42 Free Data Destruction Software Programs

Completely Free Disk Wipe and Hard Drive Eraser Software Utilities

Data destruction software, sometimes called data sanitization software, disk wipe software, or hard drive eraser software, is a software-based method of completely erasing the data from a hard drive.

When you delete files and then empty the Recycle Bin, you don't actually erase the information, you just delete the reference to it so that the operating system can't find it. All the data is still there and, unless it's overwritten, can be easily recovered using file recovery software.

Data destruction software, however, truly does erase the data. Each data destruction program utilizes one or more data sanitization methods that can permanently overwrite the information on the drive.

If you need to remove all traces of a virus or you're planning on recycling or disposing of your hard drive or computer, wiping your hard drive using data destruction software is the best way to protect yourself.

Note: Data destruction software is just one of several ways to completely erase a hard drive. Also, if a complete hard drive wipe isn't what you're after, check out our free file shredder software list for programs better suited for individual file destruction.

Below is a list of the best, completely free data destruction software programs available today:

Screenshot of DBAN, Darik's Boot and Nuke
Darik's Boot and Nuke.

Darik's Boot And Nuke, usually referred to as DBAN, is the best free data destruction software available.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, RCMP TSSIT OPS-II, Gutmann, Random Data, Write Zero

DBAN is freely available in a ready-to-go ISO format, so all you need to do is burn it to a CD or flash drive and then boot from it. The DBAN program's menu interface is also very easy to use.

DBAN is an open source project.

DBAN Review & Free Download

DBAN is a great tool and should certainly be your first choice if wanting to completely erase a hard drive.

Because DBAN works from outside of the operating system, it can work with any version of any OS, like Windows, macOS, etc. More »

Screenshot of CBL Data Shredder
CBL Data Shredder (Bootable Disc).

CBL Data Shredder comes in two forms: you can either boot from it via a disc or USB stick (like with DBAN) or use it from within Windows like a regular program.

To erase the hard drive that's running an operating system, you're required to boot to the program, whereas deleting another internal or external drive can be done with the Windows version.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, RMCP DSX, Schneier, VSITR

In addition to the above, you can create your own custom method to include 1s, 0s, random data, or custom text with a custom number of passes.

CBL Data Shredder Review & Free Download

The bootable version tells you how large each drive is but that's about the only identifiable information given, whereas the Windows version makes it easier to know what drive you're about to wipe clean.

The Windows version of CBL Data Shredder works with Windows XP through Windows 10. More »

Screenshot of HDShredder in Windows XP
HDShredder.

HDShredder is a data destruction program that's available in two forms, both of which work with one data wipe method.

Data Sanitization Methods: Write Zero

You can use HDShredder from a disc or flash drive and boot from it for erasing the drive that has Windows installed on it, like the C drive. Alternatively, you can install HDShredder to Windows like a regular program and use it for securely erasing data from a different drive like a flash drive or a different hard drive.

HDShredder Review & Free Download

Note: Several additional features appear to work in this free edition until you try to use them, after which you'll be told you need to upgrade to a paid version to use it.

The Windows version can be installed on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2003-2012. More »

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Screenshot of HDDErase
HDDErase.

HDDErase is probably the best Secure Erase based data destruction software available.

Data Sanitization Methods: Secure Erase

The easiest way to use HDDErase is from the bootable ISO image included with the download. You can also create any boot media you want (floppy, disc, flash drive, etc.), and copy the HDDERASE.EXE file to it.

The HDDerase program was created by researchers at the Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMMR) at the University of California, San Diego, supported by a grant from the National Security Agency.

HDDErase Review & Free Download

Important: CMMR, the University of California, nor the National Security Agency provide any kind of support for HDDErase but the information in the HDDEraseReadMe.txt file that accompanies the download should answer most questions you might have.

You can use any operating system (like any version of Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) to create the bootable media. Plus, because of how HDDErase is used (outside of the OS), you can erase any operating system with it. More »

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Screenshot of MHDD
MHDD.

MHDD is another data destruction tool that utilizes Secure Erase.

The thing I like best about MHDD is the variety of easy-to-use forms that it's downloadable in. You can download an ISO file for disc or flash drive booting, a floppy image, the program itself ready for your own boot disk, and more.

