- 1 How to Factory Reset Windows 10
- 2 Recovery Settings
- 3 Will You Save or Remove Your Files?
- 4 Additional Settings
- 5 How to reset your Windows 10 laptop: Format your PC
- 6 How to reset your Windows 10 PC
- 7 How to reformat Windows 10 from the sign-in screen
- 8 Windows 10 Quick Fixes
- 9 3 Ways to Wipe & Reinstall Windows 10
- 10 When Should I Re-install Windows?
- 11 Three Ways to Do a Clean Reinstall of Windows
- 12 Reset this PC for a Clean Install
- 13 Reinstall Windows from DVD or Bootable USB Drive
- 14 Reinstall Windows from Your Install Media, from Inside of Windows
- 15 Welcome to Your Fresh Windows Install
- 16 How to Wipe a Drive on Windows 10 or Windows 11
- 17 What You Need to Know
- 18 Option 1: Wipe Any Entire Drive
- 19 Option 2: Wipe Only Free Space
- 20 Option 3: Wipe Your Windows System Drive
- 21 3 Methods to Completely Wipe Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7/XP
- 22 Overview on wiping a hard drive
- 23 What to do before wiping a hard drive?
- 24 Method1: Completely wipe computer by resetting your PC
- 25 Method2: Wipe hard drive using free hard drive eraser software
- 26 Method3: Clean PC hard drive by physically destroying it
- 27 Conclusion
- 28 3 ways to reset your Windows 10 computer to fix issues and improve performance
- 29 Restore your Windows 10 computer
- 30 Refresh your Windows 10 computer
- 31 Factory reset your Windows 10 computer
- 32 How to erase my hard drive and start over
- 33 Erasing the hard drive and reinstalling Windows
- 34 Windows 11
- 35 Windows 10
- 36 Windows 8
- 37 Windows 7 and Vista
- 38 Windows XP and 2000
- 39 Earlier versions of Windows and DOS
How to Factory Reset Windows 10
“fDenyTSConnections” is set to 1 by using the Set-ItemProperty command with the path ‘HKLM:SystemCurrentControlSetControlTerminal Server’, the name “fDenyTSConnections” and the value 1 (instead of the default value of 0). Remote Desktop is disabled by using the Disable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup command.
To enter the Settings window, go to the Start menu and click the gear symbol in the lower left corner of the screen. You may also choose the Settings app from the list of available apps. Under Settings, choose UpdateSecurityRecovery, and then select Get started under Reset this PC under Reset this computer.
Will You Save or Remove Your Files?
You have two choices at this point: either preserve your personal data and merely delete downloaded programs and settings, or erase everything and start again. Both options will also provide you with more configuration options. If you are resetting Windows in order to undo a mistake, select Keep my files first from the Reset Windows menu. If you intend to get rid of your computer, the best course of action is to remove everything from it.
PCMag-Recommended Windows Accessories
After that, you’ll be asked if you wish to reinstall Windows through cloud download or local reinstallation. Using the cloud option, which was introduced in the May 2020 update, your computer will download Windows installation files from Microsoft’s servers rather of requesting that your machine gather the required data from local storage. While Windows provides you the option, the cloud download option is intended to be a faster and more dependable alternative to accessing local files, which may become damaged as a result of the process.
When you select Keep my files, the programs and settings on the PC will be reset to the state they were in when it was first turned on, but your personal data will be retained. Any pre-installed applications will also be reinstated, but you may prevent this from happening by selectingChange settingsfrom the Additional Settings menu and turning off the Restore feature. If you wish to delete everything, simply choose Remove everything from the drop-down menu, and Windows will destroy all of your data.
You may, however, choose to entirely wipe the disk clean by selectingChange settingsfrom the Additional Settings page and setting theClean data?option to Yes.
If you want to get rid of your computer, Microsoft suggests erasing the hard disk entirely.
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As soon as you have completed all of your decisions, click Next, and Windows will produce a screen that summarizes all of the decisions you have already made. If you choose Keep my files, you will be able to see a list of the applications that will be deleted as a result of the reset. Finally, clickResetto make a final commitment. Your computer will restart, and after a few minutes, it will begin to boot up once more. If you are planning to get rid of your computer, your task is completed.
Otherwise, you may log back into Windows 10 to ensure that everything you selected to be deleted has been completely erased from the computer’s memory. In the event that you used an online backup service or a Recovery Drive to back up your files, they can now be restored to the system.
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How to reset your Windows 10 laptop: Format your PC
When it comes to Windows 10, there are several issues that might arise, ranging from the unexpected loss of data to difficulties installing updates. If your computer isn’t operating as well as it should, if it’s displaying unusual problems, or if it’s running sluggish, it’s probably time to conduct a reset. A reset of your Windows 10 laptop may also be necessary if you’re upgrading to a new device and want to sell your old one at the same time. Without a doubt, you wouldn’t want to hand over a laptop with sensitive information and personal papers to a complete stranger.
Reformatting your computer or restoring it to a previous state will remove any unwanted background programs from your computer’s hard disk and clear the hard drive of any superfluous data.
Using the Settings menu in Windows 10, here’s how you can reset your computer.
