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Tech

How to Wipe a Computer | Guide for Windows 10, 8 or 7

Normally you would want to wipe your computer before selling it or trashing it, or maybe it’s just getting a little rusty and you want to do a reinstallation. Whether the reasons are legitimate or not, wiping your computer is sometimes a necessary step in data protection.

In 2020, one doesn’t need to be tech-savvy to wipe a computer. So read on and learn how to wipe your computer, with just a few clicks.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Will the data be gone for good?

Yes, and no. The answer depends on what type of hard drive you’re using.

Generally there’re 2 types of hard drives: hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). HDDs are an old-school storage, which tend to be thicker, slower but cheaper. And SSDs are a newer device that tends to be thinner, faster and more expensive.

It’s virtually impossible to recover data from a SSD as it uses flash memory. But if you’re using a HDD, it’ll be a different story. In most cases, it takes more effort to thoroughly wipe data on a HDD.

You can follow these steps to check what type of hard drive you’re using:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and R at the same time to invoke the Run box. Type or paste dfrgui and click OK.
  2. In the Media type column, you can find out which drive is a SSD, and which one is a HDD.

Pre-steps before wiping a computer

Here’re some pre-steps you should take before wiping your PC. They could save you from saying “Should have done that earlier blah blah blah…”.

Backup your files

Wiping your computer means all your files will be lost. So if you have any precious data such as serial keys, documents and photos, make sure you relocate them to a secure location.

One way to backup is simply dragging your files to an external storage device, such as an USB flash drive or a hard drive. But external devices are not immune to loss or theft. If you value your personal data, you should consider using a cloud storage backup. A secure product like Acronis True Image combines encrypted cloud backups and antimalware, allowing you to restore your system anywhere, anytime.

Download device drivers

Normally Windows will install the corresponding drivers after a reinstallation, but that’s not always the case. In that situation, you’ll need to download all device drivers beforehand.

Methods to wipe a computer

Here’re the approaches you can take to easily wipe your computer. Simply choose the one that matches your operating system.

Window 10

As the latest flagship product, Windows 10 offers you a simple way to wipe all the data on your computer.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and I at the same time. This will open the Windows Settings app. Then click Update & Security.
  2. From the left menu, select Recovery. Under the Reset this PC section, click Get started.
  3. In the pop-up window, select Remove everything.
  4. Click Next to continue.
    If you’re using the latest 2007 build, you might then see two reinstall options: Cloud download and Local reinstall. You can choose Cloud download if you want to reinstall using the latest Windows installation files. If you don’t wish to wait, choose Local reinstall.
  5. Click Reset. This will take some time for Windows to wipe the data and reinstall.

Once complete, you’ll find all your data is gone.

Window 8

To wipe a Windows 8 computer is never something difficult. You can do that with just a few clicks.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and I at the same time. This will open the Windows 8 Settings Charm Bar. Click Change PC settings.
  2. From the left menu, select General. Then scroll down to the Remove everything and reinstall Windows section. Click Get started.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Select Fully clean the drive.
  5. Click Reset.

This will take some time for Windows to reset. After this process, you will have a clean computer with no personal data in it.

Windows 7

If you’re using Windows 7, you can follow these steps to wipe your computer.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key. Select Control Panel.
  2. Select System and Security.
  3. Select Backup and Restore.
  4. Click Recover system settings or your computer.
  5. Click Advanced recovery methods.
  6. Click Return your computer to factory condition. Then follow the on-screen instruction to reset your computer.
    If you don’t see “Return your computer to factory condition”, you need to use a installation media (a USB drive or a DISC with the Windows 7 installation image) to wipe your computer.

So these are the ways you can wipe your computer. Hopefully, you have restored your computer to its former glory. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.

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