Completely and Securely Erase a Hard Drive
Recently I was asked to completely erase a hard drive. As a lot of people know, just deleting a file, or re-formatting the hard drivedoesn’t do the trick. The data is still on your hard drive, and can be easily pulled off. Luckily there are several free programs that can completely erase a hard drive.
Not only do they completely erase the hard drive, but a lot of them conform to the US Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DoD 5220.22-M and will write over your hard drive data three times with different characters. Many experts recommend doing this seven times which they consider your data is then unrecoverable.
One such free program is DBAN, or Darik’s Boot and Nuke. Just go to his website, download the compressed file.. The best way to use DBAN for completely erasing your hard drive is to burn it as an ISO Image to a CD. If you don’t know how to do this, I previously wrote an article on how to burn an ISO image.
After your extract the downloaded file, you will see a file withe a .iso file extension. That is the file you are going to put on your CD. After you have done this, put your newly created CD into the CD drive ot the computer you want to completely erase the hard drive of.
Then go into the computer’s BIOS and set it up to boot from the CD, and then let it boot up. It will bood up with a blue screen and it will say “Darik’s Boot and Nuke”. Got to Steps 9 and 10.
Press the [Enter] key to select interactive mode and you will see a list of hard drives and disk partitions.Press the spacebar to select which partition you want to permanently erase.
Press “N” and you will get a list os different methods to completely erase your hard drive. Select DoD5220.22-M which is the standard used by the US Department of Defense. Press the “F10” key and wait. It will take a very long time.
Also a word of caution. Be absolutely sure you want to completely erase your hard drive. Once you start this process, you will not be able to recover your data on your hard drive.
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