How to reset your Windows 10 PC
1. Navigate to theSettings menu. Clicking on thegear symbol on the Start menu will take you to that location. (Image courtesy of Future) 2.SelectUpdateSecurity (Image courtesy of Future) 3.SelectRecoveryfrom the left-hand navigation pane. (Image courtesy of Future) When you start Windows, you are presented with three primary options: Reset this computer; Revert to a previous version of Windows 10; and Advanced startup are all options. Resetting this computer is the most effective method of starting again.
- Go back to a prior version of Windows is a feature designed for people who enjoy reminiscing about the good old days and wish to restore their system to a previous version of the operating system.
- (Image courtesy of Future) 5.Select Get started from the Reset this PC drop-down menu.
- Depending on whether you want to save your data files or not, you may wish to remove everything.
- It will do exactly what it says: it will remove all of your information, photographs, and software programs.
- Cleaning the disk will take much longer, but it will ensure that, if you are giving the computer away, the next owner will not be able to recover any of the information you have deleted.
- (Image courtesy of Future) 7.Regardless of whatever option you choose above, the next step is to determine whether you want to install Windows via the cloud or from a local computer (from your device).
(Image courtesy of Future) 8.If Windows informs you that you will not be able to roll back to a previous version of the operating system, click Next. 9.When asked, select Reset. After that, Windows will restart and take several minutes to completely reset itself.
How to reformat Windows 10 from the sign-in screen
Alternatively, if your laptop is performing strangely and you are unable to enter the settings menu, you may try resetting your computer from the sign-in screen.
- Lon your keyboard by pressing the Windows logo key and the Lon key. This will take you to the Windows 10 sign-in page. Click Finish. Instead of logging in, you may reset your computer by pressing and holding the Shift key while pressing and holding the Power button. In the lower-right corner of the screen, click on the restart button. It is possible that your computer will restart in the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). ChooseTroubleshootReset this PC from the options menu on the left. Choose one of the alternatives from the options mentioned above to proceed.
Now that you know how to reset your Windows 10 computer, you should experience fewer problems (hopefully). And if you’re thinking about selling or giving your laptop away, you may do so with confidence, knowing that the new owner will not have access to your files or information.
Windows 10 Quick Fixes
- Disable or enable Grayscale Mode
- Repair Windows 10
- Remove the Lock Screen
- Reinstall Windows 10
- Apps may be made to run in Compatibility Mode. Obtaining access to the BIOS on a Windows 10 computer
- Stop Windows Update from restarting your computer on its own own
- Turn off app notifications if they are not needed. Improve the performance of the Windows Downloads Folder
- Disable personalized advertisements on Microsoft websites and applications. Stop the annoyance of Skype’s automatic updates
- Resolve the ‘Boot Configuration Data File is Missing’ error message
- Delete the history of the Run command
- Cortana should be turned off. Uninstall and reinstall pre-installed applications
- Restore a Battery Icon that has gone missing
- Resolve a problem with the Boot Configuration File
- To access the Advanced Startup Options Menu, press F2. Delete a locked file
- Restart without restarting
- Restart without rebooting
- Windows 10 may be rolled back to a previous version
- Remove the option to allow automatic driver downloads. Internet Explorer should be disabled. Windows updates can be paused for up to 35 days. Make use of Battery Saver. Upgrade to Windows 10 S if you want to save money. The Best Windows 10 Tips
- The Most Annoying Features of Windows 10
- How to Download Netflix Videos for Offline Viewing Disable the Password Prompt when you wake up.
Disable or enable Grayscale Mode; repair Windows 10; remove the Lock Screen; and more. Apps may be made to work in Compatibility Mode. On a Windows 10 computer, enter the BIOS settings; Stop Windows Update from restarting your computer on its own initiative. Notifications in the app should be turned off. The Windows Downloads Folder is opening slowly, and this needs to be fixed. Microsoft Sites and Apps can be customized to prevent personalized ads from being served; The annoying automatic updates in Skype should be turned off.
- Cortana should be turned off; Built-in applications can be removed and restored.
- Identify and correct a problem with the Boot Configuration File To access the Advanced Startup Options Menu, press F1.
- Windows 10 may be rolled back to a previous version.
- Disable Internet Explorer if it is currently installed.
- Employ Battery Saver to conserve battery life Microsoft has released a Windows 10 S update.
3 Ways to Wipe & Reinstall Windows 10
That the days of reinstalling Windows every six months are over is something we can all appreciate. However, there are occasions when we must revert to the last resort method of solving the problem. Sometimes you simply have to throw everything away and start again from the beginning.
When Should I Re-install Windows?
There are a number of things you may do to resolve small and significant Windows-related issues. The Check Disk (CHKDSK) software is extremely useful for resolving file system difficulties that arise as a result of faulty sectors on hard drives. We can teach you how to use the CHKDSK command to repair file system problems in Windows. It is possible to discover and solve a wide range of Windows faults using the System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tools.
We have an entire essay dedicated to the usage of SFC and DISM.
If that doesn’t work, and you’re convinced that the problem isn’t a hardware issue, it may be necessary to restart the computer from the beginning.
