How to remove Windows 10 from the hard drive? The easy way

by William / Wed Dec 19 2018

Do you want to remove Windows 10? Remove Windows 10 and install Ubuntu? or simply want to remove everything from the hard drive including the operating system and give away the hard drive? You’re in the right place

This page will guide through how to empty and clean a hard drive with Windows 10 installed. We’ll use different methods to empty the disk, methods are listed below:

Tip: The Go back to Windows 7 option is a temporary setting only available for a month after upgrading to Windows 10, after when we’ll have to seek another solution. This option is easy to find if you just upgraded Windows: press the Start button and click the Gear icon and click Update and Security and click the Recovery option and then click the Go back to Windows 7 option to remove Windows 10

We can’t remove Windows with Windows, neither in the Disk Management tool nor the diskpart command prompt tool, neither the delete operation nor the format command, but we can remove the system when it’s not running (actually, we can remove it even when it’s running, will talk about that later)

Remove Windows with the installation media

Windows 10 installation media is not only capable of installing the system, but also came with the format and delete operations, which are good enough to ensure data empty, but not clean, formatted / deleted drive still have residue for data recovery programs, but if all we want is to remove Windows and reinstall another operating system, it’s Fine.

Windows setup window
Windows setup window

In the screenshot above you can see there are many options available:

  • Refresh
  • Delete
  • Format
  • New
  • Load driver
  • Extend

The Delete and Format options are grayed out right now, that’s because the disk is now unallocated space, which the status the disk should be after deleting, so if the disk is showing as “Disk 0” and both the format, delete options are active, you can use this method to remove previous installed Windows 10

Alternatively, you can use the diskpart command prompt method to remove C Drive, just press Shift+F10 to bring diskpart up and type

Shift+F10 to bring up the command prompt
Shift+F10 to bring up the command prompt
  • - list volume
  • - select volume c
  • - delete

Directly Wipe out Windows 10

The delete method requires to shut down the computer and insert the installation media, is useful when the disk would be reinstalled to a new system. Sometimes there are situations that we’d like to replace the old hard drive with a new one, we’d like to upgrade the hard drive, then give away the old one after it’s clean.

Deleted drive can be recovered but wiped drive can’t be, although there’s nothing sensitive info in the system drive and people normally don’t store personal files on system partition, system drive will still have traces left, to prevent data leakage and ensure data safe, Wipe Windows 10, wipe the entire hard drive is essential.

Data Wiper is the program we’re about to use for this task, although we have alternative solutions to remove Windows clean, this is indeed the most convenient one - it can directly wipe system drive without any bootable media, you don’t have to reboot and change the BIOS settings either, here are the steps:

  1. Run Data Wiper (the installation edition or the portable edition, both are in the same package)
  2. In the first section (marked as ‘1’) click the Entire drive/disk option
  3. In the second section (marked as ‘2’) choose a wiping method (from the listed 6 kinds of schemes)
  4. In the third section (you guessed it, marked as ‘3’) click on the system drive to activate the Wipe Now button
  5. Then click the Wipe Now and confirm
Data Wiper removes Windows 10
Data Wiper removes Windows 10

Learn more about Data Wiper Pro Edition

Download Data Wiper

Remove Windows 10 from dual boot

Data Wiper can also be used on dual boot system, say if you have Windows 7 and Windows 10 dual boot on different disks, download Data Wiper to the Windows 7 disk and run the program, we can simply remove the Windows 10 disk with the following steps:

  1. Click on the option Entire disk / drive option
  2. Click on the disk (the disk icon) and click Wipe Now
  3. Confirm and type the keyword wipe to wipe the Windows 10 disk

This time we applied the default Fill will zero method, you can switch it to others, but using one-pass overwriting is enough to make sure data clean if you don’t have data cleaning policy to follow

This method is also used you wipe another disk, the disk you plug out from the computer you’d like to donate or give away, normally Windows won’t allow us to remove itself if we don’t use a bootable CD/DVD, but we can plug out the hard drive and connect it to another computer, using its OS to wipe out another.


Do you really need to remove Windows 10?

Windows 10 now, to be honest, has more features than Windows 7, if you’re a heavy office worker (developers, designers, etc), Windows 10 will speed up the work efficiency and productivity, with the following settings you can:

  • Customize your Start menu
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts
  • Spend time getting to know Cortana
  • Automatically free up space (storage sense)
  • Make use of virtual desktops
  • Easily save and print PDFs
  • Snap many APPs
  • Use your PC as a tablet

Read more Windows 10 tips here

BTW, Windows 10 1809 is now rolling out, you can either click the Check for updates button or use the official update assistant, which has more features and practical functions