How to clean a computer hard drive

Updated: 10/30/2017 by Computer Hope

Computer hard driveA hard drive for a desktop or laptop computer has external casing that is very durable and strong, making it difficult to damage. The casing also helps to protect the internal components from dust, dirt, and moisture.

Cleaning the inside of a hard drive is not necessary, due to how tight the outside casing is put together. Even if you wanted to try cleaning the drive, dismantling the drive to get at the inside is quite difficult and would result in a non-functional hard drive. The casing is put together using special rivets in most cases and not designed to be removed and put back together.

Typically the only time a hard drive is dismantled is for the purposes of retrieving data off the magnetic platters inside the drive, where data is stored on. Companies that specialize in data retrieval may dismantle a hard drive to access these platters. There is no attempt at putting the hard drive back together after the data retrieval is completed. Once dismantled, the drive is rendered unusable.

Someone said to clean my hard drive to speed up the computer.

If someone wants you to clean the hard drive, they are referring to uninstalling old software, deleting temporary files, removing Registry errors. This action may also refer to running ScanDisk and Defrag to maximize your hard drive's space.

I want to erase everything and start over as if the computer is new

If you want to clean the hard drive from all installed programs, drivers, and other software and get it back to as when you first purchased the computer you can follow the steps below.

What about a Solid-state drive (SSD)?

An SSD could be cleaned, but there is no reason. Since an SSD has no moving parts or anything that could encounter problems because of dust, dirt, or hair and because it is contained in a casing there should be no reason clean the drive.