Wipe a Hard Drive without Deleting Windows and Relative Works
- Part 1: You Need a Third-party Tool to Wipe a Hard Drive but Keep Windows OS
- Part 2: Backup the Hard Drive before Wiping a Hard Drive
- Part 3: How to Wipe a Hard Drive without Deleting Windows10/8/7/Vista/XP
- Part 4: Follow-up Works after Wiping Partition
- Part 5: Other Assumptions to Erase a Hard Drive without Losing Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP
- Part 6: Bottom Line
- Related Articles
- User Comments
Part 1: You Need a Third-party Tool to Wipe a Hard Drive but Keep Windows OS
As you know, computer hard drive contains a large amount of personal and sensitive information, so most of you choose to wipe all data on hard drive before selling or recycling computer. Thus, those erased data will not be recovered with any existing data recovery software on the market.
However, in some cases you may have extra requirements. For example, recycling a computer between employees is a very common phenomenon in the company. If there are sensitive data - such as payroll information, financial information - in your previous computer, you had better wipe them from the device to prevent the leakage of important information. Here comes the question: how to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows if the data partition and the system partition are on the same disk.
As a matter of fact, some third-party programs are designed to solve this issue. When you search "disk wipe software" or "partition wipe tool" on internet, you will discover that a lot of programs are listed there. Which one is the best and reliable software? I suggest you to try MiniTool Partition Wizard.
In fact, this software is a kind of professional partition tool which can be used to manage your hard drive, including migrating Windows OS, resizing/moving partitions, copying partition/disk, wiping partition, rebuilding MBR, and more. It has five editions: Free, Professional, Server, Enterprise and Technician; and a Bootable Disk.
Good news is that some functions of this software are open to you for free, and you can view the Compare Editions to get the detail information. Fortunately, its "Wipe Partition" feature is available in the Free Edition. You can download and install this freeware to your computer and experience its functions if you are using Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP.
Meanwhile, you should know that "wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows OS" issue involves more than one aspect, and you have to make a backup before wiping the hard drive if there are some very important data. It is worth mentioning that this free program, as a partition manager, can be used to copy partition or disk.
If you are interested in this backup solution, you can read part 2 to get two clone methods; while if you don't need to back up your hard drive, you can skip part 2, and move to part 3 directly to see how to wipe your hard drive without removing Windows OS.
Moreover, the following operations are all based on Windows 7.
Part 2: Backup the Hard Drive before Wiping a Hard Drive
Method 1: If you just want to copy one partition on the hard disk, you can use "Copy Partition" function to clone all data on that partition.
The destination device must be an unallocated space, and it should have enough space to save the target partition's data.
Method 2: Suppose that you need to make a backup of the whole hard disk, you should use the "Copy Disk" feature then.
The destination disk must have enough space to store the target disk's data. In addition, all the original data on the destination disk will be deleted finally. So, you should transfer or make a backup of its important data in advance.
However, as for both situation 1 and situation 2, the destination partitions will have no partition letters after copying partition or disk, and they will not be displayed on the computer until you add letters to them. This time, you still can use this freeware to add a new letter and label to the partition.
After these preparations, you can feel free to start to wipe data on the specified partition then.
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Part 3: How to Wipe a Hard Drive without Deleting Windows10/8/7/Vista/XP
In fact, wiping partition is a kind of overwriting which involves the process of replacing old data by new data. Once the original data are overwritten even just once, they will be generally considered to be unrecoverable. Overwriting is also the principle of "Wipe Partition" in this software. To guarantee the wiping effect, this software supplies you five wiping methods with different overwriting modes, and you will have the chance to select a proper one according to your individual requirements during the operation process.
It is not recommended to wipe data on an SSD (Solid State Drive) often for the additional writes will reduce an SSD's lifespan.
Suppose that disk 0 is divided into two partitions (see figure below). Partition (C:) contains Windows OS, which should be reserved to guarantee the computer's normal running; partition (E:) saves some important and sensitive data, and you want to erase all data on partition (E:) from the hard disk forever.
How to wipe partition (E:) only with MiniTool Partition Wizard? The following content will lead you to make it step by step.
Here, you should notice that, in Disk Management, the disk number is marked from 0; while in MiniTool Partition Wizard, the disk number is marked from 1.
Step 1: After entering this software's main interface, you should choose the target partition (E:) and click on "Wipe Partition" feature from the left action panel to continue.
Step 2: Then, you will see a pop-out window as follows. First, this software will prompt you the consequence of wiping partition: "Wiping Partition will remove every sector of data on the partition. Data once wiped can not be recovered by any data recovery solutions". Of course, this is the exact effect you want to reach. Then, you will see five wiping methods are listed there. Choose the one you want to use and click on the lower side button "OK" to move on to the next step.
