DBAN, or Darik’s Boot and Nuke is a utility that lets you wipe your hard drive. If you are planning to sell dispose off your old computer, or just the hard-drive, it is in your best interest that you get all your files and traces deleted and securely wipe you hard drive, before handing it over to someone.
Securely wipe your Hard Drive
The tool comes as a bootable ISO image which you can burn on a disk, or USB stick and boot from the device to securely make all the files off the drive. If you have ever formatted your system and reinstalled the OS, you won’t find it any difficult.
How to use DBAN
Running from the boot mode makes the process very much secure, and can certainly clean all the trace, but there is a catch to it as well. The user interface of this app isn’t friendly. But, the utility does offer many help menus to explain each operations, and the workaround for this tool.
If you want to know about what DBAN is, you can have all the information by pressing the F2 key. F3 key will guide you with the quick commands that DBAN supports. Whereas, the Enter key will get you started. It will ask you if you want to perform ‘Quick Erase’ that is wiping all the data with taking least of your time. But do remember, quick erasing won’t be as efficient as a thorough erase. You will also see ‘number of passes” option. What this option does is, it repeats the cleaning cycle again and again, making sure there is no data recovery possible. The app promises,
DBAN prevents all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis. It does not provide users with a proof of erasure, such as an audit-ready erasure report.
Risks of using DBAN
If you don’t want to deal with all this hassle, you can type autonuke to let DBAN figure things out and automate things with default settings.
Being in the beta stage, the app doesn’t guarantee you full stability. But given that you are trying to wipe the hard drive, there is not much which could go wrong. The website do warns you, though,
If your computer usually crashes, then DBAN is likely to crash with a “kernel panic” or “sanity error” too. DBAN does not run on computers with bad hardware.
As for now, DBAN doesn’t detect disks in RAID array.
The bootable image takes around 15 MB size and is completely free to use. You may download it from here.
There are several other freeware that will let you delete files permanently. You may want to have a look at them too!