I have an extra hard drive that I used to run Windows on before something technical went bad in the computer. The hard drive itself still works fine, however and I have attached it via SATA to my main computer and have gotten all of the files that I want off of it. I would like to clean it to just use for storage on my server. I am not really worried about safety, so I don't need anything like DBaN. What is the best way to clean all of the files off of it?


3 Answers 3


In Windows, you can use the Disk Management tool to view all your drives.

You can right-click on the drives and partitions to Delete Partitions, Format, etc.

If you format, you can choose "Quick Format" but it will not overwrite your files. If you uncheck "Quick Format", it will overwrite all your files. Note, this can take hours on large drives.

You can get there from Administrative tools, by opening Computer Management, or run diskmgmt.msc

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I would just re-partition using diskmgmt.msc and re-format. If you want to overwite each sector there's loads of disk shredders out there but you could just use linux and use "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb" substituting the right letter in sdb.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX

You will then need to repartition, using your tool of choice.

  • You might want to add a warning to make sure that they enter the right drive. (Which should be obvious but....)
    – Hennes
    Nov 8, 2016 at 18:14
  • 1
    I would not. Sloppy work gets what it deserves.
    – user657451
    Nov 8, 2016 at 22:41

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