Erase Laptop Hard Drive without Disc

by William / Mon Nov 26 2018

Is there an secure way to erase the laptop hard drive without a disc, I mean the media connecting with USB and CD-ROM, the USB ports are broken, and there’s no CD-ROM on the laptop either, I’m using an old HP laptop, I hope I can completely remove everything from the disk.

Note: The following mentioned methods will completely wipe everything from the disk, make sure to backup important stuff before performing the steps

You may have found solutions to wipe laptop hard drives clean with a bootable media, software like DBAN, Eraser or many other data erasing programs in this market, but there are indeed situations on laptops with broken USB ports and CD-ROMs, and of course, there are programs to solve this problem, we can erase the laptop hard drive or SSD without the assistance of bootable discs

The method we’re going to use can be applied for the following situations:

  • Erase entire hard drive along with the Operating System
  • Erase only the data hard drive and keep the Operating System
  • Erase both the system drive and the data drive (for laptops with multiple disks)

The Data Wiping program we’re about to use is Data Wiper, a portable program with both 32-bit and 64-bit packages, go ahead and download it, we’ll start to erase the disk and make it clean for selling

Data Wiper Download

OK, now let’s run the program and check the disk map in the main interface, we run Disk Management, the built-in disk manager to do the same job, check to see how many disks (HDD or SSD) are connected to the computer, start with Disk 0, if you have more than one disk, the disk number adds on, so the above listed situations can be displayed like this:

  • Erase data and OS on Disk 0 (only one disk connected)
  • Erase only data on Disk 1 (two disks connected, Disk 0 is for the OS, Disk 1 for data storing)
  • Erase both Disk 0 and Disk 1 (two disks connected, both of which need to be erased)

Data Wiper Introduction

OK, now we can run Data Wiper and take a good at the interface, it’s intuitive and let’s take a quick view, or check the Data Wiper tutorial for more info. Feel free to skip this section if you’re familiar with the UI.

There are mainly 3 sections in the main interface, they’re the three guide steps

  • 1: choose a wipe target
  • 2: choose a wiping method, the security level
  • 3: click a partition/disk to wipe

3 Kinds of wiping targets:

  • Recycle Bin
  • Free Space only
  • Entire drive or disk

6 Kinds of wiping method:

  • Fill with zero
  • Fill with pseudo-random
  • Fill with zero and one
  • DoD 5220.22-M
  • DoD 5220.28-STD
  • Peter Gutmann’s

For detailed intro, please check the guides on different wiping schemes

Using Data Wiper without a disc

This is the situation one of our customer described at the beginning of the page, media ports are broken, can’t use disc and USB, there’s one disk connected to the laptop, want to erase everything including the OS. Like the screenshot below:

Disk 0
Disk 0 in the disk map

The old version of Data Wiper shows Disk 1, new ones show Disk 0 instead

In Data Wiper, we can do this:

  1. Click the Entire drive or disk option first
  2. Choose a wiping method or use the default security setting
  3. Click on Disk 0 (not any partitions, but the “Disk 0” words, or the disk icon) to select the entire disk
  4. Then the Wipe Now button is active and click on it
  5. Data Wiper will pop-up a warning message says the Disk CANNOT reboot after wiping, click YES to confirm and then type the keyword WIPE in the input field to start
multiple hard drives connected to the computer
multiple hard drives connected to the computer

Steps are the same for all the three situations, only the target hard drive varies, situation 1 is for most the laptops, one Disk 0 is installed, and it’s the only target we’re dealing with, some laptops have an SSD disk for the OS, an HDD hard drive for the data disk, that will make two disks listed in the Disk Management tool, Disk 0 and Disk 1, Data Wiper shows the same disk number like the Disk Management does, don’t click on the wrong disk when performing, and when the disk has no operating system, you won’t see this warning message blew but another one

Warning message on wiping disk with an operating system
Warning message on wiping a disk with an operating system

When wiping both/all disks, please wipe the data disks firstly, wipe the system disk secondly, in this case, wipe Disk 1 before wiping Disk 0, if we wipe Disk 0 first, the laptop won’t reboot, let alone wiping the rest of disks, making sense, right?

Tip: Data Wiper can be used on any laptop brand, HP, DELL, TOSHIBA, GATEWAY, ACER or other computers brand


related questions of using Data Wiper:

Alternatively, you can Wipe hard drive and keep programs, keep the OS and wipe the rest of partitions no matter they’re on the same disk as Disk 0, or on the other disk like Disk 1, use the Wipe Partition in Data Wiper, the same option of Entire drive or disk, but this time we can click a partition instead of the entire disk.

Another alternative method we can make a drive clean is to wipe free space on it if you had already cut the original data to other volumes or delete everything on it. In Data Wiper, you can click the Free space only option and choose a partition to continue. Many methods are available, it’s up to you to choose the option that best suits your needs.

Data Wiper Free Data Wiper Pro