How to Wipe a Hard Drive

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Hard Disk

Last updated on January 27th, 2019

Delete a file or empty your trash can doesn’t actually wiped from your hard drive. You’ll need to take an extra step to wipe the hard drive completely. Here is how you can do it.

Deleting files or formatting the hard drive isn’t enough, as data recovery software may make it possible to recover the data later. To completely remove all of this data, you can follow the steps below.

How to Wipe a Computer Hard Drive

Time Required:This could take several minutes to several hours depending on how big the drive is and what software/method you choose to wipe it with.

Take a Back up: Back up anything you want to keep. When the hard drive wipe is complete, there will be absolutely no way to get anything on the drive back.


1. Download the DBAN program. It will be an .iso file.

Note: There are actually several ways to completely erase a hard drive but using data destruction software is the easiest and still allows the hard drive to be used again.

2. Get the ISO image on a CD or DVD disc or a USB device like a flash drive

Burn it to a CD, DVD or USB storage device so it can run without booting up your operating system.

3. Boot DBAN from a CD or DVD

If you want to run DBAN from a CD or DVD, you’ll need to burn the .iso file to a disk. When burning to a CD or DVD, you’ll have to select the Burn image or Write image option in your CD/DVD writing software.

Once the CD/DVD burning process is complete, put the disk into the CD/DVD drive of the computer you want to wipe and reboot the machine. You may need to enter into the BIOS to set it to boot from CD or DVD.

4. Boot DBAN from a USB Device

If you’d rather use a USB device, you’ll need to download ISO-to-USB software, which will set up the file to be read properly. Just copy/pasting the file directly to a USB device won’t work. The exact instructions for doing this will vary depending on which software you use, but you’ll need to turn your USB device into a bootable disk using the .iso file.

Once you’ve created a boot disk, you’ll need to change your boot device order in BIOS so that Removable Devices is listed first. Insert the boot disk into a USB port and reboot the machine.

5. Wipe the Hard Drive

When the boot screen loads up, press Enter and choose M to get to the method screen. From here you can choose the type of wipe to perform. The stronger the method you use, the longer it will take for the software to complete the wipe. Go with the DOD 5220.22-M option.

After selecting the method, then select the drive you wish to wipe.

Make sure your data is backed up, then press F10 to start the hard drive wipe process.

Allow the software to complete the process before turning off the machine. This can take hours to days in some cases.