WARNING: We’re talking about completely erasing all of your files and apps and starting over from scratch. Make a copy of your files on an external device or in a cloud storage service to ensure they are safe.
Three Ways to Do a Clean Reinstall of Windows
There are three different methods for performing a clean reinstall of Windows. We’ll be focused on Windows 10 for the time being. For those of you who are on Windows 8.1 or earlier, the first two options are for you.
- Perform a Reset from the Windows Settings menu option. Reinstalling by restarting with installation media, such as a DVD or bootable USB device, is the recommended method. Reinstall Windows from the inside of the operating system using the installation media
Reset this PC for a Clean Install
It is recommended that you use this method first when attempting to fully clean your machine and reinstall Windows 10. Everything about it is straightforward; you won’t need a DVD or USB device, and you won’t even be required to input your Windows license key. Start typingSettings in the Type here to searchbar at the top of the page. When the Settings tool is shown, click on it to begin its use. Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings box and click on UpdateSecurity. On the left-hand side of the UpdateSettings box, select Recovery from the drop-down menu.
- To completely erase everything from your computer, use theRemove everything option from the menu bar.
- This is followed by a message informing you that the current setting is to simply delete your files.
- This won’t suffice because we’re aiming for a comprehensive clean-up.
- To access the data erasure option in this window, click on theOffbutton at the bottom of the window.
- After a few seconds, you’ll see theReady to reset this PCwindow appear on your screen.
- It will get ready to do the reset.
- It took around 15 minutes throughout our test.
- As soon as your computer restarts, you’ll see the Windows logo and the words “Please be patient.” The screen may then go black for a few minutes after that.
- The Windows logo will appear again, with the words Reset this PC appearing beneath it.
- Depending on your computer, this might take anything from a few minutes to an hour or more.
Reinstall Windows from DVD or Bootable USB Drive
You’ll need either the Windows DVD that came with your machine or one that you purchased separately, or a bootable USB stick that contains Windows. Many laptop and computer manufacturers have included applications in their Windows installations to assist you in creating these recovery disks. If you didn’t create a backup plan when you first purchased your computer, now is the time to do it. Making use of your computer’s manufacturer’s official Windows installation is the best option since it will include all of the device drivers that are particular to the make and model of your machine.
- We can also point you in the direction of Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 ISOs.
- The Windows Media Creation program will walk you through the process of creating a bootable USB drive or DVD from your computer.
- It’s next necessary to boot your computer from the DVD or USB disk you just created.
- It’s most likely set to boot from your hard drive first, which is a bad thing.
- When your computer first starts up, you’ll be greeted with the Windows installation wizard, which will guide you through the installation process step by step.
- Custom: is the option to select at this stage.
- It is possible that you may be asked where you would like to install Windows.
- Select that option and then click Next.
- For the first several minutes, you’ll be presented with a screen similar to the one below.
- It will proceed through a number of steps without requiring any interaction on your part.
Please wait a moment. You’re on the home stretch. This will take many minutes and will require reading through further content. You will now be at the Windows installation stage. Continue through this process to get Windows configured, and you’ll be all set.
Reinstall Windows from Your Install Media, from Inside of Windows
This procedure should only be used as a last resort. The process of resetting this computer is simpler and quicker. Obviously, this is not an option for everyone, so let us look at how to re-install Windows from within your present operating system. One advantage of this technique is that you should not be required to input your Windows product key in order for it to function. Insert the Windows installation disc into the computer. Open it by navigating to it in the File Explorer. Then look for the Windows installation disk that came with your computer.
- It will ask you if you want to allow this app to make changes to this device in the User Account Control (UAC) window that will appear.
- After a few period of time, a little window displaying the Windows logo will appear, followed by the words “preparing.” It will calculate the percentage of preparedness.
- It states that it will install Windows 10 and that it will connect to the internet to download updates.
- Click on theNextbutton for the sake of this article.
- Please take a look at it and click on Accept when finished.
- This could take some time.
- It may state that personal files and applications will be retained.
There will be three options available: Personal files and apps are retained, personal files only are retained, and nothing is retained.
It will then quickly proceed through some of the screens, as it did previously, and you will be presented with the large blueInstalling Windows 10screen.
Your computer will automatically restart after a period of time.
Getting Windows up and running.
This will continue for a few minutes more.
Please be patient.
This is going to take some time.
Yes, it does take a while to complete. It took us well over an hour to complete our test run. At long last, the computer will restart, and you should find yourself back at your login window once more. Log in and follow the on-screen instructions to set up Windows.
Welcome to Your Fresh Windows Install
It’s possible to install Windows in three different methods, each of which totally wipes away everything on your computer. This is the beginning of a new chapter. Just keep in mind that if you wish to retrieve any of your old information, you’d best have them backed up to a cloud service or on an external hard drive beforehand! Take pleasure in your new Windows installation.
How to Wipe a Drive on Windows 10 or Windows 11
Photograph courtesy of Daniel Krason/Shutterstock.com Windows includes built-in capabilities that allow you to safely erase the contents of a hard disk by writing zeros to it. This assures that erased files on the disk can’t be retrieved if they are accidentally removed. Learn how to erase an internal hard disk or an external USB drive, regardless of whether you desire to do so.