Data Sanitization Methods: Secure Erase

There is plenty of documentation, a FAQ, and even a forum for the MHDD data destruction program, all accessible from their download page.

Download MHDD for Free

Note: MHDD only utilizes the Secure Erase method for data destruction if you use the FASTERASE option available in the program.

Like the bootable data destruction programs from above, MHDD can erase any hard drive so long as you use a working operating system to burn the program to a disc/floppy/drive. More »

PCDiskEraser - Data Destruction Software
PCDiskEraser.

PCDiskEraser is a free data destruction program that runs before the computer boots up, like DBAN, HDDErase, and the other programs from above.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M

Using PCDiskEraser is really easy because you simply select the disk that should be erased, confirm the selection, and then PCDiskEraser immediately begins shredding the whole disk.

PCDiskEraser Review & Free Download

Note: I was unable to use my mouse in PCDiskEraser even though a cursor was available. I had to use the tab and space keys to move around within the program, which wasn't a huge concern but did make using it a little harder than it had to be. More »

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Screenshot of KillDisk v10 in Windows 7
KillDisk v10.

Active KillDisk is a freeware, scaled-down version of the KillDisk Pro data destruction tool.

Data Sanitization Methods: Write Zero

Like the above bootable data destruction software, you can download a simple ISO file for burning to disc or USB drive. You can also install a regular application to run KillDisk from within Windows.

KillDisk Review & Free Download

Unfortunately, some of KillDisk's settings work only in the professional version.

KillDisk works in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There's also a Linux version available. More »

Format Write Zero in Command Prompt From System Recovery Disc - Data Destruction Software
Format Write Zero in Command Prompt From System Recovery Disc.

Beginning in Windows Vista, the format command was granted the ability to write zeros during the format, giving the command basic data destruction abilities.

Data Sanitization Methods: Write Zero

Since all Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista users already have the format command at their disposal, this is a quick and effective data destruction method. Granted, you won't be able to satisfy some stringent data sanitization standards, but if that's not a concern then this option is perfect.

Important: The format command included with Windows XP and prior operating systems does not support this option. However, there is a way to use this method on a computer with Windows XP if you have access to another computer with Windows 7, 8, or 10.

How To Use the Format Command to Write Zeros to a Hard Drive

Note: The instructions I link to here explain how to use the format command either as a data destruction tool from a bootable disc, enabling you to completely erase the primary drive, or as a way to erase any other drive from Command Prompt from within Windows. More »

Screenshot of Macrorit Data Wiper v3.2.1 in Windows 8
Macrorit Data Wiper v3.2.1.

Macrorit Data Wiper is different than the above programs in that it doesn't run from a bootable disc. Instead, you must open it from your computer like you would a regular program.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, DoD 5220.28-STD, Random Data, Write Zero

The program has a very nice look to it and is super easy to use. Just select a hard drive that should be erased and choose a wiping method. Click the large Wipe Now button, type "WIPE" in the box to confirm you want to continue, and then click Start to begin the process.

Macrorit Data Wiper Review & Free Download

Windows is the only supported operating system, and because you have to install Macrorit Data Wiper to the hard drive, you're unable to use it to wipe the primary drive.

I tested Macrorit Data Wiper in Windows 10 and Windows 8, but it also works in Windows 7, Vista, XP, and Server 2008 and 2003. More »

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Eraser - Data Destruction Software
Eraser.

Eraser is pretty easy to use and serves as a well-designed data destruction program with some unique features.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, AFSSI-5020, AR 380-19, RCMP TSSIT OPS-II, HMG IS5, VSITR, GOST R 50739-95, Gutmann, Schneier, Random Data

As far as advanced options go, Eraser wins the data destruction competition hands down. With Eraser, you can schedule data destruction with all the precision you'd expect with any scheduling tool.

Important: Because Eraser runs from within Windows, you can not use the program to erase the drive that Windows runs on, usually C. Use a bootable data destruction software program from this list or see How to Format C for other options.

Eraser Review & Free Download

Eraser works in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Eraser also works on Windows Server 2008 R2, 2008, and 2003. More »

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Screenshot of Freeraser
Freeraser.

Freeraser, very much unlike some of the other programs on this list, is a full-fledged Windows application, complete with a setup wizard and Start Menu icons. 

