What Is Data Erasure?

Written byLucienUpdated on Feb 01, 2024
Gerhard Chou
Approved byGerhard Chou

Table of Contents


Because our lives increasingly depend on technology, keeping our personal information safe is more important than ever. Think about your phone or computer being full of memories, essential papers, and private information. Now, think about what might happen if this information got into the wrong hands. That is where the idea of data erasure comes in. It's like a digital superhero that makes sure old gadgets or files don't leave any traces when you delete them. Come with us as we explore the fascinating world of data erasure. We'll discuss its value, how it works, and how to keep your digital life safe and clean!

data erasure method

What Is Data Erasure?

Data erasure, also called data cleaning or sanitization, is the process of deleting data from storage devices so that it can't be recovered. It ensures that private data can't be retrieved after it has been deleted. Different methods are used to completely delete data, such as overwriting, degaussing, and secure erase instructions.

The goal is to keep people from getting in without permission, protect privacy, follow data protection rules, and ensure that electronic devices are thrown away safely. Erasing data is essential to digital security because it protects against possible data breaches and ensures that private information is handled correctly.

Why Is Data Erasure Important?

Protecting Sensitive Information:

Erasing data is an integral part of keeping private information safe. A data leak, whether personal data, financial records, or private business information, can be terrible. Erasing data from storage devices before throwing them away or using them for something else helps protect people and businesses from harm.

Data protection compliance:

Many places, like Europe, with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have put strict rules in place to protect personal information. So that they can follow these rules, businesses must protect personal information and get rid of it when they no longer need it. A group that doesn't follow the rules could face heavy fines and damage its reputation.

Stopping the loss of data:

There is always a chance that data will get out in this age of cloud computing and linked systems. When properly deleting data, you ensure private data doesn't get into the wrong hands. That lowers the risk of data leaks and the legal and financial problems that can come after.

Secure IT Asset Disposal:

Businesses must ensure that all data is deleted when they change their hardware or remove old equipment. That makes it impossible to regain personal data from devices thrown away, so the information stays private even after a device's useful life is over.

data erasure method

Methods of Data Erasure:

There are different ways to delete data; each is more or less complicated and efficient. If you want to protect sensitive data, you need to pick the right way based on the type of storage device you have. These are some popular ways to delete data:


When you overwrite data on a recording device, you replace it with random characters or zeros. Usually, this process is done more than once to ensure the original data can't be recovered. How often the data is overwritten depends on how important it is and how secure it needs to be.


Degaussing is mainly used to get rid of data from magnetic recording devices like hard drives and magnetic tapes. It includes putting the storage media in a strong magnetic field, which cancels out the magnetic charges and makes the data unreadable.

Cryptographic Erasure:

Using encryption keys to protect data is what cryptographic erasing is all about. Unfortunately, the protected data is also lost once the encryption key is lost or destroyed. This method is often used when protecting the encryption keys is more important than deleting the data directly.

Physical Destruction:

In the worst situations, where data protection is critical, destroying the storage device may be the best option. That can include destroying hard drives by melting or burning them, making it impossible to get the data back.

Secure Erase Command:

Some new storage devices have a Secure Erase command that lets users delete data safely. This command tells the device's firmware to delete all data that it has saved securely.

Data Erasure Software - Permanently Erase Data By Yourself

There are many free programs or paid programs can help in permanently erasing data. For example, Donemax Data Eraser, the reliable data erasure software, is able to permanently erase data from Windows/macOS machine, HDD/SSD, USB flash drive, memory card, digital camera, etc without causing any physical damage.

Key features:

  • Certified data erasure algorithms: HMG Infosec Standard 5, Peter Gutmann's algorithm, U.S. Army AR380-19, DoD 5220.22-M ECE, etc.
  • Three flexible data erasure modes: Erase Files, Erase hard Drive, Erase Free Space.
  • Once the data is erased, the data is lost forever, can’t be recovered by any method.

It is easy to use Donemax Data Eraser to permanently shred a file or wipe a hard drive.

Mode 1. Erase Files - selectively shred files and folders

Click on Add button to add files or folders, then click on Erase Now to permanently erase all the selected files and folders.

data erasure method

Mode 2. Erase Hard Drive - wipe all data from a hard drive

This mode will wipe all data stored on the hard drive. Just select the disk or partition, then click on Erase Now button. All existing data/deleted and lost data/hidden data stored on the selected drive will be permanently erased.

data erasure method

Mode 3. Erase Free Space - erase already deleted files permanently

If you only want to permanently erase deleted/lost data from a hard drive, try Erase Free Space mode. It is able to wipe free disk space of the hard drive and erase all deleted/lost data. It will not erase the existing data.

data erasure method

FAQs About Data Erasure

1.What is the difference between data erasure and data deletion?

They are completely different...once your delete a file from the hard drive, the deleted file is not lost forever and can be recovered by data recovery software. But, when you erase a file using data erasure method, the file will be permanently erased from the hard drive, can not be recovered by any method.

2.Should I wipe the used hard drive before selling or donating it?

Yes, it is strongly recommended to wipe the hard drive before you sell or donate it. You can use a data erasure tool to wipe the entire hard drive that will make data recover become inaccessible.

3.Can the data be recovered after erasure?

No, data erasure will erase the target data and overwrite the disk space with zero or random bytes. It means the erased data is lost forever, can’t be recovered by any method.


Nowadays, when digital information is everywhere, it's essential to delete data. Protecting private data, ensuring data security rules are followed, and stopping data breaches are all critical issues for individuals and businesses. By following best practices and learning about the methods and problems of erasing data, we can improve our ability to protect data and make the digital world safer. As technology changes, people's health and the integrity of organizations need to stay educated and take action when there are data security issues.

Contributing Writer


Lucien is a writer and a chief programmer of Donemax software who has worked in the company for 5+ years. He has written much of the content on the site and devotes to providing troubleshooting and solution for Windows and Mac users including disk cloning, data recovery, migration, eraser, error fixes.

Gerhard Chou
Editor in chief

Gerhard Chou

In order to effectively solve the problems for our customers, every article and troubleshooting solution published on our website has been strictly tested and practiced. Our editors love researching and using computers and testing software, and are willing to help computer users with their problems

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