By Emily / Last Updated November 18, 2019

Does formatting a USB drive wipe it completely?

The USB drive is an easy-to-carry device for users to store data or transfer files from one computer to another. But when you plan to donate, discard or sell it, or eliminate unknown but stubborn virus/malware on the USB drive for reuse, you might want to delete everything of a USB stick.

For this purpose, users are more likely to format the USB drive using Command Line, Disk Management or File Explorer. But does formatting a USB drive erase it completely? The answer is “No”. Formatting a hard drive does not erase the data on the disk, only the address tables, making it much more difficult to recover the files. However, for some computer specialists, it would be easy to recover most or even all data that was on the disk before the formatting.

More secure way to delete everything on USB-disk wiping

Since formatting is not good enough to remove all data from the USB device completely, we need a more secure way to do that. It is called (USB) disk wiping.

Disk wiping is a secure method of ensuring that all data, including individually licensed software on the target disk, is irrecoverably deleted. The disk wiping process will overwrite your entire hard drive (Master Boot Record, partition table and every hard drive sector) with zero or random data several times. The more times the disk is overwritten and formatted, the more secure the disk wipe is.

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

Now, we will discuss the most important question: how to wipe a USB drive clean. By far, the most convenient and effective way is to apply a powerful USB drive wiper. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is an excellent choice.

This software is free yet powerful when it comes to wiping hard drive completely and securely in Windows 10/8.1/8/7 and Windows XP/Vista. Besides wiping hard drive, it also comes with many other features to help users manage their disk partition flexibly, such as copying partition to another drive, merging two adjacent partitions, merging unallocated space into a partition, clone SSD or HDD and more. To wipe a USB flash drive clean via AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, please take the following steps.

Warning: if there are some important files you don’t want to lose on the drive, you can backup them via Free AOMEI Backupper in advance.

Step 1. Free download, install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard in your Windows computer. Right-click the USB drive you plan to wipe and select “Wipe Hard Drive”.

Wipe Hard Drive 16gb

Step 2. Choose “Fill sectors with Zero” to wipe your USB drive, which is safe and quick. And click “Next” to continue.

Fit Sectors With Zero 16gb

Tip: to choose another three disk wiping methods, please upgrade to Professional edition.
Fill sectors with random data: This method will write random data to all sector on the USB drive, making it harder for recovery software to find any meaningful data.
DoD 5220,22-M: This is a software-based data sanitization method, and it can prevent all software-based file recovery methods from recovering data from the drive. This is very much safer but takes a longer time.
Gutmann: It is also a software based data sanitization to overwrite existing information on a hard drive. It will prevent all software based file recovery methods, and most hardware-based recovery method from retrieving information on the wiped drive. More passes (35 passes) make the erase more secure, but take more time.

Step 3. Click “Apply” to start executing the pending operation.

Apply 16gb

The same steps can be used to erase SD card, memory card, and other external hard drives.

Summary

This is how to wipe a USB drive clean with AOMEI Partition Assistant in Windows 10/8/7. If you want to erase everything from Samsung, Intel, Kingston and other famous SSD drives completely, the “SSD Secure Erase Wizard” provided by AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro can satisfy you well.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is specially designed for Windows Server users to optimize Server performance.