How-To: Zero Write Any Hard Drive

How-To: Zero Write Any Hard Drive

Ever needed to zero write a hard drive?  Either because you were having troubles with it, had a virus, or needed to clean all of your top secret data from it?  Well no more chasing down the manufacturer tools, which are different for every brand, in order to do so.  The answer – Darik’s Boot And Nuke.

To use DBAN you simple need to download either the ISO for use when booting to a CD or DVD, or the EXE Loader to setup either a floppy disk or flash drive.  Configure your computer to boot from the media and boot up your computer!

Darik’s Boot And Nuke (DBAN) is a boot disk utility that can wipe almost any hard drive.  DBAN provides multiple options for data destruction spanning everything from a quick erase, which writes zeros to the drive in a single round, to the full DoD 5220.22-M which is the standard folowed by the U.S. Department of Defense and runs 7 passes on the drive and not only erases the drve, but rights random data over the entire drive during the process as well before the final erase happens.  For those of you that want more than the quick erase, but don’t have a week to let you computer sit and erase you 1TB hard drive, there is a mid-level method called DoD Short which runs passes 1, 2, and 7 of the full DoD wipe.

Darik's Boot And Nuke - Method List

Darik's Boot And Nuke - Method List

There are also options for “Pseudo Random Number Generator (PRNG)” method to use.  There are also options for verification.  You can choose to disable verification (if you want to increase the speed of the operation, verify only the last pass (default), or for those with lots of extra time, verify all passes.

Now for those computer users that are completely paranoid about “the man” getting their hands on that top secret data you have collected, I suppose nothing beats taking the drive apart and putting the plates in acid or grinding them up.  But if you are looking to sell your old PC or hard drive and want to remove all of your personal information from it in a easy manner, DBAN is the tool for the job.

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About the Author

I work in the K-12 Education field as a Technical Support Specialist / Web Specialist at the St. Joseph County ISD in Southwest Michigan. I also do a lot of freelance web development in my free time which I absolutely love doing. I am also an avid gamer when it comes to the PC or the XBOX 360 and have been known to enjoy a good LAN party.