Talking about portable storage devices, USB flash drives must task a place. We use USB memory sticks for storage, data backup, and computer file transfer, etc. If you have a USB drive used for years, you may suffer slow file transfer speed and insufficient storage space eventually. How to get rid of this situation?
Buying a new USB pen drive with larger capacity can be an effective solution. After transferring files from the old USB drive to the new one, you may wipe the old USB stick for reuse, selling or throwing it away! How to wipe a USB flash drive completely and safely? Just keep reading to obtain the best 3 USB wipe tools.
# 1. Windows “format” feature
To help you wipe data on an internal or external device, Microsoft offers a “format” feature. There are two modes you can choose from: quick format and full format.
A quick format will only delete the journaling part of the file system. It does not really rebuild the file system, nor does it scan for bad sectors. In comparison, a full format will completely wipe your hard drive and check the drive for bad sectors and fix them.
To ensure there is no recoverable data left that a program could sniff out, a full format is recommended. Follow the steps below to perform a full format:
- Connect your USB drive to a USB port on your computer and make sure it is detected.
- Press Win + Ekeys to open File Explorer. In File Explorer, right-click on the USB stick and choose Format.
- In the pop-up window, choose a file system for your USB drive or keep the original one. Be sure to UNCHECK the box before Quick Format.Then click Start.
- When receiving a warning of data loss, click OK to start wiping the USB drive.
# 2. Windows Diskpart utility
Diskpart is a command-line tool that can be used to manage drives, partitions, volumes, and virtual disks on your computer. To erase a USB flash drive, you can run the “clean” Diskpart command with the following steps:
- Type “cmd” in the search box and select the “Run as administrator” option to open an elevated Command Prompt.
- In the Command Prompt window, type the commands listed below. You should press Enter after each command to execute it.
- diskpart (launch the Diskpart utility)
- list disk (list all the disks available on your computer)
- select disk 1 (change “1” with the disk number of your USB drive)
- clean (delete all data on the selected disk)
- Close Command Prompt.
Tip: Your USB drive will become not initialized and unallocated after running the “clean” Diskpart command. If you want to reuse the drive, you can initialize the USB disk and create a new simple volume on it using Disk Management.
# 3. Best free USB eraser – AOMEI Backupper
Apart from Windows built-in tools, you can turn to the best free backup software and USB eraser – AOMEI Backupper Standard to remove all data on a USB drive. It is embedded with the “Disk Wipe” feature. Let’s learn more about it:
- Wiping type
It offers two wiping types: “Wipe partition(s) or unallocated space on the disk” and “Wipe disk”. You can choose one type based on your need.
- Various storage devices
AOMEI Backupper allows you to wipe data on a wide range of storage devices, including hard disk drives (HDDs), USB flash drives, mini and micro SD cards, etc.
Now follow the guidance below to erase a USB drive via AOMEI Backupper:
Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper on a PC running Windows 11, 10, 8.1/8, 7, Vista or XP.
Step 2. Load up AOMEI Backupper. Click Tools from the left panel and choose Disk Wipe.
Step 3. To erase a USB drive completely, choose Wipe Disk on the Wiping Type page and click Next.
Step 4. Select the USB drive you connected before and click Next. If it is not shown on the screen, click the “Refresh” icon to make it detected by this program.
Step 5. Choose Fill sectors with Zero on the Wiping Method page. Then click Start to begin removing all data on your USB drive.
Note: The data is unrecoverable after wiping, so backup files in advance if there is data you don’t want to lose. You may backup to cloud storage if needed.