How to Wipe Your Hard Drive While Leaving the OS Intact.
Imagine this scenario: you are selling your computer, so you would want to wipe all your personal data but you also want to leave your Windows installation intact.
Simply removing your personal files is not enough, unfortunately. With the right tools, anybody could recover your data. So, you would need to securely wipe the hard drive to make sure no personal data traces remain.
So, how do you wipe a hard drive clean while keeping the operating system intact?
How to Wipe a Hard Drive Without Deleting Windows
There are a number of ways that you can use to erase your data from the drive while leaving the operating system intact, below are some of them.
1. Use Windows 10 Reset This PC
One of the easiest options for formating a drive clean and leaving your operating system intact is built into Windows. The Windows Reset this PC option will reinstall your Windows 10 while deleting your personal data in the process.
Once the process has been completed, you will have a fresh Windows installation, without any personal data saved on the drive.
How to Reset Windows 10
First up, you need to reset Windows 10.
Press Windows Key + I, type recovery in the search bar, and select Reset this PC.
Next, choose Remove everything, then Remove files and clean the drive. The Windows 10 reset function can take a moment to complete, but it will ensure that there is no chance for anyone to recover data from your drive. When the warning appears, select Reset and let the process complete.
2. Completely Wipe the Drive, then Reinstall Windows
The second option is to completely clear your drive of all data, which includes the operating system, then reinstall the Windows. The process is less than normal and should take some time, but it does leave you with a personal data free hard drive, and a fresh installation of Windows 10.
You are required to have two things to complete this process: a copy of DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke), and a copy of Windows 10 to install after wiping the drive. Then follow the steps below
1. First, you would have to create a Windows Installation Media.
2. Reinstall Windows 10. Once the DBAN process has been completed and your drive is sparkly clean, you can then reinstall Windows 10.
As mentioned, the above is a lengthy process. It does, however, make sure that there is absolutely no chance of anyone retrieving private data from your old hard drive.
3. Use CCleaner Drive Wipe to Erase Blank Space
Your third option is to use the CCleaner’s Drive Wipe option to take away blank space on your drive. Drive Wipe will permanently remove the links to your old file locations on your drive but only runs in free areas. You can copy your data to another drive (or delete it), then delete your data.
All you have to do is to download CCleaner, open it, and follow its onscreen prompt to format the device.
Using CCleaner is the least effective method for cleaning your hard drive. The process will terminate any links to your old data. However, if you have not uninstalled existing programs, application files, program files, and so on, the links could remain.
Securely Wipe Your Drive Before Selling
You should always wipe your data before you sell or give away your computer. Even if you know the person that you are giving the hardware to, you do not know what they will do with the computer when they are done using it. Your data could still remain on the drive for a long time.
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