What You Need to Know
In many cases, it is feasible to recover erased files from a hard disk. Whether or whether this is feasible is dependent on a variety of circumstances. The recovery of lost data is simple if the drive is a classic magnetic drive with a spinning platter, because deleted files are simply “marked” as deleted and will be overwritten in the future, making data recovery simple. As a result, contemporary solid-state drives should be configured to employ TRIM by default, guaranteeing that deleted files are removed from the system as soon as they are erased.
It is possible to “wipe” a drive in order to avoid this from occuring.
Taking this step is especially critical when selling or otherwise disposing of a computer, hard drive, or USB stick that may have included sensitive personal information about you or your family.
If an attacker is unable to obtain your encryption key, they will not be able to retrieve deleted items from a drive—in fact, they will not even be able to access files that have not yet been deleted by you.
Option 1: Wipe Any Entire Drive
All that is required to completely erase the contents of any drive is to do a full format of the drive. Before you proceed, keep in mind that doing so will totally wipe out all of the information on the hard drive. Additionally, you will be unable to execute a full format of your Windows system disk while Windows is operating from it. This approach is great for internal drives that do not have your operating system loaded, USB flash drives, and other external storage devices, as well as any full partitions that you wish to delete completely.
Select “Format” from the context menu by right-clicking on it.
This will guarantee that Windows 10 or Windows 11 does a full format rather than a partial format.
You can modify any additional formatting settings you like in this section; just make sure “Quick Format” isn’t ticked.
Depending on the size and speed of the disk, the procedure may take a long period of time. The format operation will completely wipe out everything on the disk, so proceed with caution. Before starting, make a backup of any vital files you may have.
Option 2: Wipe Only Free Space
For mechanical hard drives and external storage devices, once you’ve erased certain files, you might wish to wipe only the vacant space on the disk, overwriting it with zeros. As a result, those accidentally lost data will not be able to be retrieved without erasing the entire disk. This is possible with Windows 10 and Windows 11, but you’ll have to use the command line to accomplish it. It is possible to delete a drive’s vacant space by using thecyphercommand integrated with Windows, which will overwrite it with information.
To be on the safe side, only one pass should be necessary.
You may access these options by right-clicking the Start button or pressing Windows+X and selecting “Windows PowerShell (Admin)”, “Command Prompt (Admin),” or “Windows Terminal” from the drop-down menu.
Alternatively, you may use the following command, substituting X for the drive letter of the disk for which you wish to erase empty space: cipher /w:X: cipher You may execute the following commands on your D: drive, for example, if you wish to clear off any spare space on that disk: cipher /w:D: cipher /w:D: The progress of the command will be displayed at the command line.
Option 3: Wipe Your Windows System Drive
If you wish to completely erase your Windows operating system disk, there is a simple technique to accomplish this. Despite the fact that it is not activated by default, this feature is integrated within the Reset This PC feature on Windows 10 and Windows 11. If you want to erase your system disk while Windows is restoring itself to factory default settings (in other words, reinstalling Windows), you may tell it to do so. When you sell your computer or give it to someone else, you should make use of this feature to keep your sensitive information safe.
- Under Reset This PC, select “Get Started” from the drop-down menu.
- Under Recovery Options, select “Reset PC” from the drop-down menu.
- Choose either “Local Reinstall” or “Cloud Download” from the drop-down menu; either will work for this operation.
- It is beneficial to use the ” Cloud Download ” feature if your local Windows operating system files are damaged and the Reset This PC process will not function properly otherwise.
- Select “Change Settings” from the drop-down menu under Additional Settings.
- This choice will cause Windows to “clean the disk,” making it considerably more difficult (theoretically, practically impossible) to restore your files once they have been deleted.
- You may now click “Confirm” to proceed with the process of resetting your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC and wiping your hard drive while doing so.
- Make a backup of anything that is necessary before you begin.
3 Methods to Completely Wipe Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7/XP
The following is a table of contents:
Overview on wiping a hard drive
For the majority of users, selling or giving away a computer or hard drive is standard practice when they wish to get rid of an old equipment or upgrade to a new one. It is possible that you have previously formatted or erased files from your hard drive in order to eliminate sensitive personal data and prevent becoming a victim of identity theft. Although the reality remains that wiping off a hard drive is more difficult than just removing data or formatting a hard drive. Because deleted files may readily be retrieved by recovery software, simply deleting files with Shift + Delete or emptying the Recycle Bin does not ensure that data is completely erased from your computer.
- In spite of the fact that the operating system cannot recognize deleted or formatted data and the disk seems to be empty, typical users may simply recover lost data with the aid of hard drive recovery software.
- I’m planning on selling it, but I want to make sure that all of my personal information is properly deleted beforehand.
- My whole hard drive has been backed up to an external hard drive, and I’m hoping that one of you can walk me through the process of cleaning up the computer from top to bottom.
- Thank you very much!” What is the difference between deleting and formatting and erasing a hard drive?
- If you answered yes, you should take another look at this situation.