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data

I like Freeraser so much because it's incredibly easy to use. Freeraser places a Recycle Bin-like icon on your desktop so you just need to drag an entire drive into the bin for all its files and subfolders to be forever erased from your computer.

Important: Freeraser can only delete files from a whole hard drive if it's connected over USB. Internal hard drives are not supported.

Freeraser Review & Free Download

Freeraser can also be used as a portable program by choosing that option during setup.

Freeraser works with Windows 10 through Windows XP. More »

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Disk Wipe - Data Destruction Software
Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe is a completely portable data destruction tool that you run from within Windows.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-MGOST R 50739-95GutmannHMG IS5Random Data, Write Zero

Disk Wipe is really easy to use because it walks you through a wizard to perform the data wipe. Because it requires the OS to be running to work, it can't be used to erase the drive you have Windows running on.

Disk Wipe Review & Free Download

Disk Wipe is said to work only in Windows Vista and XP, but I tested it in Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues. More »

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Screenshot of Hardwipe in Windows 7
Hardwipe.

Hardwipe is another data destruction program that runs from inside Windows. You can clean free space or even wipe an entire drive, so long as it's not your primary drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, GOST R 50739-95, Gutmann, Random Data, Schneier, VSITRWrite Zero

Hardwipe is easy for anyone to use. Just load the drive that should be cleaned and choose a data sanitization method that should be used. 

Download Hardwipe for Free

Note: A small advertisement is always displayed in the program, but it’s not too intrusive.

Hardwipe works with all the most recent versions of Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 10. More »

Screenshot of Secure Eraser v5.000 in Windows 8
Secure Eraser.

Secure Eraser is a software suite that serves not only as a registry cleaner but also as a data destruction tool.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data, VSITR

After selecting the drive or partition that should be wiped, just click Start deletion to choose one of the above methods.

After Secure Eraser has done its job, you can set it to reboot the computer, exit, or shutdown the computer.

Because Secure Eraser runs from within Windows, you can't use it to erase the hard drive that it's installed to (like the C drive).

Secure Eraser Review & Free Download

Note: Secure Eraser attempts to install another program during setup that you must deselect if you don't want it.

Secure Eraser can be installed on Windows 10 through Windows XP, as well as Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003. More »

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Screenshot of PrivaZer in Windows 7
PrivaZer.

PrivaZer is a PC cleaner that can also securely delete all the files/folders from a hard drive. Right-click context menu integration is permitted as well as some unique wiping methods you won't find in many of the other programs listed here.

To use PrivaZer to wipe away a whole drive, choose Delete without a trace from the dropdown menu, select Sensitive directories, click OK, and then choose the hard drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: AFSSI-5020AR 380-19DoD 5220.22-M, IREC (IRIG) 106, NAVSO P-5239-26, NISPOMSUP Chapter 8 Section 8-501, NSA Manual 130-2, Write Zero

These methods can be changed by clicking the See advanced options link before destroying the hard drive's data.

A portable version is also available from the download page.

Download PrivaZer for Free

Because PrivaZer can do many other privacy cleaning tasks like deleting old files and erasing internet activity traces, it can be a confusing process to use just the data wipe feature.

PrivaZer works in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. More »

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Screenshot of PC Shredder 1.1 in Windows
PC Shredder.

PC Shredder is a small, portable data wipe tool that runs like any other software in Windows.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data

I like that PC Shredder is portable and has a simple interface. It doesn't seem apparent that you can wipe an entire disk, but if you choose Add Folder, you can simply select a disk and it will erase everything that’s on it.

Download PC Shredder for Free

PC Shredder is said to work in only Windows Vista and XP, but I didn't have any problems using it with Windows 10 and Windows 8 too. More »

Screenshot of AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition in Windows 7
AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition is a free disk partitioning tool for Windows that includes a disk wipe feature.

Data Sanitization Methods: Write Zero

To wipe an entire disk with AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition, just select any disk from the panel to the right and then click Wipe Partition from the Partition menu option.

Download AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition for Free

This program is primarily used as a disk management program, so finding the data wipe feature among all the other settings can be a little daunting. However, you must confirm every operation you try to perform, so it’s hard to accidentally cause harm to any files.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. More »

Remo Drive Wipe - Data Destruction Software
Remo Drive Wipe.

