What Does It Mean to Wipe a Hard Drive?


Quick Answer

To wipe a hard drive is to completely delete all data on it. Wiping a hard drive is irreversible, requires using special software and is operating system independent.

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Full Answer

Neither deleting a partition nor formatting a hard drive clears private information forever and merely makes data invisible. Wiping a hard drive, though, clears data forever. Back up all important files on external data storage media before wiping a computer hard drive. Download and run a specialized software known as a data destruction program to completely erase the hard drive or use a degausser to disrupt the drive's magnetic domains, thus deleting all data. Do not use a degausser on a drive you plan to use again, as this method wipes out the drive's firmware, making it useless.

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