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Wipe a Hard Drive with Darik’s Boot and Nuke

Whenever you’re selling or giving away computer or upgrading your hard drive or SSD for something bigger and faster, you need to ensure the data on the hard drive is totally wiped out. That’s because your hard drive is a treasure trove of personal information. If you don’t erase your hard drive before getting rid of it, your personal files or folders could easily get into the wrong hands.

An interesting study was done, in which hundreds of computers were bought secondhand and scoured for personal data. They found a lot. Some drives even had enough data to completely steal the previous owner’s identity.

Simple deleting or formatting does not actually wipe a hard drive. When you format a hard drive or delete a partition, you’re usually only deleting the file system, making the data invisible, but not gone. A hard drive recovery software or specific hardware can easily recover the deleted files or information.

So for the sake of your private information security, you absolutely need to wipe the hard drive before handing your drive over to someone else. Darik’s Boot And Nuke (DBAN) is just that special drive eraser software and can help you with that.

Darik’s Boot and Nuke instructions

Darik’s Boot and Nuke, also know as DBAN is a free data eraser program that securely and completely wipes your hard drive. All your installed applications, personal files, and even the operating system will be removed and no longer recoverable anymore.

DBAN is designed to wipe all data from a physical hard drive, including all of the drive’s partitions. It doesn’t matter how many files are on the drive, what types of files exist, what file system the drive was formatted with, etc.

However, DBAN does not work with SSDs. If you have a Solid State Drive, DBAN will not be able to detect it and so it cannot erase data from it.

If you run DBAN against a hard drive, it will overwrite every single bit of data on it, preventing even the best data recovery programs from retrieving any deleted data from it.

DBAN can wipe data off a disk using one of the following data sanitization methods:

  • DoD 5220.22-M
  • Gutmann
  • Random Data
  • Write Zero

Download DBAN:

Download Darik’s Boot and Nuke from its official website as below.

DBAN will wipe all internal hard drives essential leaving them blank. DBAN will also wipe any attached USB Storage devices such as external hard drives, USB Flash Sticks and memory cards even the Bootable DBAN USB you use to securely wipe the system will be wiped so take extreme caution when using this program.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive? Darik’s Boot and Nuke Tutorial?

In this quick tutorial, I am going to show you how to completely wipe your hard drive using Darik’s Boot and Nuke.

Step 1. Back up your data before wipe your hard drive

Before wiping completely erasing a hard drive, you need to backup everything you want to keep, such as photos, videos, documents, software and more. Once you’ve wiped the hard drive, there will be really no way to get anything on the drive back.

Step 2. Download DBAN – the feee disk wipe software

DBAN is a commonly used program to wipe hard drives with. Although there’re many data destruction programs to do the same task, I prefer using this free application.

To start, you need to download DBAN to the computer you’re going to erase or totally the different one. However you do it, the goal is to get the ISO file downloaded and then burned to a bootable device like a CD or flash drive.

download DBAN drive eraser

Step 3. Burn DBAN to a CD

Using DBAN requires creating a boot CD. That means you’ll need a blank CD and a computer with a CD burner to get started. It’s possible to create a bootable USB drive as well, if you prefer that option.

If you plan on booting from a CD or DVD to run DBAN, insert a blank disc into your optical read/write drive, then browse the downloaded ISO file. Right-click dban-2.3.0_i586.iso and choose Burn disc image. Work through the image burning wizard and wait as the disc is created.

If you prefer to use a flash drive, you need to burn the ISO image to a USB drive. You can not just copy the DBAN ISO to a USB drive and expect it to work correctly.

Well, let’s continue with booting from CD containing DBAN we’ll be able to wipe our hard drive. Of course, you can also use USB stick too.

This method will also work for earlier versions of Windows, but we’re going to do this demonstration on Windows 10 computer.

Step 4. Boot DBAN from CD

The first thing we’re going to have to do is boot off of the CD. So what we need to restart the computer.

After inserting the CD with this drive eraser tool into the computer, just go to the Start menu and click to restart the computer.

DBAN boot menu

Step 5. Erase your hard drive with Darik’s Boot and Nuke

When you see the DBAN screen, select to boot from CD-ROM Drive, and press [Enter] tab to enter the interactive, guided mode wipe your drive.

Here you get the warning window here letting you know that once you’ve run this tool, there’s really no going back.

DBAN boot menu

Step 6. Select the drive for wiping

Use the arrow keys to select the drive you want to erase and press [Space]. This will flag the drive with [Wipe] flag.

So, once we get to this page we want to type M on the keyboard. And that will get us to the methods page.

wipe hard drive with DBAN

Now under wipe methods, use use arrow operant or arrow down keys on our keyboard we can see different options for wiping this computer.

Quick Erase obviously is the least secure wiping method and you can see on the right under security level. It says one-pass security level. If you go further down you can get up to 35 passes and as you can see the security level increases the higher up. And you can actually read a nice little description of what each one of these wipes do for the purpose of this review because there will be the quickest I’m going to select Quick Erase.

If you’re looking to erase your hard drive for good and you have time to wait, I would recommend going all the way down to the Gutmann Wipe. But I’m going just click Quick Erase for the purpose of this tutorial. I’m going to click on enter and now you have select which hard drive you want to don’t lead.

Now for the most people there should only be one drive you might have a secondary one if you have a recovery drive. Just make sure you select the right one. Typically it’ll be the primary partition that has the most amount of hard drive space.

Step 7. Start wiping your hard drive

So I’m going to click enter again, then you see the word wipe appears inside that quotation marks. If you’re ready to wipe, the wiping process will start. This hard drive erasing will take a little while depending on your hard drive size.

start wiping your hard drive

The Quick Erase process is about 15 minutes or so. When DBAN succeeded, the hard drive has been successfully deleted. And we can see all selected disk have been wiped, as well as the start data and finish date. So it’s pretty quick to actually begin doing this operation and you also use USB sticks to perform this action as well. I just typically use a CD because I just find it to be a little easier.

Last, Restart your computer

At last, we just press any key to continue. This point I’m going to try and restart the computer.

Once you boot from the computer, you can see that no boot file name has been received. So this computer is basically trashed at this point again. I cannot stress it enough, that make sure you have backed up all the files on the hard drive before using Darik’s Boot and Nuke to wipe your disk. I know it sounds obvious but I am sure it has happened before and I am sure someone is going to do it and then realize their mistake afterwards. So just try and take a little bit caution when doing this.

The bottom LINE:

Darik’s Boot and Nuke is a great free drive eraser tool I’ve used before. I hope this tutorial would help you guys out. Thank you!

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