- An electronic hard drive is a type of data storage device that is used to store digital information.
- When reading or writing data, a hard disk converts the magnetic property of the platter surface to a value of 1 or 0.
For example, when a system saves data such as images, music, and other files to a hard drive, rows of zeros and ones are written on the drive’s platters.
This means that restoring deleted filescan be done before the data in those files is overwritten or otherwise destroyed.
Formatting operates in a similar manner, with the exception that it does not really erase data.
Recovery software is also capable of recovering deleted files on a formatted hard drive.
Because deletion and formatting do not operate on a permanently clean hard drive, you might be wondering how disk wiping works.
As previously stated, in order to totally wipe the disk, we must delete the binary data, which entails overwriting the zeros and ones with new data, as shown above.
The use of professional disk eraser software can prevent data recovery by filling the disk with zeros or random information in each sector, guaranteeing that the drive is completely erased.
What to do before wiping a hard drive?
Performing some preliminary work before to wiping a computer’s hard drive can ensure that the process is finished without interruption or the occurrence of unexpected problems during the wiping process.
- Installing hard disk erase software is as simple as downloading it and installing it. Using a disk wipe tool is required if you intend to clear your hard drive on your own time. You should choose one tool that is simple to use and effective for the job at hand. Ensure that the software you intend to use on the computer can operate on a bootable disk before proceeding. Check to see that the battery is fully charged. Make sure the battery is fully charged or that the laptop is connected to power before you begin wiping the hard drive. If the power goes off while the disk is being cleared, it might mean doom for the drive. Make a copy of your data on a separate hard drive. When you wipe your computer, everything on it will be gone, so you should make a backup of any information you wish to save on another hard drive before you erase your computer completely. You may either clone your hard drive or just copy and paste files onto that disk. Remember to keep track of your software’s serial numbers. Those software you purchased will be lost if you wipe your computer, and you will need to reinstall them on a fresh hard drive after doing so. Remember to write down the serial number of each software so that you may reactivate them following reinstallation. Drivers should be downloaded. The download of essential drivers for the new system may be required if you want to reinstall the operating system after the hard drive has been entirely wiped clean. Alternatively, you may visit the device’s official web site and download the most recent drivers
- Create a bootable disk on your computer. If you’re erasing the main hard drive of your computer, you’ll have to do it without starting the operating system, such as by using WinPE to do it. Then you’ll need a bootable USB device or CD to get you started.
Once everything is set, you may begin deleting the hard drive of your computer or any external devices. How to erase a hard drive, an external disk, an SD card or a flash drive will be covered in greater detail in the remaining sections of this guide.
Method1: Completely wipe computer by resetting your PC
If you use the reset feature in Windows 8.1 or 10, you may completely erase your computer’s hard drive. This tool is available when reinstalling the operating system and allows you to delete everything on the hard drive. This tutorial uses the operating system Windows 10 to demonstrate how to fully erase a machine. If your computer is running an earlier version of Windows, you can try the procedures in Method 2 to completely wipe the hard disk on your computer. The following are the methods to completely erase a hard disk in Windows 10: Step 1.
- The ” UpdateSecurity ” option may be found in the Windows Settings pane.
- Step 3.Choose the “Remove everything” radio button.
- Step 4.When prompted whether or not to clean the drives, choose ” Remove files and clean the drive ” from the drop-down menu.
- Step 5.To finish the process, click on the ” Next ” and ” Reset ” buttons on the following steps.
Method2: Wipe hard drive using free hard drive eraser software
The most secure method of permanently erasing data is to overwrite it with zeros or random data and then refill the hard drive with zeros or random data. This ensures that no data can be recovered using disk recovery software. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Cleansing your hard drive is not a difficult task nowadays, and disk wipe software makes it simple and secure to remove your data from your computer’s disk. DiskGenius Free Edition is a free hard disk erase program that may be downloaded.
With this hard disk eraser, you may completely wipe out all of the data on your hard drive by filling the disk sector by sector, rendering all files unrecoverable.
The following are the characteristics of the disk cleaning function:
- Delete all information from a hard disk or partition in its entirety. Remove some existing files from the system permanently so that they cannot be retrieved
- Safely erase erased data without impacting the integrity of existing data
- Supports the creation of a bootable USB drive, which allows you to utilize the program in the event that your computer fails to boot. Supports all popular file systems, including NTFS, FAT32, FAT16, FAT12, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, and Ext4, among others. It is compatible with a wide range of storage media, including hard drives, external hard drives, solid state drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, virtual disks, and so on. There is a portable version available in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.
Obtainable for Free The following content introduces how to erase data in various situations, and you can choose which method to use depending on your specific needs. For example, if you want to wipe an SD card or other removable devices, Case 1 is the appropriate solution; if you want to wipe a computer, Case 2 is the appropriate solution; and so on. Case1: Erase a secondary hard disk, an external hard drive, an SD card, or a USB flash drive in Windows 10/8/7 without causing damage. Through the use of the free disk erase With DiskGenius Free Edition, you may fully erase hard disks and portable devices by rewriting sectors to the number 00 or a random sequence of letters and numbers.
