Erase Disk Drive

How do I erase a disk drive?

Note: This article features MediaWiper, which has been replaced by WipeDrive

You could give away your complete personal identity on a single carelessly discarded diskette.

Technology has allowed identity theft to become America's fastest growing crime. Protect yourself, erase disk drives with MediaWiper to completely remove your personal information.

Learn How to Securely Erase a Disk Drive with MediaWiper:

MediaWiper uses technology approved by the US Department of Defense to completely erase disk drives. MediaWiper is the perfect solution to erase disk drives, floppy disks, zip disks, memory cards, USB Drives, and more. Erase your disk drive securely at the DoD 5220.22-M standard.

Step 1

Opening MediaWiper will bring up the Main Menu where you can choose to Wipe, Verify, or View the data on the disk.

  1. Select Wipe Media to completely erase a disk drive.
  2. Select Verify Media to make sure you have properly erased a disk drive.
  3. Select View Media Sectors to view individual sectors on an erased disk drive.

Step 2

Choose the Wipe Media option to erase a disk drive with MediaWiper. Next, select the disk drive to erase from a drop down list.

Important: When you erase a disk drive, all the information on the disk is gone forever! Make sure you have backed up your important files before erasing the disk drive.

Step 3

After you erase a disk drive, Mediawiper will reformat your disk for reuse. You can choose between two drive formats:

FAT file system:

Always select FAT when erasing disk drives, memory cards, and USB drives. FAT is compatible all versions of Windows.

NTFS file system:

Disks formatted with NTFS can only be accessed using Windows NT, 2000, or XP. Choose this option only if you are formatting a Windows NT, 2000, or XP hard drive.

Step 4

After choosing a file system, you may also choose a name for your disk. This will be the drive label displayed by Windows after you erase the disk drive.

Drive labels are optional and must be less then 12 characters. The default drive label given by MediaWiper is "CLEANED".

Step 5

The final step before erasing a disk drive is selecting a security level. Disk data can be erased any number of times, however one overwrite is sufficient for most users.

  • 1 Overwrite:
    Erase the disk drive so that your data cannot be retrieved with recovery software.
  • 3 Overwrites:
    Erase the disk drive in accordance with Department of Defense standards. If you think someone would go to extreme measures to recover your data, erase your disk drive with this option.
  • 7 Overwrites:
    Erase the disk drive with seven overwrites according to VSITR standards.
  • 12 Overwrites:
    Erase the disk drive with twelve overwrites. This option will take considerably longer to erase the disk drive.

Step 6

Before the erasing process begins, you will be asked to confirm twice that you wish to erase disk drive data. The process of erasing a disk drive involves two steps:

  1. Erasing the disk
  2. Reformatting the drive

Once MediaWiper is done erasing the disk drive, click on Finish to return to the main menu window.

Step 7

After erasing a computer disk, you may choose to verify that all data has been completely erased. From the main menu select Verify Media. Click the down arrow of the drive selection list to choose the drive that you just erased. You may then choose to do either a Verify or a Quick Verify:

  • Verify:
    This option will check each sector to make sure your disk drive has been erased. This may take a long time depending on the size of the disk drive.
  • Quick Verify:
    This option will spot check each sector to make sure your disk drive has been erased. This option is much quicker because it checks random sectors from the beginning to the end of the disk.

Step 8

Viewing the sectors of a drive is a feature for advanced users. Three columns display what sector is being viewed, the characters that sector contains, and the text equivalent of those characters.

Note: After erasing a disk drive, you will notice that the sector viewer will display data in a few sectors. This data is not user data, it is the contents of the drive format and must be in place so that the disk can be reused. MediaWiper can understand this data and test it to make sure that no user data is present.

For More Information on How to Erase a Disk Drive with MediaWiper:

MediaWiper Online Help and Support