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How To Wipe A Hard Drive On A Dead Computer

Wipe the data by either using another computer or destroying the drive.

Expert Verified by Arsalan Shakil

Many people are often worried about how to wipe a hard drive on a dead computer. Even if your system fails to respond or is not working at all, there are some ways through which you can erase the existing data.

Key Takeaways

  • A dead PC does not mean your data is gone; it is in your hard disk Drive.
  • Hard disk can be removed, plugged into another PC, and then formatted.
  • You can also physically destroy it in extreme security cases if the software fails.

Wiping A Hard Drive On A Dead Computer

There are two basic ways to erase a hard drive on a dead computer, such as

  1. Removing The Hard Disk And Plugging It In Another PC.
  2. Physically Destroy The Disk.

Removing The Hard Disk And Plugging It In Another PC

Plenty of software are available on the internet to safely format a hard drive if your computer is running, though we used DBAN. We unplugged the hard disk from the dead PC and plugged it into a running PC to carry out the formatting process using the software. 

Here are the steps to the process we followed:

  1. Make sure the computer is powered off. Then, unplug all the cables and place the computer on a raised platform.
  2. Unscrew/Remove the side panel of your computer tower to get access to your Hard Drives.
  3. Unmount your desired hard disk and disconnect its power and data cables. Be careful when looking for the correct hard disk; do not confuse it with another if there is more than one.
  4. After disconnecting the cables, safely remove the hard disk from the tower.

After removing the hard disk from your computer, plug it into another computer to run software formatting. After the connection process, any formatting software can be run to erase the data from the hard drive permanently and securely. 

Tip: SATA to USB cable can be used to connect the hard drive so it can work as an external storage device.

Also Check: How Many Hard Drives Can A PC Have?

Physically Destroy The Hard Disk

Destroying the hard drive is the most reliable or durable way to wipe data off. However, you should only proceed with this when you are sure there is no important data on the disk that you might need later. Several users, like Anasta5ia and Reedo_43 on the Tom’s Hardware Forum, used the same technique and confirmed it to be working.

Follow these steps to destroy a Hard Disk safely:

  1. Make sure the computer is powered off. Remove the side panel of the computer tower to reveal the hard drive. Disconnect the power and data cable from the hard drive.
  2. Remove the hard drive from the computer.
  3. After safely removing the hard drive, place it on a hard surface. For safety reasons, use plastic shields, goggles, and safety gloves
  4. You may destroy the hard drive by using a drill machine or a heavy iron hammer. Do not stop until all the pieces inside the hard disk are not jingling.
  5. Just to be sure that data can not be recovered by any chance, destroy the drive’s PCB and data connectors as well.
WARNING: Be extremely careful when proceeding with this method. Take necessary safety precautions and ensure there are no children around.

Also Read: Unable To Recover Your PC, System Drive Too Small

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is It Recommended To Format The Hard Disk Before Passing It On To Another Person?

The hard disk might contain sensitive information such as passwords, medical information, or private information, which can be recovered or restored after being deleted. This can be used in an illegal way against you. Hence, formatting it will ensure no one can access it after deleting it once.

How Long Does A Hard Disk Format Take?

A hard disk format might take several minutes or up to half an hour. A Hard Disk consisting of 1TB of storage takes approximately 2 hours to be formatted.

Does Formatting A Hard Drive Make It Faster?

Formatting a hard drive clears all the cache files, allowing faster operations to be done.


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