Remo Drive Wipe is a nice looking data destruction program that runs inside Windows. You can wipe an entire disk with one of three different sanitization methods.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Random Data, Write Zero

Remo Drive Wipe is a pretty simple program. It walks you through a type of wizard where you select the drive to wipe and then choose a deletion method.

Download Remo Drive Wipe for Free

Remove Drive Wipe is said to work in Windows 7, Vista, and XP. I tested it in Windows 8 without any issues. More »

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Screenshot of the data destruction software CCleaner
CCleaner.

While CCleaner is normally used as a system cleaner to remove temporary Windows files and other internet or cache files, it also contains a tool that can wipe free disk space or completely destroy all the data on a drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Schneier, Write Zero

CCleaner works from within the operating system, so it can't wipe the data off the same drive that Windows is installed to. However, it can wipe the free space of that drive.

You can choose more than one drive at once for CCleaner to wipe them all consecutively.

Download CCleaner for Free

Once CCleaner is opened, go to the “Tools” section and then select “Drive Wiper” to access this data wiping feature. Be sure to choose "Entire Drive" from the dropdown menu.

CCleaner can be installed to Windows 10 through Windows XP. More »

Screenshot of File Shredder
File Shredder.

File Shredder is a data destruction tool that can erase a disk full of files by simply adding the drive to the program as if it were a folder.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random DataWrite Zero

I appreciate how easy it is to use File Shredder. You can send a whole drive to File Shredder by dragging it into the program window.

Download File Shredder for Free

File Shredder works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and Windows Server 2008. More »

Screenshot of Hard Drive Eraser
Hard Drive Eraser.

Hard Drive Eraser is a portable program that can wipe all the data off of a secondary hard drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: AR 380-19, DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Write Zero

The program is very easy to use. Just choose the drive, select one of the methods from above, and choose the file system that the drive should end up being.

Download Hard Drive Eraser for Free

Hard Drive Eraser is said to work with Windows Vista and XP only, but I could also use it just fine in both Windows 10 and Windows 8. More »

Screenshot of Super File Shredder
Super File Shredder.

Super File Shredder is easy to use data destruction program that supports drag and drop to quickly delete entire hard drives.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data, Write Zero

Just start by choosing a sanitization method from the settings, and then add the entire hard drive to the queue or drag and drop it from Windows Explorer. Like many of these data destruction programs later in this list, Super File Shredder can only wipe drives other than the one you're using.

Download Super File Shredder for Free

Super File Shredder works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. More »

TweakNow SecureDelete - Data Destruction Software
TweakNow SecureDelete.

TweakNow SecureDelete has a nice, clean interface with simple buttons. It’s really easy to wipe clean entire hard drives with this program.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data

Like many similar programs from this list, TweakNow SecureDelete lets you drag and drop an entire drive into the program to remove all of its files and folders.

TweakNow SecureDelete Review & Free Download

TweakNow SecureDelete is said to work only with Windows 7, Vista, and XP. However, I tested it in Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues. More »

Screenshot of MiniTool Drive Wipe
MiniTool Drive Wipe.

MiniTool Drive Wipe is a small, simple program that runs from inside Windows like a regular program.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, DoD 5220.28-STD, Write Zero

MiniTool Drive Wipe is easy to use. Just select whether you want to wipe a partition or whole disk and then choose a sanitization method. There aren't any unnecessary tools or settings that can be confusing.

Download MiniTool Drive Wipe for Free

MiniTool Drive Wipe can run on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Windows 2000 is also supported. More »

XT File Shredder Lizard - Data Destruction Software
XT File Shredder Lizard.

XT File Shredder Lizard is another data destruction program that works in all the newer versions of Windows, like Windows 7 and Windows 10, and probably older ones too.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Random Data, Write Zero

To wipe a whole hard drive of its data, simply choose to add a folder and then select the root of the drive you wish to securely erase.

Download XT File Shredder Lizard for Free

The program is a bit outdated, and therefore is a little different to move around in. More »

Screenshot of Free File Shredder
Free File Shredder.

Free File Shredder is a data wiping program that has a few unique options and walks you through a wizard to securely delete files on a hard drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data

This program is very easy to use. Start by choosing Folder and then selecting the root of the drive you wish to delete. Then choose one of the sanitizatoin methods and how many times you want the method to be repeated before stopping.

