Completely format hard drive removing all partitions (including OEM)

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This is tip for Windows on how to complete format and remove all partitions from a hard disk, including those which are normally protected and can’t be deleted.

This makes it very easy to re-use an old hard drive from a laptop or desktop that was previously used to boot an OS.

In this video I format a hard drive to use as backup.

[subtitles are available]

* the screen goes black every time a UAC request appears *

NOTE: AN UPDATE HAS REPLACED COMMAND PROMPT WITH POWER SHELL FOR SOME VERSIONS OF WINDOWS – you can still access Command Prompt by searching for it, then right clicking the result and choosing ‘RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR’.

If you are planning to re-use the disk as a boot device please be sure of the correct partition format that your computer will recognise (GPT/MBR).

More details on GPT MBR comparison:

This process will remove partition information, it will still be possible to recover data from the disk.

To securely format a disk there is a freeware tool called Eraser which I covered briefly in a video here

If the ‘clean’ command is not successful (for some rare instances) there is an alternative: ‘clean all’, this will zero all the data on the disk including partition information and will probably take a very long time. This will make data recovery difficult (but not impossible). If you then wanted to ensure data recovery was not possible you could then use Eraser (see above) to wipe the disc several times.

This video may use annotations which may not be available on all devices.

The image I am using for my wallpaper was created by Andreas Levers; I found it here:

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Please leave me comments with any feedback, questions, or if you would like to see a particular tutorial or tip.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this vid. Really helped me a lot. Now I have 2 hard drive after I finished formating my hdds from old laptops 😁

  2. Man……..I was searching for this video ages …So many fake low IQ videos here..Thank you so much for this video

  3. dear, when i delete a partition , it create free space. but i can't delete the free space and can't make it allocated space, i need to make allocated space to increase "C" drive memory. would you give me any suggestion, please?

  4. thanks a lot i just re used my old laptop's internal disk as external with the help of the case i needed the partition to be gone as they were too annoying your video helped a lot.

  5. I got an error saying clean is not allowed on the disk containing the current boot. Any help would be appreciated. I already created a new boot drive and cloned the old ssd. I just can’t seem to be able to clear it. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  6. im gonna migrate my data from the hdd with the samsung software to my new ssd, i want my windows 10 to boot from the ssd, when the data migration has been done, will this delete the old windows files on the hdd?

  7. I reinstalled my windows on a new ssd I tried doing this on my old hdd but it says couldnt be performed because of an I/O device error …what does that mean

  8. I just change ssd and was searching to format bootable hard disk. and this is SO HELPFUL SO EASY AND IT WORKS !!!!. Thank you so much!!

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