- To erase your hard disk or USB drives in Windows 10/8/7, follow the methods outlined below.
- When you install and run DiskGenius from your PC, you will be able to view all of your local disks and portable devices listed on the main screen.
- Step 4.Select the things that will be used to fill disk sectors and click theErasebutton on the popped-up box that appears.
- Random Data is the default option.
- Step 5.When DiskGenius requests confirmation for the action, click the Erasebutton to proceed.
- Step 6.The disk eraser begins erasing data from the selected drive, and the procedure may take a long time if the disk has a considerable amount of storage space.
- In this example, you will learn how to erase the primary hard disk of a computer, which is where Windows is installed.
This circumstance allows us to wipe the hard disk using a Pre-OS environment, such as Windows PE.
Installing your USB flash drive and selecting “Create WinPE bootable USB drive of DiskGenius” from the Tools menu will result in a bootable WinPE USB stick being created.
Open the free disk wiping software DiskGenius from your Windows PC to get started.
Step 3.It will take approximately two minutes to generate booting information for Windows PE; please be patient while this process is completed.
When you press the ” OK ” button, the computer restarts.
Choose the system hard disk on which Windows is installed on the computer and then choose the ” Erase Sectors ” option from the Toolsmenu, which can be found under the Toolsmenu.
Note: Once the operation is complete, the machine will not be able to boot into the operating system since the system partition has been deleted.
Delete a single file or folder from your hard disk in Case3.
Due to the fact that deleting files by emptying the Recycle Bin does not completely erase data, we must do an additional action in order to make files unrecoverable.
Consider the following steps for erasing files and directories systematically: Step 1.Re-launch DiskGenius and search for the files you wish to permanently remove on your hard drive.
To permanently delete a file, click the ” Permanently Delete ” button on the popped-up window.
It overwrites data by default by filling it with zeros, however this may be changed to generate random data as well.
It is possible to continue deleting other data from your computer after you have erased specified files.
By erasing vacant space on a hard drive, you can erase any lost files without affecting any current information on the device.
For example, if you’ve formatted your hard drive and reinstalled your operating system, what you need to do next is erase all disk space except system; or if you’ve deleted sensitive files with Shift + Delete and want to make sure they’re no longer recoverable without affecting existing data, what you need to do next is erase all disk space except system.
Click on the “OK” button after selecting the partition / disk for which you wish to remove spare space in Step 2.
Step 3.Select the characters that will be overwritten on the disk and click the ” Erase ” button. Step 4.The application begins cleaning up unused disk space, which can take a long time if the amount of available space is large.
Method3: Clean PC hard drive by physically destroying it
Physically destroying a hard disk is another option for ensuring that data is permanently lost and unrecoverable. If you are not planning on reusing or recycling your hard drive, you may use this technique to clear the data on your hard drive. Use a screwdriver to remove all of the screws from the hard drive casing in step one. It will then be possible to remove the enclosure as well as the main circuit board. Step 2.Remove the platters and heads from the hard drive enclosure and smash the platters with a hammer to ensure they are properly aligned.
Step 3: Pack up all of the components and toss them in the trash.
A hard drive, SD card, or detachable disk are all discussed in this article along with three ways for wiping them, all of which are designed to ensure sensitive data may be safely and fully removed. Files deleted via these techniques are no longer recoverable; thus, please ensure that any essential files have been backed up to an alternate storage medium before deleting any storage media. If you found this article valuable, please spread the word so that more people may benefit from it. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any suggestions for improvements or queries concerning this issue.
3 ways to reset your Windows 10 computer to fix issues and improve performance
- If your Windows 10 computer is experiencing performance difficulties, you may want to consider resetting it. You should reinstall Windows 10 first, since this will not wipe out much data
- After that, you may proceed. Following that, you may perform a refresh or factory reset of Windows 10, albeit you will lose further data. More stories may be found in Insider’s Tech Reference collection
- Click here.
Windows machines can have problems from time to time. Often, the most effective option is to restart, factory reset, or restore your computer to its original state. However, not all alternatives are created equal. Your data are retained, albeit any installed programs that did not arrive with your computer are removed, and the Windows operating system is reinstalled when your machine is refreshed. In contrast, factory resetting your computer reinstalls the operating system but does not save any of the files or applications that are already installed on it.
This restores your operating system, including all of its data and applications, to a prior state, which is referred to as a restore point.
Find out how to refresh, factory reset, and restore your Windows 10 PC in this article.
Restore your Windows 10 computer
If a recent modification, such as an application installation or driver update, has resulted in unexpected behavior or lower performance, you should consider restoring your machine to a previous point in time first. 1.Go to the bottom left corner of your screen and click on the Windows button to open it. 2.Input the command control panel and pick the control panel application. Clicking on the Windows button will bring up the Start Menu, where you may look for the “Control Panel” application. Kyle Wilson is an American football player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
- In order to locate the “Recovery” option in the Control Panel, you must first see the icons by tiny or big sizes.
- Kyle Wilson is an American football player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Among the Advanced recovery tools options, choose “Open System Restore” from the drop-down menu.
- Then, either choose a recommendation from the list, or choose an alternative restore point and hit Next.
