Sunday, 01 January 2012 05:00

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

UAB IT has a procedure for secure media destruction of discs, CDs, DVDs, tapes and hard drives. 

Departmental IT personnel should call AskIT or submit a ticket to AskIT requesting an appointment for secure media destruction, then fill out a UAB Secure Media Destruction Custody Form with the ticket number. AskIT staff will make an appointment for you to bring the media and the form to the AskIT help desk in Cudworth Hall (CEC 225).

  • The individual transferring the media to UAB IT's AskIT help desk is required to verify all media listed on the forms is present.
  • All media must be listed on forms and numbered.
  • Media not numbered or listed on forms will not be accepted.
  • All fields on forms must be completed.
  • Each form must accompany the related media.

Once in the possession of AskIT, the media is stored securely until it is picked up by UAB IT staff for transport to the destruction site. The media is delivered to the Waste Holding Facility to be destroyed using the metal shredder or incinerator as appropriate. UAB IT personnel are required to witness the destruction of media and record this on the form you submit. The form will be attached to the work order created with AskIT.

Related procedures:

Destruction of University Records Procedures