How to Securely Wipe Your Windows 10 Computer Clean

27 May 2020 | Jetico Technical Support

How to wipe your Windows 10 computer clean? Securely wiping your computer clean is essential for anybody that wants to protect their sensitive information. Whether you want to replace or repurpose your hard drive, this step-by-step guide is made to make life easy for all Windows 10 users. 

There are 2 methods of wiping all of the data from your computer.

  • Wipe everything, including the operating system.
    This is the most common way of permanently removing all of the data from your PC. It’s also the logical choice if you want to dispose of or donate your computer. 
    Pros: This approach is faster and more straightforward. It is also the most thorough way of wiping your computer, as it leaves nothing behind. 
    Cons: You need to reinstall the operating system if you want to use the computer again.

    Review step-by-step instructions.
  • Wipe everything, excluding the operating system.
    If you’re repurposing your computer, but would like to keep the same operating system and continue using installed programs and applications, then this is the way to go.
    Pros: There is no need to reinstall the operating system after wiping.
    Cons: The process of wiping everything apart from the OS is longer than removing everything completely.
    Review step-by-step instructions.

Back Up Your Data

No matter what kind of data you decide to wipe, you should begin by saving the data you want to keep elsewhere. Data can be copied to an external storage drive or a cloud service. You can also transfer data directly to another computer. 

Whichever you decide to back up your data, you should also take some measures to keep your confidential information safe by using encryption. Here are 3 tips on how to choose the right kind of encryption method for you.

How to Wipe Your Windows 10 Computer Clean (Including OS)

Step 1: Getting Started

Before you begin, make sure you have installed BCWipe Total WipeOut. More information on using the software can be found here. If you don’t want to commit to buying yet, the software is also available as a free trial. If you have a MacBook, see these step-by-step instructions.

  • Go to Start menu
  • Select ‘BCWipe Total WipeOut’
  • Open ‘BCWipe Total WipeOut Configuration Wizard’ 
BCWipe Total WipeOut start menu screenshot
  • Click ‘OK’ when asked for elevation

Step 2: Transfer the Software to a USB Drive

Since you will wipe the operating system from your computer, you need to put the software on to a USB drive in order to carry out the operation. See the explanation in the image below.

  • Select ‘Bootable USB drive’
Select bootable USB drive BCWipe TWO screenshot
  • Connect USB drive to your computer
  • Click ‘Next’
Select USB drive BCWipe TWO sreenshot

Step 3: Select Automatic Mode

In this example, we will simply use the default settings to wipe your computer. 
Advanced users can see our instructional video for Manual mode.

  • Select ‘Automatic mode’
  • Click ‘Next’
select automatic mode BCWipe TWO

Step 4: Create Log File

At this point, you can choose to create log files. Logging is important if you need a record of what has been deleted.

  • Select ‘Write log file to removable USB’
  • Click ‘Next’
Logging BCWipe TWO screenshot
  • Check summary
  • Click ‘Create’
Create bootable USB drive BCWipe TWO screenshot
  • Click ‘Finish’ once the process is completed
Created successfully BCWipe TWO screenshot

Step 5: Wipe Your Windows 10 Computer

The USB drive is now ready for wiping. You can now boot the system you want to erase with this USB.

Reinstall Your OS After Wiping

By following the above instructions, BCWipe Total WipeOut will wipe all of the information from your drive - including operating system, file system, information about partitions, and hidden disk areas.

If you want to use your computer again, your first priority should be to reinstall your operating system. Find here step-by-step instructions.  

How to Wipe Your Windows 10 Computer Clean (Excluding OS)

The process of wiping everything apart from the OS is a little longer than removing everything completely. We have broken down the process into 5 steps, which are outlined below in detail.

  1. Uninstall unnecessary applications and programs
  2. Wipe files and folders
  3. Wipe Internet history
  4. Wipe local history
  5. Wipe free space

Step 1: Uninstall Unnecessary Applications

Before running wiping to clean your system, best practice is to uninstall all unnecessary applications and programs from Windows Control Panel. Only be sure to keep BCWipe and any other important software programs you need.

Step 2: Delete with Wiping

For help with installing BCWipe, you can watch our how-to video. If you aren't ready to commit, the software is available as a free trial.

Once BCWipe is successfully installed, select ‘Run as administrator’ as follows:

  • Go to Start menu
  • Select ‘BCWipe’
  • Right-click ‘BCWipe Task Manager’
  • Select ‘More’ and choose ‘Run as administrator’
  • If prompted for elevation, click ‘Yes’
How to Delete Files on SSD - Run as Admin

Now you can begin to remove all of the data from your computer.

  • Select ‘Create new task’ from ‘Tasks’ menu
  • Select ‘Delete with wiping’
Delete with wiping screenshot
  • Click ‘Add’

This command gives you the option to select individual files, folders, a path, or an imported list.

Delete with wiping add screenshot

If you don’t have a list of locations to import then click on ‘Browse for Folder’ and start adding folders one by one from your computer.

Choose folder BCWipe screenshot

The message below will appear if you are using an SSD drive. Click ‘OK’ to continue – we will wipe the Free Space at the end.

Delete with wiping SSD screenshot
  • Select ‘Entire Folder’
  • Click ‘OK’
Choose entire folder BCWipe screenshot

Review the list of folders you want to permanently remove.

Delete with wiping BCWipe screenshot 2

Before clicking 'OK,' check the other tabs:

  • 'Schedule’ to set a specific start time or frequency for the task
  • ‘Wipe options’ to switch between wiping schemes – we recommend following the wiping options for SSD drives 
  • ‘Log file’ to enable a logging function to record what was deleted
Schedule delete with wiping BCWipe screenshot

 When ready, click ‘OK’ to start the wiping process.

The task will start at a scheduled time, but you can force it to start before then by clicking the ‘Play’ button.

Step 3: Wipe Internet History

For any web browsers that will remain on your system, do not forget to wipe your Internet history. If you have uninstalled all web browsers, then you may skip to the next step.

  • Select ‘Create new task’ from ‘Tasks’ menu
  • Click ‘Wipe Internet History’
Wipe internet history BCWipe screenshot
  • Select all browsers
  • Click ‘Apply’
Select browser BCWipe screenshot

Check the other tab optionslike as outlined in the previous step for Delete with Wiping. When ready, click ‘OK’. 

Step 4: Wipe Local History

If you have kept any applications on your system, you must now wipe your local history. Otherwise, you may skip to the next step

  • Select ‘Create new task’ from ‘Tasks’ menu
  • Click ‘Wipe Local History’ 
wipe local history with BCWipe screenshot
  • Click ‘Select all’ 

  • Click ‘Apply’  

Select local history BCWipe screenshot

Check the other tab options, like as outlined in the previous step for Delete with Wiping. When ready, click ‘OK’.

Step 5: Wipe Free Space

Do not skip this step!

  • Select ‘Create new task’ from ‘Tasks’ menu
  • Click ‘Wipe Free Space’
Wipe free space screenshot
  •  Select all drives on your system
  • Click ‘Apply’
Wipe free space select disk BCWipe screenshot
Wipe free space wipe options BCWipe screenshot

Your computer has now been wiped clean with the operating system remaining intact.

If you would like to learn more about wiping hard drives, then also take a look at our ultimate guide.

Happy Wiping!

Related Articles

The Ultimate Guide to Securely Wiping Your Computer
Don’t Destroy Your Hard Drive! 3 Reasons to Erase & Repurpose
How to Wipe Data with BCWipe

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