- Depending on how frequently you make restore points on your device, you may have a number of restoration choices available to you.
After that, the computer will restart, and Windows will return the machine to its prior state. You will be prompted by Windows 10 to confirm that the restore point you’ve selected is the one you wish to use. Kyle Wilson is an American football player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Refresh your Windows 10 computer
If your computer is displaying symptoms of decreased performance and restoring it to a previous point does not alleviate the difficulties you are experiencing, you should consider refreshing your computer. 1.Go to the bottom left corner of your screen and click on the Windows button to open it. 2.Click on theSettingsgear symbol on the toolbar. 3.Scroll down to the UpdateSecurity section and click on it. 4.Click on the Recovery button. The “Recovery” option may be found in the sidebar menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
- 5.Click on the Get started button.
- Kyle Wilson is an American football player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Make careful to select “Keep my files” if you want to refresh Windows 10 rather than do a factory reset.
- A cloud download obtains a fresh copy of Windows 10 straight from Microsoft, but a local reinstall makes use of the Windows 10 version that is currently installed on your machine.
- As soon as it reboots, you will have a fresh Windows installation with all of your previous data intact.
Factory reset your Windows 10 computer
If none of the previous troubleshooting alternatives are successful, or if you intend to sell or otherwise dispose of your computer, you should consider resetting it. 1.Go to the bottom left corner of your screen and click on the Windows button to open it. 2.Click on theSettingsgear symbol on the toolbar. 3.Scroll down to the UpdateSecurity section and click on it. 4.Click on the Recovery button. 5.Click on the Get started button. 6.Click on the “Remove everything” button. A factory reset will erase all of your data, including any files and programs you may have loaded.
7.Click onCloud downloadorLocal reinstall to begin the process.
When it reboots, you will have a completely fresh installation of Windows 10 with no remnants of any previously installed files or apps.
He is a contributor to Insider, and his work has featured in publications such as The Verge, VICE, and others. Please feel free to contact him on Twitter, where he can be found the majority of the time at @KWilsonMG.
How to erase my hard drive and start over
Computer Hope’s last update was on December 30, 2021. Most computers have asystem restore discor built-in restore process on thehard driveto reset the computer to the original or default settings (factory reset) (factory reset). Resetting, formatting, or restoring a computer can assist in removing issues with computer software, such as corrupt program files and virus infections, from the computer. Instructions on how to restore your computer back to the original software are provided below. Warning Restoring your computer erases all the information on the hard drive and makes it like new.
Back upany files you do not want to lose before proceeding with the restore process.
- How to properly format a hard disk, solid state drive, or USB flash drive
- How to be certain that all data on a computer hard disk has been deleted
- What is causing my inability to restore my PC using the restoration disc? How to recover a Windows password that has been lost or forgotten
Erasing the hard drive and reinstalling Windows
To completely delete your hard drive and reinstall Windows, follow the instructions outlined below for your specific version of the operating system. Tip If you’re deleting everything and reinstalling Windows, you won’t need to use an administrator login name or password because the process is automated.
Follow these steps to completely remove or uninstall Windows 11 and then reinstall it. Tip If you don’t find the Settings app in the Start menu, look for it in the taskbar by clicking the magnifying glass symbol. Typesettingsinto the text area at the top of the search window and hit Enter to begin searching.
- When you are in the Settings window, select theSystem option from the left navigation menu.
- Select theRecoveryoption from the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the window. Reset PC is located on the right-hand side of the Recoverywindow, under the Recovery options section.
- Choose either the Save my files or the Remove everything option, depending on whether you want to keep your files or if you want to start over with nothing. Follow the on-screen instructions to begin the recovery procedure.
Depending on the option you picked in step 6, Windows is reset, either leaving your data intact or deleting everything from your computer.
Follow these steps to completely wipe or remove Windows 10 and then reinstall it.
- Type Settings into the search box by pressing the Windows key and then entering it. Select the Updatesecurity option in the Settings window
- This will open a new window.
- Select theRecovery(A) option from the left navigation pane, and then click theGet startedbutton (B) to begin the process.
- In the left navigation pane, choose theRecovery(A) option, and then click theGet startedbutton (B).
- To begin the recovery procedure, simply follow the on-screen steps. When the procedure is complete, Windows is reinstalled.
Using these procedures, you may completely remove and reinstall Windows 8.
- To open theCharmsmenu, press the Windows key plus C at the same time. Click on theSearchoption and input the wordreinstallin the Search text area (do not pressEnter yet)
- Go to theSettingsoption and click on it. SelectRemove everything and reinstall Windows from the menu on the left side of the screen. On the Reset your PC screen, press the Next button. Alternatively, on theDo you wish to completely clean your drivescreen, selectJust remove my filesto do a fast deletion, or selectFully clean the driveto completely wipe all of your files. Reset your computer from the Ready to reset your PCscreen.
Depending on the option you selected in step 6, your files or all of the files on your hard drive are deleted, and then Windows 8 is reinstalled on your computer.
