How Do I Securely Erase My SD Card in Windows

Eleanor Reed
6 min readJan 26, 2021
Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

“How can I securely erase an SD card on Windows so that it won’t harm my SD card in any way?”

If you also have an SD card that you wish to erase, then you can have the same thing in mind too. We all use SD cards to expand the storage on our phones, digital cameras, drones, and other devices. Nevertheless, there are times when we wish to format our SD cards without causing any unwanted harm. Thankfully, you can securely erase an SD card on Windows in different ways. In this guide, I will let you know some tried-and-tested solutions to erase data from an SD card without any trouble.

Basics About Erasing and Formatting an SD Card

Before I discuss how to securely erase any SD card, let us clear some basics. For instance, a lot of people are not familiar with the difference between deleting and formatting that you should know.

In nutshell, it means that all the data in an SD card is deleted securely without causing any harm to its file system. Also, the data is wiped permanently so that no one else can recover it.

It simply means that some files would be removed from SD card storage. You can do this by browsing the SD card storage and manually removing certain files.

Formatting means that all the saved data on your SD card would be wiped away entirely. Also, it lets us change the file system and partitioning scheme in the SD card to troubleshoot any logical error.

This means that all the data in your SD card would be deleted beyond any scope of recovery. That is, it depicts the permanent deletion of data.

Deleting only removes your files from the SD card, but you can recover them afterward. On the other hand, a secure-erase would wipe its storage beyond recovery. Formatting it would wipe the stored data and also lets us change the file system of the SD card.

How to Securely Erase SD Cards on Windows?

When it comes to erasing or formatting an SD card on Windows, there are numerous options. To do a quick format, you can just go to the Explorer, right-click the SD card icon, and choose the format option. Besides that, you can also follow these two solutions to secure-erase an SD card easily.

Solution 1: Use the Disk Management Application

You might already be familiar with Disk Management that lets us manage our storage, create partitions, defragment the disk, and perform several other tasks. Therefore, you can simply take its assistance to erase an SD card on Windows too.

Step 1: Launch the Disk Management tool

To access Disk Management, you can go to the Search button adjacent to the Start menu, and look for it. Besides that, you can also access it from the Control Panel or by entering the “diskmgmt.msc” keyword in the Run prompt.

Step 2: Select your connected SD card

Also, make sure that your SD card is connected to the system when you would launch Disk Management. Here, you can select the connected SD card, view its storage, and right-click to get the “Format” option.

Step 3: Securely erase the SD Card

Once you would select the Format option, you will get a dedicated window to change the file system and the partition style in it. You can also choose to perform a quick format and click on the “Ok” button.

Since it will permanently erase your data, you will get a prompt stating the same. You can confirm it by clicking on the “Ok” button and wait as it would secure-erase your SD card.

You can format your SD card a few times so that the deleted data would become harder to recover.

Solution 2: Clean the SD Card via Diskpart

Just like Disk Management, Diskpart is also a native utility application in Windows that you can access from the command prompt. In case Disk Management or any other GUI solution is not working on Windows, then this would be a perfect solution to secure-erase an SD card.

Step 1: Load the Diskpart module

At first, you can just launch Command Prompt (as an administrator) from the Start menu and enter the “diskpart” command to load it. Besides that, you can also open the Run prompt from the Start menu and load the “diskpart” command from here as well. Also, before you proceed, make sure that your SD card is connected to your Windows PC.

Step 2: Securely erase your SD card

Great! Once the Diskpart utility is loaded, the cursor of the Command Prompt would also be changed. Now, enter the “list disk” command to view the details of the available disks and note the identifier (disk number) for your SD card.

Now, you need to select your SD card, by entering the “select” keyword followed by its identifier. For instance, if it is disk 1, then you need to type and enter the “select disk 1” command.

This will let you know that the specified disk has been selected. You can now just enter the “clean all” command to wipe the SD card storage without any future recovery scope.

Other Important Things You Should Keep in Mind

By now, you would know how to securely erase an SD card on a Windows system. Apart from that, I would also recommend the following tips to manage your data and SD card like a pro.

Tip 1: Move Valuable SD Card Data to a Safe Location

As you know, our existing data is lost from an SD card when we format or wipe it. Therefore, you should consider taking a backup of your important files in advance. All you need to do is manually copy the content from your SD card and save it to another secure location on your PC. If you want, you can upload it to any cloud-based platform as well. Later, you can just get back this data and move it to your SD card.

Tip 2: Recover Accidentally Erased SD Card Data

It should not sound surprising, but a lot of people end up formatting their SD cards by mistake. If you have also done the same, then you can consider using Recoverit Data Recovery to get back any lost or deleted data from your SD card. The application is extremely secure, easy-to-use, and supports all the leading SD card types. By following a simple click-through process, it will extract your data, provide its preview, and would let you recover it to a secure location.

Tip 3: Lock your SD card

If you don’t want to end up losing your data accidentally, then you can also consider locking your SD card. You can find a lock on the side or top of your SD card. If you slide it upward, then it will make your SD card write-protected. It means, you can only read data from your SD card, but can’t delete anything, or write anything on it.

That’s it, everyone! I’m sure that after reading this guide, you would be able to securely erase an SD card on Windows easily. To help you erase an SD card, I have provided two detailed solutions that anyone can implement. Furthermore, if you have lost your important files by mistake, then you can simply use an expert tool like Recoverit Data Recovery and get it back in no time.

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Eleanor Reed

I am specialized in picture, video, camera and SD card fixes. I ‘d love to translate complicated solutions into easy-to-understand ones.