How to Permanently Erase Data: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Planning on giving away your computer? Then you’ll want to completely wipe the hard drive; that’ll prevent others from accessing your personal data.
Simply deleting the files or reformatting the hard drive won’t be enough, though, as the files can easily be recovered with certain software. To ensure that everything is actually gone, you'll have to take a few extra steps.
Interested? Want to learn more about how to erase data permanently?
If so, you’re at the right place. We'll be going over some different options on how to delete data below. Keep reading to learn more!

  1. Use the File Explorer Ribbon
    For those who are using Windows 10, you can permanently erase hard drive data with File Explorer. Click on the folder icon in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen or use the shortcut, “Windows Key + E” to open the file browser.
    Navigate to the file that you’d like to delete and click on it so that it’s highlighted. At the top of the window, click on the arrow underneath the “Delete” button and select “Permanently Delete”; that’ll delete the file for good (whereas clicking “Delete” will send it to the Recycle Bin).
  2. Use Windows PowerShell 
    Windows PowerShell is a cross-platform tool that allows you to run scripts and commands. To open the application, click on the Start Menu and type “powershell” in the text box. Press “Enter” once the program is highlighted and a window will come up with a blue background. 
    To delete a single file, type in the command “Remove-item [file-path]”. Make sure to include the file extension, otherwise, it won’t recognize the command.
    To delete the contents of an entire folder, type “Remove-item -path c:/[foldername] -recurse and press “Enter”. That will permanently erase all of the files and folders that are inside that folder.
  3. Use a Third-Party Program 
    There are several third-party utility tools that you can use to permanently delete hard drive data. For example, you can use Certus software; it comes with a web manager that allows you to control and manage the entire data erasure process.
    There are free options as well for those who are looking for something simpler. Keep in mind, however, that not all programs will erase files on SSDs.
    The number of overwriting passes will also differ from tool to tool so keep that in mind when you’re looking at different options.
    Knowing How to Permanently Erase Data 
    There are different ways to erase data from your hard drive permanently, from using file explorer to third-party tools. That way, you won't have to worry about there being any data privacy issues. Just be careful what you're deleting as they'll be gone forever.
    If you liked this post, you’ll be happy to know that we have more articles like this in our tech section. Check it out today!