Windows 7 and Vista
For a Windows 7 or Vista machine to be restored, either the original Windows 7 or Vista installation disc, or a set of restoration CDs for the computer, are required. If you do not already have a set of restore discs, you should contact the computer maker to obtain a new set of restore discs. Note Make sure that the computer is configured to boot from the CD-ROM drive before proceeding with the procedures below.
- Restart the computer after inserting the Windows 7 or Vista installation CD into the CD-ROM drive, if necessary. When the message “Press any key to boot from CD” appears on the screen, press a key on the keyboard. When you see the Windows Setup welcome screen, press Enter. Any key on your keyboard should be used when requested. Select your chosen language and other settings on theInstall Windowsscreen before clicking Next. After accepting the terms and agreements on theLicense Agreementscreen, continue by clickingNext. TheCustom option should be selected on theInstallation Typescreen. To access advanced driving options, select Drive Options (advanced). ForDisk 0, remove all partitions from the disk. It should be possible to view a single entry labeled “Unallocated space” once all partitions have been erased. SelectDisk 0 from the drop-down menu
The Windows installation procedure begins with the creation of a new partition, the formatting of the disk, and the installation of Windows on the hard drive. Before installing Windows, the hard disk must be formatted in order to be usable.
Windows XP and 2000
The machine must be equipped with either a set of restoration CDs for the computer or an original Windows XP or 2000 installation disc in order to be restored under Windows XP or 2000. If you do not already have a set of restore discs, you should contact the computer maker to obtain a new set of restore discs. Note Make sure that the computer is configured to boot from the CD-ROM drive before proceeding with the procedures below.
- A set of restoration discs for the machine or an original Windows XP or 2000 installation disc are required in order to restore a Windows XP or 2000 system. You should contact the computer maker to obtain a new set of restore CDs if you do not already have one. Note Make sure that your computer is configured to boot from the CD-ROM drive before proceeding with the procedures below.
- Instructions on how to set up the Microsoft Windows operating system
Earlier versions of Windows and DOS
You may use these instructions to wipe and reinstall MS-DOS 5.0+, Windows 3.x, 95, 98, ME, or NT 4.0 by following the directions below.
Formatting the drive
- Insert the bootable diskette or disc into the computer’s drive and restart the computer to get to the DOS prompt. Occasionally, you may need to boot the computer with CD-ROM support or hit a key to boot from the disk to ensure that the disk is recognized. Using the MS-DOS prompt, typeformatc: /s and then press Enter.
IMPORTANT: If the command “format c: /s” does not work, you may need to download theformat.com file to your boot drive and run it from there.
- Upon entering the password, the computer asks, “Are you sure you want to destroy everything on disk c:?” In order to indicate that you are in agreement with this, type “Y” for yes and hit Enter
- The formatting procedure is initiated by the computer. While the computer is formatting, check to see that there are no mistakes.
- I’m receiving faulty sectors, clusters, or allocations that are missing
- As soon as the format operation has been completed successfully, typefdisk /mbrand at the MS-DOS prompt, and then press Enter. Following the execution of this command, you should be returned to the MS-DOS prompt with no notification. This step is optional, however it is highly encouraged
- Fdisk /mbr
- Do you have any other information on this command?
- Once you’ve returned to the MS-DOS prompt, restart the computer while keeping the boot disk attached, and then follow the procedures below to reinstall Windows on the hard drive
Windows NT 4.0
There are several alternative ways to install Windows NT. We recommend that Windows NT 4.0 be installed using the procedures outlined below because we believe that these instructions are by far the most straightforward method of installing Windows NT 4.0. First and foremost, we propose that all users wishing to install Windows NT make use of the /b switch, which eliminates the need for users to generate diskettes. We do, however, recommend that the user generate the emergency recovery diskettes if they have not previously done so after installing Windows NT on their computer.
- Activate the computer by inserting the CD into it. TypeX: (where X denotes the CD-ROM drive, which is often denoted by the letter D)
- Typecd winntand press Enter to go to the Windows 95 directory after you’ve reached the right disk. Once you’ve arrived at the X:WINNTprompt, typewinnt /b. To finish the installation, follow the on-screen directions.
Windows 95 with a backup CD
- Activate the CD player on your computer
- TypeX: (where X denotes the CD-ROM drive, which is often denoted by the letter D)
- Typecd win95and pressEnter to go to the Windows 95 directory after you’ve arrived at the correct drive. After arriving at the X:WIN95prompt, typesetup to begin the installation process. To finish the installation, follow the on-screen directions.
If you are experiencing difficulties during the setup process, you can modify the setup command line by using extra options. These options may be found on our Windows 95 setup options page.
Windows 95 with floppy diskettes
- In the computer, insert the first diskette containing Windows 95
- To begin the installation, typesetupat the A: prompt and pressEnter to initiate it. To finish the installation, follow the on-screen directions.
- In the computer, insert the first diskette containing Windows 3.x
- To begin the installation, typesetupat the A: prompt and pressEnter to initiate it. To finish the installation, follow the on-screen directions.
- Insert the first MS-DOS diskette into the computer’s hard drive. Typesetupinto the A: prompt and press Enter to begin the installation process. To finish the installation, follow the on-screen directions.