there that you know I just want to make sure it gets wiped and completely erased. So to do that, let's close my computer, right click on it again, go to manage. Now in Vista you have to be the administrator, just click continue. Now what we're interested in here in the computer management screen is this disk management. Let's click on that. It pulls up a list of all the drives and disks that are on this computer. Let's find the one that we wanted to format which was the F drive. Now what we're going to do with this drive to clear the data off of it is we're going to reformat it. So let's just right click on this volume that is on that drive, just say format. Now it's going to ask you for a new volume label for that drive, I'm just going to call it new drive. For file system, use NTFS because that is Microsoft's newest version of their file system. But if you wanted to interface with Macintosh or Linux PCs that are not Windows based you want to use FAT. Now this quick format right here, check box will tell it that you don't want it to scan every block in the hard drive to search for problems. If you're wanting to erase the hard drive quickly, then you would have it do a quick format, but if you want to check it for problems, you would leave that unchecked. That's generally a good idea. And let's just say okay. That's going to warn that you are about to completely clear all the data on that drive, so just click okay. Now it is now formatting that drive and completely erasing all the data off of it. My name is Dave Andrews and I've just showed you how to clear the data on a hard drive.

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