By Dylan / Last Updated July 17, 2019

When need to clear a USB stick?

A USB flash drive is a very common device to store thousands of files. It is easy to use and portable. But after long-term use, you may ask:"How do I wipe a USB on Windows 10/8/7?" due to the following situations:

  • Reusing: If there are some errors with USB stick, or your USB stick gets infected by unknown virus, you can clear your USB to remove them.

  • Selling or giving to other: If you want to sell or give your old USB to someone else. To prevent your sensitive data from being utilized by people with evil intentions, you’d better remove all stored data on the USB drive.

  • Getting some more space: When you need more free space for new data, but deleting unnecessary files does not make any difference, then you can back up required files and clean out your USB stick to get full space.

When it comes to clearing data from a USB pen drive, you may choose to format or delete partition USB drive on Windows 10/8/7 computer. However, both methods cannot completely delete data on your USB drive. Instead, those deleted data and files are still there. They just become invisible to the system, and can be easily recovered by data recovery tool.

Here, we will provide with 2 methods about how to clear a USB stick on Windows 10/8/7 completely and minimize the chances of data recovery.

Two methods to clear USB drive completely on Windows 10/8/7

To permanently clear a USB thumb drive and prevent software-based file recovery methods from retrieving information from it, you can write zeros to USB flash drive. For this task, there are two methods available.

Note: Your USB stick will be wiped completely via below two methods, so if there are some necessary data on your USB stick, please back up them first. Then check out the following methods.

Method 1. Clear USB with Command Prompt

Firstly, you can write zeros to USB drive for clearing all the data with command prompt. Follow the instructions below:

Step 1. Type CMD in the search box, right-click “CMD” and click “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. Type format X: /fs:NTFS /p:1(X is the drive letter of your USB) in the Command Prompt window and press Enter to format USB with the NTFS file system and write zeros to every sector of the drive. You could change the file system according to your need.

Step 3. Type y and press Enter to confirm. And wait for the proceed to finish, it may take a long time.

Step 4. You can type a name for the drive as volume label, or don’t and then press Enter.

Step 5. Wait for the “Creating file system structures” to show.

Step 6. When the prompt returns, you can repeat the above steps for other partitions on USB.

Step 7. Type exit and press Enter to exit Command Prompt.

Zero Fill Hard Drive

Method 2. Wipe USB device via AOMEI Partition Assistant

As you can see, this is time-consuming and complicated to clear USB with Command Prompt. Besides, many computer users are not good at running such complicated commands. Luckily, there is an easier way to clear USB device-AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can help to permanently and securely erase USB flash drive in a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

Step 1. Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant, right-click the USB drive you are going to wipe and click “Wipe Hard Drive”.

Wipe Hard Drive 16gb

Step 2. In this window, you can choose a wiping method. Here we choose “Fill sectors with Zero (Safe, Quick)”.

Fit Sectors With Zero 16gb

Tip: You can upgrade to Professional Edition to adopt one of the rest three wiping methods.

  • Fill sectors with random data (Safe, Quick): This method will mean writing random data to all sectors on the USB drive, making it harder for recovery tools to retrieve any meaningful data. It is safer than option 1.

  • DoD 5220.22-M (Very Safe, Slow): This is a soft-ware method to wipe a USB drive. It can prevent all software-based recovery software and most hardware-based recovery tools from recovering data. But it takes a little longer time.

  • Gutmann (35 passes, Very Safe, Very Slow): This is also a software-based data wiping method 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. This method is very safe, but takes more time.

Step 3. You’ll return to the main interface, here you can preview the result of this operation. And click “Apply”.

Apply 16gb

Step 4. In the pop-up window, click “Proceed” to execute operation.

Proceed 16gb

Same steps can also be applied to wipe HDD, memory card and other external hard drives.

Conclude

This is about how to clear a USB stick on Windows 10/8/7 permanently and securely. What’s more, AOMEI Partition Assistant is not only can assist you in clearing a USB stick on windows 10/8/7, but also has other features to help you manage partitions. You can upgrade to Professional Edition to unlock other functions like erase SSD drive, recover deleted partitions, etc.