How to Erase an External Hard Drive

Erasing an entire hard drive is sometimes needed when one wants to erase sensitive data that is no longer needed, or simply wants a fresh hard drive. External drives operate in much the same way when it comes to disc operations as internal hard drives, and as such, can be erased much like any other internal hard drive. Eliminating all the data on a disc is known as formatting it, and is an easy task to accomplish by even the newest of computer users.

Step

Open the "My Computer" window by clicking the "Start" button, and left clicking the "Computer" heading.

Step

Locate your external hard drive you wish to erase among the system drives listed here.

Step

Right-click the external hard drive's icon, and select the "Format" heading to open the disk formatting menu.

Step

Click the "Start" button on this menu to begin the disc formatting process. Depending on the size of your disk, this may take several minutes or several hours.

Step

Explore the external drive upon completion to ensure all data has been erased.