Free File Shredder Review & Free Download

Because Free File Shredder works from inside the Windows operating system, you can't use it to remove files you're currently using. This means you can't use it to erase the primary drive that has Windows installed.

Free File Shredder is said to run on Windows 8, 7, and XP, but I was able to use it as advertised on Windows 10 as well. More »

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Screenshot of WipeDisk
WipeDisk.

WipeDisk is a portable hard drive wiper that's pretty easy to use and supports several data wipe methods. It works by selecting a drive and then choosing a wipe method.

Data Sanitization Methods: Bit Toggle, DoD 5220.22-MGutmann, MS Cipher, Random Data, Write Zero

You can log activities to a file, optionally wipe just the free space, and choose custom text to use for overwriting data.

After clicking Wipe, you must read and confirm a four character code to ensure you really want to use WipeDisk to erase all the files, which is a handy obstacle used to avoid accidentally erasing a whole hard drive.

Download WipeDisk for Free

Note: WipeDisk defaults to German when it's first opened, but it can be easily changed from the Extras menu. Also, the download is a RAR file, which means you need an unzip utility like 7-Zip to extract out the program.

I tested WipeDisk on Windows 10 and Windows 8, but it should also run on previous versions of Windows too. More »

Screenshot of Free EASIS Data Eraser
Free EASIS Data Eraser.

Free EASIS Data Eraser is another data destruction program that's super simple to use. 

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann, Random Data, Schneier, VSITR, Write Zero

When you first open the program, select any hard drive from the top list and then choose the partitions you wish to wipe data from.

Download Free EASIS Data Eraser for Free

Unfortunately, I've found that clicking the Abort button to stop a wipe results in strange behavior. The program shuts down but then appears to still be in progress when it's reopened. It seems you must restart the computer to return Free EASIS Data Eraser to its regular state. Fortunately, though, the data is still destroyed effectively.

Free EASIS Data Eraser officially supports Windows 7 through Windows 2000, but I was also able to get it to run without issues on Windows 10 and Windows 8. More »

Screenshot of File Secure Free
File Secure Free.

File Secure Free is a software suite with four tools, one being a file shredder that can erase all the files and folders on a hard drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: AR 380-19, Gutmann, NATO, Random Data

Something I don't much like is that after adding a hard drive to the file shredder, you must select the individual items you want removed, or choose Select All, and then click Shred. This is an extra step that most other data destruction programs don't require.

File Secure Free is unable to erase a whole hard drive if it's the drive that Windows is being used from. This means you can't use File Secure Free to erase the C drive, though you can use it for securely deleting any other internal or external hard drive.

Download File Secure Free for Free

Note: During setup, File Secure Free may try to install several other programs alongside the data destruction tool, but you can click skip or decline to stop them from installing.

Windows 7, Vista, and XP are the only operating systems officially supported, but I found that File Secure Free also works with Windows 10 and Windows 8. More »

Screenshot of Puran Wipe Disk
Puran Wipe Disk. © Puran Software

Puran Wipe Disk is a super simple program that can wipe all the files and folders on a drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-MSchneierWrite Zero

Both internal and external drives are compatible and you have the option to wipe just the free space or the entire disk. 

Download Puran Wipe Disk for Free

Like other non-bootable, installable programs in this list, you won't be able to use this program to wipe your C drive.

Puran Wipe Disk works in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2008 and 2003. More »

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Screenshot of BitKiller
BitKiller.

As one of the more simpler data destruction programs, BitKiller lets you add an entire hard drive to the list of files to destroy without any extra options or buttons to make things confusing. Plus, it's completely portable.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-MGutmannRandom Data, Write Zero

Because there isn't a "hard drive" section to BitKiller, you need to choose Add Folder and then select the hard drive you want to erase.

Something I don't like about BitKiller is that you can't cancel the file shredding once it has started. There is a cancel button but it's not clickable once you've began deleting a hard drive.

BitKiller Review & Free Download

Note: BitKiller runs from inside the OS, which means you can't use it to erase the hard drive that you're using to run Windows. To erase the C drive, you'll need to choose one of the programs from the beginning of this list that boots from a disc.

