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Securely Erase A Drive Using Diskpart

A very powerful utility native to the Windows platform since the early days of Windows 2000, Is named "Diskpart", which works via a command line Interface- similar to that of the Command Prompt. This tool allows you to create partitions & volumes, format disks and so forth. In this tutorial, I will be demonstrating how to "securely" wipe a disk (HDD, flash drive or otherwise) by overwriting every sector on the disk to zero.

Essentially, the objective Is to securely wipe the disk In question to the point of not being able to recover It's data, Irrespective of the nature of recovery tools used. The good thing about this, Is that Diskpart Is defaulted to Windows, hence no third-party tools are required. This comes to good use If you wish to sell your computer, thereby your personal data that was once stored, will be completely erased and unrecoverable.

There are quite a number of steps Involved, so please take the time to follow each one accordingly. Every tutorial you read on this blog, Is personally performed by me, thus vigorously tested prior to contributing. So without further delay, let's rip Into this guide.

Step One:
To access Diskpart, you must run It with admin privileges by right-clicking the Command Prompt and selecting "Run as administrator".

Step Two:
The Command Prompt window will open. Type diskpart and hit "Enter" on your keyboard. Diskpart Is now ready to use.

Step Three:
Now we want to see the devices (disks and the like) attached to the computer, so type list disk and hit "Enter". In my case, you can see that I have 3 disks In total. The last entry namely "Disk 2", Is my USB flash drive. For the purpose of this guide, I will securely wipe that.

Step Four:
Diskpart needs to know which disk It's wiping, so It must be selected by entering (In my case) select disk 2. Depending on the number of drives, your selection may differ.
Please note: Make sure you choose the correct option, If not, you'll completely erase the Incorrect disk!
Hit "Enter" on your keyboard and you'll see It's been selected as arrowed below.

Step Five:
Time to wipe every bit of data. If you have any Important files, back them up now. Type clean all and hit "Enter" on your keyboard. This Is a secure wipe- as It writes over every sector to zero. Depending on the capacity of your disk, this can take a few hours, hence patience Is a must.

Step Six:
When It completes, the message of "DiskPart succeeded In cleaning the disk" will be returned.

Step Seven:
The disk Is now securely wiped, however It's not functional as yet. A partition must first be created by entering create partition primary. Hit "Enter" on your keyboard, and a message of "DiskPart succeeded In creating the specified partition" will be displayed.

Step Eight:
To make It a usable disk once again, It must be formatted using the Windows built-In format utility. To access this, right-click on the disk Icon and select Format. Under "Format options", choose the Quick Format checkbox and then hit "Start".

Last Step:
Once the message of "Format Complete" Is displayed, the job's done. As you can see (arrowed), my USB flash drive has the capacity of 28.8 GB assigned, which means It's now fully functional as per It's original state.

Final Thoughts:
Upon reading the entire article, It may seem a little overwhelming but If you follow my guide accordingly, It's actually a very simple process. Believe It or not, apart from waiting for Diskpart to wipe my USB flash drive, entering all the above commands only took a couple of minutes. To complete this tutorial, actually took over an hour. A special thanks to MS Paint for taking so long!

As mentioned In Step Four above, It's crucial to select the correct disk. The last thing you need, Is to Incorrectly choose a disk/partition that contains sensitive data. You cannot recover It thereafter, so double-check your selection.


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