Nov 072012
 
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One of the most important things you could do if you get a new computer or laptop is to wipe your hard drive on your old computer so that the data is properly destroyed just in case.  One of my favorite tools to wipe your hard drive clean is DBAN Darik’s Boot And Nuke.

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DBAN is a software tool that can be downloaded and easily installed to create a boot CD or DVD image that you can load and configure to wipe your hard drive clean.  It will wipe everything from encrypted files, NTFS metadata, cookies store, index.dat file, registry, swap file and uses several passes to make sure the data is near unrecoverable.

In short your data is completely demolished so that it is unrecoverable, or near unrecoverable as in it would take an extreme amount of effort to attempt to recover any valid data from your drive.  They won’t make warranties or claims but pretty much you can be fairly certain your data will not be recovered and you can safely sell or donate an old computer after you sanitize the hard disk with DBAN.

Now I mentioned you can use DBAN to wipe your hard disk drive from a CD or DVD image because by default DBAN does not install to a flash drive that you can boot from.  Many modern computers may not even have DVD drives anymore so booting from a USB device may be essential.

instructions on how to install DBAN to run from a bootable USB Drive.

First you will need 2 utilities:

Plug your Flash Drive you want to use into the computer USB port

(Note your USB Flash Drive will be wiped as part of this process)

Run the Universal USB Installer

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  • All you do now is select DBAN 2.2.x from the Step 1 Drop Down
  • Select your DBAN .iso file you downloaded in previous step for Step 2.
  • Select your USB Flash Drive letter for Step 3.

Warning:  Make sure you only select the USB flash drive you want to setup DBAN on, if you select the wrong drive you will basically wipe the boot headers of the drive you select.

Boot from the USB Drive

You are done, now  you just stick the USB drive into the computer you want to wipe your hard drive on.  Make sure you configure the BIOS to boot from the USB drive first or select it as a boot option.

Follow the instructions on DBAN to nuke the drive(s).

Note: Remove the USB drive after DBAN has loaded but before you start wiping to prevent DBAN auto-nuke from wiping the flash drive itself too.

Once you wipe the hard disk clean there will be nothing on it that functions, no Operating System or data of any kind.  So you can feel free to sell your computer, hard disk or donate the old PC.  You can install a free copy of Ubuntu on it or if it came with an old Windows Serial # you can install it’s original factory Windows disk.

I highly recommend you use DBAN to sanitize and delete the data off of any drive you are getting rid of, I would use it for everything from wiping your hard disk clean to wiping your USB flash drives.

Oh, and in case you didn’t figure it out the Universal USB Installer app can be used to create a bootable Linux Operating system from your USB Flash Drive too!


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Justin Germino
Working in the IT Industry for over 13 years and specializing in web based technologies. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. An Avid movie fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino
Justin Germino
  • http://twitter.com/davelucas Dave Lucas

    Or do what I did: take a hammer to that old harddrive! :)

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I have seen people pour lighter fluid on them and burn them, put them in barbeques…etc.

  • http://exabytes.com.my/ BlackWoods

    Have you try to restore the data from the drive which is wiped by DBAN with data recovery software like Recuva and Stellar Phoenix data recovery? That would determine how safe is that.
    The safest of all is still physically destroy the drive though.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I didn’t personally, but have done research online about it:

      http://charlesmccolm.com/2012/07/24/why-formatting-your-hard-drive-is-a-bad-idea/

      “Enter Darik’s Boot and Nuke, DBAN for short. DBAN is so effective at destroying data that even after 1 pass we could not recover data using Foremost or Recuva. DBAN can be set to make multiple passes according to various standards, RCMP (8 passes), DOD (7), DOD-Short (3), Gutman (35), or a setting of your own choice.”