By Emily / Last Updated October 12, 2019

Scenarios

“Is there a safe way to remove all data and wipe clean my flash drive that contains the bootable Windows 10 installation? No longer need it on flash drive as I now have it on local disk.”

“I have two USB flash drives that I'd like to wipe clean and factory set them back to the way they were when I bought them. What is the correct way to do it? I know I can format the drive but I want to set everything back to the way they were. So anyone can tell me how to wipe a flash drive clean? Thanks in advance!”

When do you need to completely wipe flash drive?

USB flash drive is a portable, fast and easy to use and carry storage device, and becomes a popular choice for users to transfer data between different devices. Like hard disks, you may need to wipe a USB flash drive in Windows 10/8/7 sometimes.

  • Free disk space to store new data

  • Delete sensitive data from USB flash drive permanently before selling it.

  • Eliminate unknown and stubborn virus or malware on the USB flash drive.

  • Flash drive showing wrong capacity, wiping it clean is also a shot.

What does wiping a flash drive do?

When it comes to deleting files from flash drive, most users will use Windows inbuilt format options to format the flash drive. However, does formatting a USB erase all data permanently?

The answer is “NO”. Formatting or deleting flash drive partition only makes data invisible to the operating systems; actually they are still there and can be recovered with professional tools. By contrast, wiping a hard drive will permanently remove all data from the drive and minimize data recovery possibility significantly.

How to wipe a flash drive clean in Windows 10/8/7?

To completely wipe flash drive, you need the help of a professional drive eraser like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It enables you to permanently erase everything stored on hard drive and replace them with garbage data in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista.

Besides, you will have four wiping methods to choose in the process. Depending upon the method you use, the overwrite data could be zeros, or various random patterns. Then we will look at how to wipe a flash drive clean step by step.

Precaution: This process completely wipes the entire disk you select, so ensure you back up any important files in advance.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional (Try Demo Version), right click the flash drive you want to erase and choose “Wipe Hard drive”.

Wipe Hard Drive

Step 2. In this window, you can choose a wiping method according to your needs and click “OK”.

Wiping Method

Fill sectors with Zero: this method means writing zeroes across the entire hard disk. It may also be called zero-fill erase or zero-fill.
Fill sectors with random data: this method will overwrite random data to every sector on the hard drive to be wiped, making it more challenging for data recovery.
DoD 5220.22-M: this method will overwrite existing information on a hard drive or other storage devices. It can prevent all software-based data and most hardware-based recovery methods from recovering information from the drive.
Gutmann: this method also overwrites existing information on a hard drive, and prevent all software-based data and most hardware-based recovery methods from lifting data from the wiped drive. But it uses a random character for the first and last 4 passes, the uses a complicated pattern to overwrite from pass 5 to pass 31. Much safer than the other three methods.

Step 3. You will return to the main interface, click “Apply" to execute the operation.

Apply

If there is more than one partition on the flash drive, and you just want to wipe only one partition clean and keep others safe, you can right-click the target partition and select “Wipe Partition”.

Wipe Partition

You can use the same methods to wipe SD card, memory card, HDD and other hard drives. After wiping the hard drive, the disk space will become “Unallocated”, with which you can create a new partition for reuse.

Final Words

This is how to wipe a flash drive clean via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional in Windows computer. What’s more, you can use this tool to secure erase SSD drive to restore SSD to original performance (factory state). For Windows Server users to wipe flash drive clean or erase SSD, please try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.