How do I erase my hard-disk drive?


This article covers how to securely erase a hard-disk drive.

When data is deleted from a hard disk drive, this does not guarantee the data will be inaccessible to anyone with future access to the Hard-Disk Drive. ITS uses a sanitization method that overwrites the data with random values. A tool called Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) can be used to overwrite the disk seven times, the recommended sanitization process according to the U.S. Department of Defense standards.

DBAN is designed for hard disk drives with spinning platters. It is not designed for solid state drives. Running DBAN on a solid state drive may drastically reduce the solid state drive's lifespan. Visit How do I erase my Solid-State Drive? for solid state drive erase instructions.

You will need a bootable USB or CD with DBAN. Contact your Local Support or TSP for assistance if needed. Please follow the instructions below when using DBAN.

Important! Running DBAN renders any data on all hard drives irrecoverable. Please ensure all necessary data is stored elsewhere before continuing.



Step 1:

Insert the DBAN USB into an open USB port or CD into the computer’s CD drive.

Step 2:

Restart the computer but boot from the USB or CD.

Step 3:

If the computer boots up normally, and you are uncertain how to make it boot from USB or CD, contact your TSP.

Step 4:

When the computer has booted into DBAN you should see this screen:

Screenshot of the screen that should appear when the computer has booted from the DBAN CD.

Step 5:

At the ‘Boot:’ prompt, type the word ‘autonuke’ and hit enter.

Screenshot of the boot screen with "autonuke" typed into the Boot command.

Step 6:

The rest of the process is automatic. DBAN will probably take several hours to complete, depending on the speed of the computer in question and the number and size of the hard drives it contains.

Screenshot of the automatic process running on the screen.

Step 7:

Once DBAN is completed the hard drives have been wiped and it is safe to send the computer outside of departmental or university control.

Screen displaying "DBAN succeeded. All selected disks have been wiped."

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Article ID: 1507
Fri 1/3/20 3:33 PM
Tue 5/14/24 1:25 PM

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