How to Delete My Hard Drive on an IBM Computer

by Ty Arthur

If you plan on selling your IBM computer or giving it away, you will want to completely delete the contents of its hard drive first. Rather than deleting each and every file on the computer, it's much easier to simply reformat the drive and restore the computer to its factory settings. IBM computers are pre-loaded with a recovery partition that contains all the basic settings of the operating system. To instantly delete the hard drive, you only need to access the recovery partition and re-install the operating system.

Transfer any files you still need from your IBM computer's hard drive to an external device, such as a USB flash drive.

Restart your IBM computer. Wait for the IBM logo to appear on the screen and press the key to enter the recovery menu, which will be F11 on most IBM computers. If F11 doesn't bring up the menu, check the manual that came with your computer to find the appropriate key.

Use the down arrow key to highlight "Partial Recovery." Press "Enter."

Highlight the "Yes" option and press "Enter" to begin the reformatting process.

Wait for the reformatting process to finish and then click "Next." Select the language you want to use from the language menu and click "Next."

Choose your time zone from the drop-down menu and click "Next" again to finish erasing the hard drive and re-install the IBM computer's operating system.


  • check If you choose Full Recovery instead of Partial Recovery, the system will also re-install any software that was originally included with your IBM computer, such as word-processing programs or games. If the recovery partition has been deleted for some reason, you can contact IBM and receive a recovery CD that contains the same information. Put the CD into your computer and restart the system. Follow the instructions on the screen to format the hard drive.


  • close Formatting the hard drive erases all of its data; however, it is possible to recover that data by using a data recovery program. If you have sensitive or private data on your computer and you are worried someone might attempt to retrieve it, you can use a data-scrambling program that overwrites all the sectors on the hard drive (see "Resources," below). Once the sectors are overwritten, the data can never be retrieved.

About the Author

Ty Arthur has been writing technical and entertainment-related articles for a variety of online sources since 2008. His articles have appeared on and many other websites. Arthur attended the Great Falls College of Technology and studied both computer science and creative writing.

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