How to Guides

How to Format a Hard Drive or SSD Securely?

Do you presume you’ve deleted your personal data by formatting your hard drive, SSD, or USB stick?

Sadly, this is a popular misinterpretation.

The actuality is that unless you simply follow the guidelines in this How to Format SSD guide, anyone with the right skills can actually restore or recover deleted data from your previous drives.

Many people believe that formatting an SSD drive is enough. However, erased data can still be regained or retained. This can actually pose a risk if your previous computer ends up in someone else’s possession. An expert or cybercriminal can simply recover large amounts of data from it cheaply.

How to Format SSD Securely

As you will definitely see, retrieving or recovering data from an SSD is so easy.

As a matter of  fact, it’s really easy that not ensuring all data is moderately deleted from previous drives is pretty silly.

Happily, there are so many ways to rightfully format SSD drives so that the data is totally scrubbed. Starting now, we highly approve that you take these steps.

HDD Software Eraser

The most affordable and effortless method to wipe a drive totally is with a professional software eraser. Darik’s Boot And Nuke (DBAN) software is free and is a reliable way to format an SSD. To make use of it, just connect the hard drive to a PC and run the software.

However, take note that the software does take a very much time. In addition, it does not work on defective disks.

To make use of the software, design a wipe CD or DVD. Now insert the drive you want to wipe into a PC, and run the software. Be careful not to mistakenly wipe a drive containing data that you require, because you will not be able to recover it afterward.

I advise using a spare PC – or at least disengage all the hard drives that you do need – to be on the safe side. It is okay to do this because you will be booting up from the Boot And Nuke disc you made, not the internal drive.

Please kindly read the Boot and Nuke guideline or documentation closely. If you make a mistake and delete the wrong disc, the data will be erased forever.

SSD Specific Formatting Tools

A Solid State Drive (SSD) can be securely formatted by actually making use of  the manufacturer utilities. The great way to find these utilities is to search the site of your SSD manufacturer. Here are some links to the most popular manufacturers:

Those utilities will guide you through the process, and they are user friendly.

HD / SSD Destruction

For individual who is having trouble securing a utility to delete their SSD drive, “shredding it” with a hammer and a six-inch nail is perfect. This technique functions well with regular hard drives too.

Merely hammer nails go right through the drive in different places. It is good if you do this outside into a block of wood. Four evenly spaced nails right through the drive should be okay to destroy it. Unfortunately this will also destroy any resale value.

Restoring a Hard Drive or SSD

The software can also be used to recover both ‘permanently deleted’ files (SHIFT + DELETE on Windows) and also fully formatted drives.

And still, If your hard drives have been destroyed or affected by a virus, file recovery software can be a good news. However, cybercriminals and fraudsters also use this kind of software to retrieve old data from hard drives. This can give them access to your privacy and allow them to cause all manner of trouble.

Credit card theft, account theft, data theft, intellectual property theft: the list of possible crimes procures by restoring previous hard drives are alarming. For this reason, it’s important that you diligently remove previous data from drives before actually tossing, selling, or giving them away.

Here is a full list of some of the challenges that can take place if a drive is not rightly formatted:

The Recovery Process

There are several types of professional recovery software on the market. Once you – or a hacker – have got one of these programs, recovering files is simple.

To retrieve files, you put the hard drive into a working computer as a secondary drive. Once installed, and the computer is showing it in explorer, you’re fully ready to recover data from it. Run the data recovery Wizard and choose the location (hard drive) with permanently deleted files that need recovering. Now you have to click Scan.

Recovery software usually has the option to Quick Scan or Deep Scan to find all lost files.

Once the software begins to find previous files, you can preview and choose them. If something is of interest, click Recover to save that data into a folder on the PC or to an external storage device. Once you have fully restored the data to the hard drive, it is definitely accessible.


In this article, we have described everything you need to know about securely formatting hard drives. The process is easy, so you really have no reason not to protect yourself by following these procedures in the future. It is well worth it!

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