How to Wipe a Hard Drive Clean & Reformat

by Kate EvelynUpdated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Windows recovery disc

  • Windows product key

If your hard drive is riddled with viruses or you want to completely clean your hard drive and start from scratch, the easiest way to wipe a hard drive clean, reformat it and prepare it for use again is to install a new operating system on top of the old one. The new operating system will effectively replace anything that existed on the drive and will make your computer ready for use again.

Put your Windows CD into the CD drive and restart your computer. When your computer starts again, it will attempt to boot up from the CD. Press any key when prompted.

Enter a language for your computer and set any preferences you would like.

Read the licensing terms and click "I Accept the License Terms."

Click "Custom" to choose which type of installation you would like.

Click "Drive Options (Advanced)" to select where to install Windows. Select the drive, and then choose NTFS for the type of file system to apply when formatting.

When the formatting is complete, click "Next" and then follow a few simple on-screen instructions.


Wiping your hard drive means everything that was on it will be gone. Back up to an external drive or storage device any data that you would like to keep.


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