Explanations of Those Five Wiping Methods:
This software gives you five options to overwrite the original data on the target partition, and every method has its own overwriting mode. The detailed introduction of these five wiping methods are as follows correspondingly:
1. Fill Sectors with 0;
2. Fill Sectors with 1;
3. Fill sectors with 0 then fill sectors with 1;
4. Fill sectors with DoD calculation for 3 times;
5. Fill sectors with DoD calculation for 7 times.
Step 3: The software will return to its main interface, and you can preview that the target partition (E:) is marked as "Unformatted" with no partition letter and label. Then, you still need to press on the upper left button "Apply" from the tool bar to execute all the changes.
With these three simple steps, you are able to wipe the data partition and keep the system partition.
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In addition, there are more features you should know about this software:
1. "Wipe Disk" feature of this freeware can work for you to wipe the whole hard disk. If you are trying to erase all data on a hard drive which doesn't save the Windows OS, you can try this function. Still, this function offers five wiping methods as "Wipe Partition".
2. It is a bad idea to wipe the whole hard disk which contains Windows OS with this software for that can cause your computer to be unbootable. But don't worry. This software will inform you to restart your computer once you intend to apply wiping system partition order. This warning will give you the opportunity to cancel these operations.
3. MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition can't be used to manage your dynamic hard disks. That is to say, if you want to wipe volume on a dynamic disk, you should purchase an advanced version for further use.
Part 4: Follow-up Works after Wiping Partition
The task of erasing a hard drive without losing Windows is completed now. But there are still other works you should do. For example, the wiped partition will not be shown on the computer for it is in unformatted state. You need to format that partition, and then add partition letter to make it be displayed on the computer normally. If necessary, you can add a partition label for better identification. Luckily, you still can realize those aims with this freeware.
1. Format the Target Partition
Step 1: Choose the target partition and click on "Format Partition" from the left action panel.
Step 2: Then, you will enter a pop-out window as follows. Here, you can define the partition's label, file system and cluster size. Then, click on "OK" to back to the main interface. To save the changes, you still need to press on the "Apply" button.
As a matter of fact, there is more than one way to format a partition or a hard drive. And you can visit this post to get more solutions: How to Format a Hard Drive with Ease?
2. Add a Drive Letter to the Target Partition
A partition without a drive letter will not be shown on the computer until you add a letter to it manually. If you want to arrange a letter to the partition, do as the following steps tell you to do.
Step 1: Choose the target partition and click on "Change Drive Letter" from the left action panel.
Step 2: On this pop-out window, you can choose a letter and press on "OK" to back to the main interface. Then click on "Apply" to execute the changes.
At last, you will see that the target partition is shown on the computer successfully, and you are allowed to use it again as normal.
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Part 5: Other Assumptions to Erase a Hard Drive without Losing Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP
Until now, some of you may still doubt that is it really necessary to use a third-party tool to wipe a hard drive without deleting Windows OS?
First, you may mention Windows snap-in Disk Management. However, with this manager, you are just allowed to format or delete the selected partition or volume instead of erasing all data on it. Therefore, anyone can restore these formatted or deleted data with a piece of data recovery software. This tool is unavailable to resolve your problem.
Then, you may think of Diskpart command line. Of course, you can wipe all data on the whole hard disk by inputting "list disk" > "select disk (disk number)" > "clean all" in the Diskpart interface. It doesn't matter if Windows OS is not saved on that hard disk. But once the data partition and system partition are both on the selected disk, you will not be allowed to execute this Diskpart command line finally and you will see a piece of error as: "Clean is not allowed on the disk containing the current boot, system, pagefile, crashdump or hibernation volume". It is not the way you are looking for neither.
So, it is actually inapplicable to use these two Windows snap-in tools to wipe a hard drive without removing Windows if the data partition and the system partition are on the same hard disk. Naturally, these two assumptions are invalid. You still need a third-party tool - MiniTool Partition Wizard - to help you.
Part 6: Bottom Line
All in all, don't hesitate to use MiniTool Partition Wizard when you want to wipe your hard drive but keep Windows OS for it can solve a lot of problems for you:
First, if it is necessary, you can use the "Copy Partition" and "Copy Disk" functions of MiniTool Partition Wizard to make a backup of the important data on the partition and hard disk before you wipe them;
Then the "Wipe Partition" feature of this software enables you to wipe the data partition and reserve the system solely as you want to.
In addition, due to the target partition is shown as "unformatted", you still need to utilize its "Format Partition" and "Change Drive Letter" functions to format the partition and add a partition letter to make it to be displayed on the computer normally.
Indeed, MiniTool Partition Wizard achieves all operations in one tool, breaks many limitations in Disk Management and Diskpart, and owns more partition functions. It is truly a powerful program in the field of partition management.
If you encounter any problem during the using process, you can contact us by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them to the comment bar. Besides, any useful suggestion and idea are appreciated here.