If you are giving away or selling your old computer, then you should keep in mind that any sensitive data on your computer’s hard disk can be restored even after it is deleted. To make sure that nobody is able to recover your sensitive data, you should completely wipe your hard disk and then re-install the operating system before giving it away or selling. Here is how you can completely wipe your hard disk using Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) CD.
You should note that DBAN completely destroys all the data on the selected hard disk. Therefore you will need to reinstall the operating system (like Windows or Linux). You should keep the operating system CD/DVD ready for use and should know how to install the operating system.
- Download the Darik’s Boot and Nuke ISO image from http://www.dban.org/download.
- You would need a software like ISORecorder to burn the ISO image on a blank CD. For details you can see how to burn ISO images in Windows Vista.
- After you have created a CD from the ISO image, insert it in the target computer and boot from it. To be able to boot from a CD, you will have to change the boot order in the BIOS of the target computer. Some modern computers also let you press the F10 key at the startup and let you select a boot device. After booting from the DBAN CD, you would see the following screen :
- If the target computer has only one hard disk you want to wipe — then you can just type autonuke at this screen and press the Enter key. The wiping process would begin with default options and wipe your hard disk. If you want to select more options, then do not type anything and press the Enter key to go into the interactive mode.
- If you enter the interactive mode, you will see a list of hard disks to select from. Use your up and down arrow keys and spacebar to select one or more target hard disk. The selected hard disk would have wipe in front of it.
- Optionally, you can also select a wiping algorithm or method by pressing the M key and choosing a method by using the up and down arrow keys and the spacebar. By default, DoD Short method is selected, which is an optimal method. If you select Quick Erase then it will wipe your hard disk faster but will not be as strong as other methods. The Gutmann Wipe takes as many as 15 hours to wipe one hard disk but is considered strongest method available.
- Finally, you can start wiping your hard disk by hitting F10 key on your keyboard. The wiping process will begin and can take many hours depending on the wiping method selected. It is best to begin the wiping process at night and let the wiping done overnight. After the wiping is done, you would be shown a message that the wiping was successful.
- That’s it, your hard disk data is destroyed beyond recovery. Now you can restart your computer and proceed to installing an operating system.