I tested BitKiller in Windows 10 and Windows 8, so it should also work in older Windows versions. More »

Screenshot of Simple File Shredder 3.2
Simple File Shredder.

It's easy to erase a whole hard drive with Simple File Shredder because it's as straightforward as browsing for the drive and clicking Shred Now.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-MGutmannRandom Data

If you choose the Random Data wipe method, you can choose how many times (1-3) you want the data overwritten.

Drag and drop and Windows context menu integration is supported, as well as password protection for the whole program.

Download Simple File Shredder for Free

Simple File Shredder performs just as the name suggests - it's very easy to use and isn't as complicated as some of the others on this list.

I was able to get Simple File Shredder to work only in Windows XP. More »

Screenshot of Ashampoo WinOptimizer Free File Wiper in Windows XP
Ashampoo WinOptimizer Free File Wiper.

Several diagnostic, cleaning, and optimization tools are included in Ashampoo WinOptimizer Free, and one of them is made specifically for erasing data from a hard drive.

Ashampoo WinOptimizer's mini program, called File Wiper, lets you erase the contents of a hard drive by choosing to load a folder, and it can also erase the contents of the Recycle Bin using any of the sanitization methods from below.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-MGutmannWrite Zero

In the options menu, you can optionally choose to keep empty folders after wiping a hard drive and/or to rename files/folders before wiping them, which can provide greater privacy.

File Wiper is located in Modules > Privacy & security.

Download Ashampoo WinOptimizer Free

Ashampoo WinOptimizer Free officially works with just Windows 7, Vista, and XP. However, I used it in Windows 10 without any problems, so it should also work in other versions of Windows. More »

Screenshot of AbsoluteShield File Shredder
AbsoluteShield File Shredder.

AbsoluteShield File Shredder is another data destruction program that's much like the others in this list. To remove all the data on a hard drive, just go to the File menu, choose Add Folder, and then select the root of the hard drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: SchneierWrite Zero

Instead of deleting a hard drive's files by opening the program first, you can do so from the right-click context menu in Windows Explorer by right-clicking any hard drive and choose AbsoluteShield File Shredder from the menu.

Download AbsoluteShield File Shredder for Free

Note: The shredding method can be changed from the Action menu.

I tested AbsoluteShield File Shredder in Windows 10 and Windows XP, so it should also work with Windows 8, 7, and Vista. More »

Screenshot of DPWipe in Windows XP
DPWipe.

DP Secure WIPER (DPWipe) is a small portable tool that works by dragging and dropping a disk drive onto the program and clicking Start wiping to completely erase all the files.

You can also enter the path of the drive into the text area.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-MGutmann, Write Zero

In addition to the above, you can also set DPWipe to clean a hard drive using no special method, which results in a simple, non-secure normal delete.

Download DP Secure WIPER for Free

DPWipe doesn't delete folders when wiping a drive. All the files inside the folders are removed just fine, but the folders themselves will remain.

Note: To install DP Secure WIPER to a portable location, be sure to change the default install directory during setup. Alternatively, you can use 7-Zip to extract the setup files to a portable location.

I was able to get DPWipe to work in Windows 10 and Windows XP, which means it will likely work in Windows 8, 7, and Vista as well. More »

Screenshot of DeleteOnClick in Windows 7
DeleteOnClick.

DeleteOnClick is simple to use because it has no buttons, menus, or settings. Use the program by right-clicking a hard drive and choosing Securely Delete.

You'll be prompted to confirm the removal of all the files.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M

DeleteOnClick only supports one data wipe method, so it's not nearly as advanced as most of these other programs.

Because DeleteOnClick runs from inside Windows, it can't be used to erase the primary drive that Windows is installed on.

Download DeleteOnClick for Free

DeleteOnClick can be installed on Windows 10 through Windows 2000. More »

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Screenshot of CopyWipe for DOS 1.14, a data destruction tool
CopyWipe for DOS.

CopyWipe is a data destruction tool that can run from a disc using CopyWipe for DOS or from inside Windows with CopyWipe for Windows, though both methods are text-only, non-GUI versions.

Data Sanitization Methods: Gutmann, Random Data, Secure Erase, Write Zero

CopyWipe for DOS has an Entropy Source option you can define before erasing a drive, which lets you choose how random data should be created. For example, you can enter random keys on the keyboard to generate entropy for the operation or choose to use the current time and speed of the computer.

