Shredit X | Mac: How to erase a USB Flash Drive or External Hard Drive



How to Erase USB Flash Drive on Mac

 

erase USB Flash Drive MacA USB Flash Drive is the generic term for a small, self-powered data storage device that connects to a computer directly through a USB port. It’s about the size of a pack of chewing gum, and is both Mac and Windows compatible. USB Flash drives are often called a brand name such as key drive, thumb drive, jump drive, pen drive and, very generically, a USB stick. Before you erase the USB flash drive, make a backup copy of any data you want to keep, since the files cannot be recovered from the drive after the drive has been erased.

Erasing sensitive data from a USB Flash Drive is of particular concern since you carry your USB Flash Drive with you and there’s always a risk that it may be lost or stolen. Although, because they’re relatively inexpensive and very portable, USB Flash Drives are often lent to others, at which time they could be lost or stolen. If that USB Flash Drive had confidential data on it that you’ve deleted but not erased, that data can still be recovered. To safeguard against this, erase the free space on your Flash Drive after deleting confidential data.

Requirements:

  • ShredIt X
  • USB Flash Drive

Instructions: How to Erase USB Flash Drive

  1. If you haven’t already done so, install ShredIt X.
  2. Plug the USB Flash Drive in to the USB port located on your Mac. This will mount the USB Flash Drive.
    erase USB Flash Drive mounted
    Once mounted, it will appear on the drive menu of the finder.
    erase USB flash drive mac select
  3. Move all the files you want to keep from the USB Flash Drive on to the hard drive.
  4. Move all the files left on the USB Flash Drive from the USB Flash Drive to the trash. Empty the trash.
  5. Shred the disk free space on the USB Flash Drive. There are three ways to erase free space using ShredIt X.
  • Using Drag and Drop. Drag the USB Flash Drive icon onto the ShredIt X Icon and drop it
    shreditx mac erase free space drag

or

  • Using the Buttons. Double-click the ShredIt X Icon to start the program. Click the “Shred Freespace” button on the main dialog. From the “Open” Dialog, pick the Drive you want to erase (the USB Flash Drive)
    shreditx mac erase free space button

or

  • Using the Menu. Double-click the ShredIt X Icon to start the program, and then pick the drive you want to shred (the USB Flash Drive) using the “Freespace” Menu.
    shreditx mac erase free space menu

 


How to Erase an External Hard Drive on Mac

Before disposing of an external hard drive, we recommend that you erase all the data you don’t want the next user to be able to recover. Many cities accept old hard drives at their recycling depot and dispose of them as scrap. Since you don’t know who will have access to your drive, it’s a safe practice to erase the drive before disposal.

Also, if you’re still using the external hard drive and you’ve had confidential data on it that you’ve deleted but not erased, that data can still be recovered. To safeguard against this, erase the free space on your External Hard Drive after deleting confidential data. To do this, just skip to Step 5.

Read all of these instructions before continuing. Using the Hard Drive Eraser function of ShredIt will erase your data, (i.e. your files), wiping the computer by overwriting your data so it can’t be recovered. Therefore, before you erase the hard drive, make a backup copy of any data or applications you want to use on another computer before you erase the contents of a drive, since the files cannot be recovered from the disk after it has been erased.

Note: The other method of ensuring that sensitive data can’t be recovered is to physically destroy the hard drive. This can be quite difficult as most hard drives are fairly robust. Breaking the drive apart also means you won’t be able to recycle it.

Requirements:

  • ShredIt X
  • External Hard Drive

Instructions: How to Erase an External Drive

  1. If you haven’t already done so, install ShredIt X.
  2. Mount the External Drive you want to erase.
    Once mounted, it will appear on the drive menu of the finder.
    erase USB flash drive select
  3. Move all the files you want to keep from the external hard drive on to your internal hard drive or to a USB Flash Drive.
  4. After you have moved all the files you want to keep, move anything remaining on the drive to the trash. Empty the trash.
  5. Shred the disk free space on the external Hard Drive. There are three ways to erase free space using ShredIt X.
  • Using Drag and Drop. Drag the External Drive’s icon onto the ShredIt X Icon and drop it
    shreditx mac erase free space drag

or

  • Using the Buttons. Double-click the ShredIt X Icon to start the program. Click the “Shred Freespace” button on the main dialog. From the “Open” Dialog, pick the Drive you want to erase (the External Drive)
    shreditx mac erase free space button

or

  • Using the Menu. Double-click the ShredIt X Icon to start the program, and then pick the drive you want to shred (the External Drive) using the “Freespace” Menu.
    shreditx mac erase free space menu

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