Linux Stuff && Coffee

How to Erase a Hard Drive (Linux, Windows or Mac)

| Comments

How To Erase Hard Drive

The following tutorial walks you through how to erase hard drive (s) using Darik’s Boot And Nuke a bootable Linux distribution built with the sole purpose of deleting data from hard drives & partitions. DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) will  completely wipe your hard drive by writing over it multiple times to ensure your hard drive is erased (Arnie Style!).

Please note that DBAN is capable of wiping any hard drive partition / data for Windows, Mac or Linux it does not matter what file system (EXT3, NTFS, FAT, HFS) DBAN will be able to destroy the data contained on the device.



 How To Erase Hard Drive Using Darik Boot And Nuke (DBAN)

This is by far the easiest method of wiping a hard drive, it requires no command line options you simply need to download the ISO, burn it, set your BIOS to boot from CD and select the wipe option you want… I Recommend leaving it over night, here is the step by step tutorial:

  1. Download Darik’s Boot And Nuke ISO < Click Here

  2. Burn the ISO to disk, using your favorite burning application

  3. Boot from the CD/DVD drive on your Laptop / PC / Mac or Server

  4. You should the be presented with the DBAN Boot Screen – Hit ReturnHow To Erase Hard Drive - DBAN Boot Screen

  5.  I normally select DoD Short (unless you are really paranoid I would go for this option), use the J / K keys to go up & down the list and push space on the option you want – SEE BELOW FOR DBAN WIPE OPTIONSHow To Erase Hard Drive - DBAN Option DoD Short

  6.  The next step is selecting the correct drive / partition that you want to Nuke… PAY ATTENTION and don’t screw this up or you could end up destroying your date. I highly recommend only connecting hard drives you want to erase during the DBAN process, obviously this might not be practical if you are using a laptop or don’t know how to use a screw driver :) How To Erase Hard Drive - DBAN Select Partition or Disk

  7. DBAN should start running, it’s going to take a long time… No amount of coffee will suffice, I highly recommend running DBAN before bed, overnight should be enough for most Hard Drive Wipe OptionsHow To Erase Hard Drive: DBAN Running (Nuking HD)

  8. Eventually, if all goes well you should see the following screen… Congrats your Hard Drive has been Erased.How To Erase Hard Drive - DBAN Finished Screen

DBAN Erase / Wipe Options Explained

Below are the erase options for DBAN, how many passes each is and some external links for more reading (if you are interested).

Quick Erase

This option speaks for itself.


Canadian RCMP TSSIT OPS-II: 8 drive-wiping passes with a random byte in the overwrite sequence changed each time.

DoD Short

DoD Short is a 3 pass wipe based on the DoD 5220 22M (As far as I can tell).

DoD 5220 22M

DoD 5220 22M is a 7 pass wipe, visit the DoD 5220 22M Wikipedia page for more information on the standard.

Gutmann Wipe

This uses the Gutmann Method of  writing a series of 35 patterns over the disk or partition that is being erased.

PRNG Stream

Uses a (PRNG) Pseudorandom number generator stream to over write the drive.

I hope this tutorial on How To Erase Hard Drive (s) has helped some of you out, feel free to ask us any questions… An alternative to using DBAN would be using a Live CD such as Knoppix and running the Linux Shred Command.

I will leave you with this quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger…

You’ve Just Been Erased…