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How to use DBAN to erase the contents of a hard disk

Last Updated: 26/10/10

To use DBAN, you must first create a disk by following the steps on 'How to create a DBAN disk to erase the contents of a hard disk'. Once done the following tutorial will explain how to use DBAN to securely remove all data from a disk for reuse or disposal. At UCD we recommend two methods of data removal, both of which are supported by DBAN.

  • DoD short - a 3 pass wipe method suitable for use on most systems. (US Dept. of Defence Standard)
  • RCMP TSSIT OPS-II -a multipass method designed for erasing secret-level data. This is to be used for systems which contain sensitive, private or personal information. 

The following table contains instructions and steps on how to use DBAN to completely wipe a hard disk.

Note: This is not an “I’ll get a cup of coffee and come back in a few minutes” job.  You should assume that regardless of the method used, the wipe method will be an overnight task.

Step 1
Turn on the computer that you would like to clean.You must set the system BIOS to use the CD\DVD drive or USB drives ahead of the Hard disk to boot. Verify the computer is booting to the CDROM drive before the HD,then insert the DBAN CD. PC's vary in the exact requirements to enter the BIOS settings, but usually you press F1, F2 or F12 while the computer is booting. 


Step 2
If you have booted correctly form the DBAN CD, then you will see the screen below. At the 'boot:_' prompt, press 'ENTER' to start DBAN in interactive mode.

Step 3
After you press 'ENTER' you will see the following screen.


Step 4

If your data is sensitive or contains important information, then please continue to Step 5. However, if your data is NOT sensitive or does NOT contain important information, then please keep ALL defaults and jump to Step 6.

Step 5

At the above screen, click the letter “M” for method and select “RCMP TSSIT OPS-II” by pressing “ENTER.” This method is recommended for sensitive data, and is recommended by the Canadian Government for material up to and including Secret material.

Step 6
Please verify your screen looks like the image here. Your screen may show a different method depending on your choice.


Step 7

At this time, press the “Space” key. This will select your IDE drive that you would like to wipe clean. If you would like to choose a different drive to clean, then use your “Arrow” keys to select the drive and press the “Space” key to select the drive. Warning: All data will be lost including the operating system and all programs. This is not a reversible process!


Step 8
After selecting your drive, your screen should say 'wipe' as shown in the screen image. 


Step 9
Since you just selected the disk to wipe clean, now it is time to start the cleaning process. At this time press the 'F10' key. This is the point of no return and will start the cleaning process. 


Step 10
Both the 'DoD' and 'RCMP TSSIT OPS-II' process will take a while to finish. Please plan on allocating at least 12 hours for this process until succeeded.

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