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There are hardly any options with CopyWipe, and although the interface is in text form and not too user-friendly, it's actually pretty simple to use and makes you confirm that you want to wipe a drive before starting.

CopyWipe for Windows is entirely portable, which means it doesn't need to be installed before you can use it. It runs on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. More »

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Screenshot of SDelete in Command Prompt in Windows 7
SDelete in Command Prompt (Windows 7).

SDelete, short for Secure Delete, is a command-line based data destruction tool and can be run from the Command Prompt in Windows.

Data Sanitization Methods: DoD 5220.22-M

SDelete is part of the Sysinternals Suite of free system utilities available from Microsoft. SDelete does not utilize Secure Erase even though its name might lead you to think otherwise.

Important: Like some of these other programs, SDelete runs from within Windows, so you can not use the program to erase the C drive. Use another data destruction software program that you can boot to or see How to Format C for some other ideas.

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Note: There are several drawbacks to using SDelete and the information on their download page has a fair discussion of those issues. If you need a full-drive data destruction program then SDelete isn't a good choice, but it could be very useful in specific situations.

SDelete works with all Windows operating systems newer than Windows XP, as well as Windows Server 2003 and higher. More »

Screenshot of Wise Care 365
Wise Care 365.

Wise Care 365 is a system optimizer program that includes several tools, one of which is for data destruction.

Just load a hard drive using the Add Folders button and click Shred to immediately start the process. You can also shred files from Windows Explorer by right-clicking and choosing Shred file/folder.

Data Sanitization Methods: Random Data

Wise Care 365 can also completely remove deleted files by overwriting them with more secure sanitization methods than the data destruction tool. This tool is called Disk Eraser, located in the Privacy Protector section of Wise Care 365.

Wise Care 365 Review & Free Download

Important: There isn't a confirmation prompt after clicking the Shred button, so ensure you're ready to remove the files before clicking to do so.

Wise Care 365 works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There's also a portable version available from within the installable version. More »

Screenshot of ProtectStar Data Shredder
ProtectStar Data Shredder.

ProtectStar Data Shredder is a free data destruction program that can erase a whole hard drive at once, and even works from the right-click context menu in Windows Explorer.

Just choose Erase files and folders from the main screen and then click Add Folders to browse for the hard drive to wipe.

Data Sanitization Methods: Random Data

ProtectStar Data Shredder sometimes prompts to buy the professional version but you can easily click USE FREEWARE to bypass them.

Download ProtectStar Data Shredder for Free

Note: ProtectStar Data Shredder is no longer being updated by its developers, but this download link still contains the program.

I was able to run ProtectStar Data Shredder in Windows 10, 7, and XP, but I'm sure it also works in Windows 8 and Vista. More »

Screenshot of Baidu Antivirus' file shredder
File Shredder in Baidu Antivirus.

Baidu Antivirus is a free antivirus program that includes a tool for completely wiping all the data off of a hard drive.

The option to enable this is in Settings > Advanced Settings > Add "File Shredder" to Right-Click Menu.

Just right-click any hard drive and click File Shredder to wipe all the data.

Data Sanitization Methods: Write Zero

You can choose to run the above wipe method a few times over to help prevent file recovery.

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Note: Another program from Baidu called PC Faster can also shred hard drives by using the exact same file shredder program as Baidu Antivirus.

Both Baidu Antivirus and Baidu PC Faster can run in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. More »

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Screenshot of hdparm
hdparm.

hdparm is a command line based tool that can be used, among other things, to issue a Secure Erase firmware command to a hard drive.

Data Sanitization Methods: Secure Erase

Using hdparm as a data destruction software program is risky and, in my opinion, unnecessary with a great Secure Erase based data destruction tool like HDDErase, listed above. The only reason I've included the hdparm method of issuing a Secure Erase command is because I want to have a comprehensive list of options available.

I don't recommend that you use hdparm unless you're very familiar with command line tools. Misuse of this tool could cause your hard drive to become unusable.

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Important: This hdparm version runs from within Windows, so you can't use it to erase the drive Windows is installed on. If that's what you want to do, you'll have to use a bootable data destruction software program instead.

hdparm works with Windows 10 through Windows XP. More »