Built in Windows secure data wiping command?

CnicNV used Ask the Experts™
I had some pay for software that could do this while you would be working in Windows (I run it against external hard drives).  It was a good piece of software, but the license key would no longer work (after a computer format), for complicated (I am being polite) reasons.  So I gave up on it's rent seeking attempts at not cannibalizing its own sales and wondered, does Windows have something built in that can do a secure wipe?   Or at the very least zero out the drive?  Like a command line utility or something?

If so, it would be a useful thing to know, because you can continue working in windows while securely wipe hard drives that are attached to an external (toaster) hard drive bay...as apposed to using DBAN.

Thanks for any insight that you can offer.
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Distinguished Expert 2018
Look at cipher.exe https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/814599 (article suits for newer windows, too)
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Are you looking for secure wiping tools like:

Disk Wipe or Active@KillDisk
Another option is to get the open source application "Eraser" portable.  It can be installed on a thumb drive and taken with you.
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Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Adding to McKnife's recommendation of cipher, here's a PCMag article about it:

You didn't say what version of Windows you have, so note that the article is about W7, although it says that cipher is also in XP Pro and Vista. You would, of course, delete all folders/files first (or format the drive), then use cipher to wipe it. Regards, Joe

Update: I just checked a W8 and W10 system — cipher.exe exists on both (in System32 and SysWOW64). Regards, Joe
Scott CSenior Engineer
I like HD Tune.  http://www.hdtune.com/

It's only $35 USD.

From their home page.

HD Tune Pro is a hard disk / SSD utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive's performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more.

You can not only securely erase a drive, but you can test it to see if you can re-use it or not.

I use it mostly for testing hard drives.  in fact, last week I went through my pile of laptop SATA drives and very quickly was able to separate the wheat from the chaff.


Thanks everyone for the good suggestions, I ended going with Cipher as it is free, built in and more than good enough for our purposes.

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