How do I securely wipe a disk drive?

Drive Wiping Procedures

When erasing sensitive data, you should always make sure that the data cannot be recovered. To securely wipe a disk drive, you can use an application called Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN).  This software should be used any time a computer is decommissioned or repurposed.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Download DBAN at:
  2. Use DBAN to create a bootable DBAN CD, and then boot your computer using this CD.
  3. At the "boot:" prompt, press Enter to start DBAN in interactive mode.
  4. Press  "M"   (Method). On the "Wipe Method" screen, use the arrow keys to navigate to DoD 5220.22-M, and press the Spacebar to save your selection and return to the Disks and Partitions menu.
  5. If only one disk is present in your computer, select the topmost option that appears in the Disks and Partitions menu and then press the Spacebar. The selection box will display "[wipe]" to indicate what will be securely erased.
    • If you see "[****]" it means that the section of the disk you selected will also be wiped.
    • If you see "[----]" it means that you have already selected a section of the disk for wiping. You should uncheck your selection and instead wipe the entire disk.
  6. Press the F10 key to begin the secure erase process. As soon as you press F10, data erasure will begin.

The "Statistics" box in the top right-hand corner of the screen will display an estimate of the time remaining on the disk wiping process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last modified on September 28, 2012