How to Wipe a Computer Clean? A Guide for Windows and Mac User

Using a computer presents different circumstances to deal with, and the need for wiping a computer clean is one of those steps you want to take with the utmost attention. No matter why you want the computer to be wiped, you’ve specific procedures to follow for both a Windows machine and a Mac PC. In this article, you’ll learn how to wipe a computer clean thoroughly following a few step-by-step guides.
Before you start taking the actual steps in order, you should be sure why you want to wipe the computer clean. Here’s a list of possible reasons.

  • The computer has become pretty sluggish, and you’ve taken all measures to make it faster but no luck seems to arrive.
  • You want to get an upgrade of the current operating system (OS). You may also want to switch back to an older version of the OS.
  • You’ve developed an interest in another OS other than a Windows version.
  • You’re about to sell the PC, and the data on it must be protected from falling in another hand.
  • You need to clean the existing hard drive or have got a new one for uses.
  • Your PC might become vulnerable to security threats due to an application or malware you couldn’t detect regardless of how hard you’ve tried.
  • You’ve got the feeling that the PC should be wiped because the OS you’re using has become loaded with junks you can’t simply get rid of.

Any of the above situations would lead you to think about wiping your computer clean. If your computer stores some data or files that you won’t let go, you should have a backup of them in a secure location. Now, let’s start learning how to perform it correctly while saving the essential data.

How to Wipe a Computer Clean? (For Windows Computers)

Since Windows users enjoy the perks of having multiple versions and upgrades of the OS, you may use Windows 10, 8, 7, or even Vista. Procedures to wipe computers using these variations aren’t exactly the same. Don’t worry! You’ll learn things specifically for each version.

For Windows 10 Users

It’s the latest of all Windows systems. Resetting the OS isn’t much of a rigor, but you need to take each step carefully.

  • Click Start menu and Select Settings.
  • Click the Update & security icon.
  • Choose “Recovery”.
  • Hit the “Get Started” on “Reset this PC”.
  • Choose between “Keep my files” and “Remove everything”. It depends on your need to preserve the files or erase everything.
  • Follow each prompt carefully to allow the recovery action to begin and continue.

Your computer will be reset with or without the files depending on what you choose.

For Windows 8 Users

Although slightly different, the process for Windows 8 is easy and requires the following steps to be taken.

  • Click the Windows key and the “C” key at the same time and open the Charms menu.
  • Select Search option to type reinstall. Do not hit Enter.
  • Select “Settings”.
  • Select “Remove everything and reinstall Windows”.
  • Click “Next” on “Reset your PC”.
  • Choose between “Fully clean the drive to have all files erased” and “Just remove my files to do a quick deletion” on “Do you want to fully clean your drive” window.
  • Click Reset on the “Ready to reset your PC” window.

Following these steps, you can easily erase the hard drive and reinstall the OS in an hour or two depending on your computer’s configuration.

For Windows 7 and Vista Users

For completing this process, you need to restore discs or installation discs for Windows 7 and Vista. Make sure you have allowed the computer to boot from its CD-ROM drive. Now, follow the steps below.

  • Insert the right installation CD in your CD-ROM drive.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Press any key as you see “Press any key to boot from CD” message on the screen.
  • Press “Enter” and any key on the keyboard when prompted.
  • Choose your language and select the preferences on the “Install Windows” screen and click “Next”.
  • Accept the terms and agreements under the “License Agreement” section. Click “Next”.
  • Go to Installation Type and select “Custom option”.
  • Click the “Drive Options (advanced)”.
  • Delete all partitions for Disk 0. You’ll see “Unallocated space” as the partitions are deleted.
  • Select Disk 0.
  • Select “Next”.

As you’ve done everything as directed, the installation process should begin by making a new partition, clearing the existing partition, and doing the installation on your hard drive. The hard drive will be formatted before the installation begins.
What if you’re an Apple enthusiast and have been using a Mac? Here’s the detailed guide you need to follow to wipe the device.

How to Reset Your Mac?

The process is easy requiring you to follow these steps carefully.

  • Click the famous Apple logo located in the screen’s top-left corner. You’ll see a drop-down menu. A Mac with a solid state drive allows you to reset it more securely than the one with a traditional hard drive.
  • Click Restart located close to the end of the drop-down menu.
  • Click Restart if prompted. This will restart the Mac.
  • You need to enter the recovery mode. As you see the machine is restarting, you need to press and hold the R key and Command key simultaneously. Release the keys as “Utilities” appears.
  • Choose Disk Utility.
  • Click Continue.
  • Choose your drive and click the option “HDD or SSD” below the “Internal” heading.
  • Click Erase. A pop-up should appear.
  • Click “Format”. A drop-down menu will appear.
  • Choose Mac OS Extended from the menu.
  • Click Erase. The Mac will start erasing. You need to wait for a while to get the process completed.
  • Click “Done” if prompted.

Now, your hard drive should become empty. For reinstalling the operating system, you need to quit Disk Utility and click Reinstall macOS. Then, click Continue. You have to make sure the computer has Internet connectivity during this process.

How to Erase a Mac?

Remember that both erasing and resetting are some ways to wipe a computer, but they aren’t essentially the same processes. Follow these steps carefully to erase (a more drastic action) your computer.

  • Click the Apple logo. With an SSD, you cannot really erase the hard drive. You can then try the resetting procedures. With a traditional drive, it’s possible to erase the data.
  • Click Restart
  • Enter the “Recovery Mode”. As the PC begins restarting, you have to press and hold both the R and Command keys. Release them as the “Utilities” shows up.
  • Select Disk Utility and click Continue.
  • Select the hard drive and click the HDD option located right below the “Internal” heading on the pages left side.
  • Click Erase to see a pop-up window.
  • Click Security Options.
  • Keep dragging the slider until you reach the “Most Secure” option. Select it to overwrite the hard drive using blank information up to seven times straight.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Erase to initiate erasing. The whole process is going to take hours. So, relax and leave the machine do its job.
  • Click “Done” as it appears.

The hard drive is supposed to be clean with almost no ways for data recovery. For reinstalling the OS, follow the steps described in the “How to Reset Your Mac?” section. Congratulations! You have had all the instructions in your head. Please be noted that you should be careful while doing any of these because a wrong step could be the cause of the loss of valuable data/files.