There are plenty of applications around to securely erase data from Windows PCs. There are also tools like Partition Wizard Bootable CD/USB to partition and delete data from unbootable PCs.
While one can always use third-party tools to securely erase data before handing over a PC to service or selling off, there is an official tool to securely wipe data from Microsoft Surface devices.
Surface Data Eraser by Microsoft
Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is a free tool from Microsoft to help Surface users to securely delete data without booting into Windows operating system. The tool comes in handy when you Surface is not booting, and you want to send it to service. The Surface Data Eraser can be used on Surfaces running Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 7.
Basically, Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is designed to boot from USB so that users can delete data even when the Surface is unbootable. And before we tell you how to create a bootable USB of Microsoft Surface Eraser tool, please keep in mind that the tool doesn’t work third-party devices. That said, the Surface Eraser bootable USB can be prepared on any Windows running PC.
The Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is compatible with the following device only.
# Surface Book
# Surface Pro 4
# Surface Pro 3
# Surface 3
# Surface 3 LTE
# Surface Pro 2
Prepare Surface Eraser bootable USB
Step 1: Visit this page of Microsoft to download the Surface Data Eraser installer. The download size is about 360 MB. After downloading, run the setup file and then follow on-screen directions to complete the installation.
NOTE: The download page lists other tools for the Surface device as well. After clicking the Download button, you will see a page where you can select the tool that you want to download.
Step 2: Connect a USB flash drive that you want to use as a bootable USB to delete data from the Surface device.
Step 3: Type Microsoft Surface Data Eraser in Start menu search box and then press Enter key to launch the tool.
Step 4: Click the Build button.
If you’re using a USB 2.0 device, you might get the following screen with “We recommend that you use a USB 3.0 thumb drive with at least 4 GB of space” message.
The USB 2.0 drive works without any issues. Simply click the Start button.
Step 5: The tool automatically shows your USB drive. Select the USB drive by clicking the radio button next to it and then click the Start button to begin preparing Surface Data Eraser bootable USB.
The bootable USB will be ready in less than 5 minutes on most modern PCs. On our PC, it took less than 2 minutes. Once the bootable USB is ready, you will see the “Success” message.
Using Microsoft Surface Data Eraser
Step 1: Connect the bootable USB containing Surface Data Eraser to your Surface device.
Step 2: Next, you need to prepare the Surface device to boot from USB. Here is how to that.
1. Turn off your Surface.
2. Press and hold the volume up button.
3. Press and release the power button.
4. Release the volume up button.
Step 3: Turn on the Surface device and boot from the bootable USB connected to it.
Step 4: When you see the license screen, click Accept to continue.
Step 5: Finally, you need to press the “S” key to erase data. When you see the confirmation screen, confirm the same by pressing the “Y” key.