Guide to help you to Fully Format and Wipe HDD or Solid-State Drive

Computers, smartphones, digital cameras, laptops and other such devices contain important information and personal data. Before disposing off or selling your devices or hardware it is important that you clear the data contained in them so they are not misused by others.

You have two options – the first is physical destruction of the devices and the other is through data removal. People usually consider using a utility or tool to delete the data so the device can be sold or handed down to others for use. One such software is DBAN.

#What is DBAN?

DBAN is short for Darik’s Boot and Nuke. Hosted on SourceForge, DBAN is an open source software which has been designed to remove the data from the Hard Disk Drive permanently.

DBAN can be used by corporates and individuals to remove data from their devices. It wipes all data from hard drives and the removal program is permanent.

None of the data recovery programs can alter the process. There are different ways of data removal such as Gutmann, Write Zero, DoD 5220.22-M, Random Data, RCMP TSSIT OPS-II etc. can be used.

The DBAN software can be installed in a USB or on optical media like BD, CD or DVD and then it can be used for the data removal.

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#How to Use DBAN?

  • If there is any data that you wish to save do it right now before you can begin the process of data removal. Download the DBAN software. DBAN comes in an ISO file and a CD or a bootable USB is required. Link:
  • Burn the ISO file to the CD you need an ISO burner. There are several you can find online, make use of one with good reviews. Those using a flash drive will have to go through the same method. Links: How To Make A Bootable CD, DVD & Blu-Ray Disc?How To Make Bootable USB Flash Drive – Explained
  • Although DBAN gives you the option to select the drives that you want to remove the data from it is best that you removed all secondary internal floppies or hard drives, external hard drives and other flash drives that you don’t want to be erased.
  • Booth DBAN from the USB or CD and you will see a blue screen of DBN.
  • There are different options that you will get on this screen. Simply press ENTER and start DBAN in an interactive mode. Experts suggest that the Autonuke option shouldn’t be used.
  • Next DBAN gives you a list of options that contains all the name of the drives. Highlight the one you wish to erase and then press the Space button to make a selection.
  • The word ‘wipe’ is inserted in the selection box beside the drive that you wish to erase. Press F10 to begin the process. The process of data removal will. Estimated time that the process of removal will take can be seen on the same screen. It depends on how much data your drive can contain.
  • By default, DBAN uses DoD Short method to erase the data but if you want to use a different process then in the drive selection screen press the letter M. You will find other processes such as Gutmann Wipe and DoD 5220.22-M. These processes increase the security while wiping off the data from your device. The drive is overwritten more than what is done in the default process to ensure complete destruction of the data. Using other processes will take more time.
  • Once the process is complete you will see ‘DBAN succeeded’ along with the name of the drives that you selected to remove and ‘PASS’ highlighted in green. This shows that the data removal process is complete.

#Advantages of DBAN

  • DBAN can be used to wipe data from a variety of devices and it supports most types of computer systems.
  • It is a very small and takes very less time to download.
  • Booting it very simple and the process thereafter is not difficult either.
  • You can select any number of drives to remove data. Its capacity is unquestionable and it makes impossible to get back the removed data.
  • DBAN is open source so it is free. There are several companies that charge huge amounts to do this same work that DBAN does for free.
  • It offers various types of processes where the level of security gets higher and you are fully assured of your data being deleted.

#Disadvantages of DBAN

Although the DBAN software has ease of use and is great to delete data there are a couple of drawbacks to it;

There are some types of data that it doesn’t erase such as HPA or Host Protected Areas which lies in a protected area of the drive. The DCO or Device Configuration Overlay and Remapped or bad sectors of the drive also cannot be erased by DBAN. This is because they are not accessible by Windows. One needs more advanced data removal tools to access these hidden parts.

Individuals and corporates who are using computers may not be at a risk because of these inaccessible areas of the drive by DBAN. However, those who have risky jobs and are afraid of data leaks would need to either physically destroy the drives or get an alternative tool which can make their way to these hidden parts.

Conclusion: DBAN is an easy to use software. The instructions if followed properly will easily guide you through the process of data removal. The burning of the image and the booting part may be challenging for those who don’t have the knowledge of hardware and software. However, it is an excellent tool and should definitely be used if you are looking forward to remove the data from your drives or system. Ensure that you follow the instructions to avoid erasing any important drive or data files accidentally while using the DBAN.


In case, if you think your data is too important which you really don’t want it to be leak in future. Then it always better to keep your drive with you or you can physically damage the drive. You can use a hammer or a drill machine until you break the internal Disc (or NAND Chips in SSDs) to fully destroy the Drive.

“That’s all for now, thanks for sticking with the article, and you know it will always good to let me know about the article, in the comments down below.” 🙂


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