Darik's Boot & Nuke (DBAN) Software Utility for Data Wiping
Information Security Office - July, 2005
Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained utility that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction. Use EXTREME CAUTION! Data destroyed with DBAN CANNOT be recovered.
Obtaining the Software
Obtain university issued DBAN bootable CDs and floppies by calling the Property Management Office (PMO) at (650)-723-9004, or download DBAN directly from:
If you have the floppy or CD, you may go directly to the Step-by-Step section.
The PC (Microsoft) or Linux bootable floopy version has the form dban-X.X.X_i386.zip which you need to download and then unzip.
The PC (Microsoft) or Linux bootable CD version is an iso file with the form dban-X.X.X_ i386.iso.
The Macintosh bootable CD version is an iso file with the form dban-X.X.X_ppc.iso, and obtainable from an alternate location (select CDR/CDRW version) at:
Creating the DBAN floppy disk for Microsoft WindowsUnzip the downloaded file and double-click the 'dban-X.X.X_i386.exe' program to create a DBAN floppy disk. You must use an account with full hardware access to create the DBAN floppy disk. This means that you must be a member of the administrators group or have similar privileges on your computer. Virus scanners and domain policies can prevent you from creating the DBAN floppy disk.
Creating the DBAN CDR/CD-RW for Microsoft Windows
If you do not have a floppy drive, or if you wish to use a CD drive or DVD drive instead, then get the "CDR/CDRW version" from the DBAN home page. The "CDR/CDRW version" of DBAN is an ISO file. Microsoft Windows may hide the ".iso" part of the file name when you download it to your computer. Double-click the ISO file to burn DBAN to blank CD-R or CD-RW media. If nothing happens when you double-click the ISO file, or if the "Open With" dialog that asks you to "choose a program" starts, then you do not have burning software installed that understands the ISO format.
Creating the DBAN floppy disk on Linux
# unzip dban-*.exe
# dd if=dban-*.img of=/dev/floppy bs=1024
The EXE file is a zip file with an SFX header. InfoZip, which is bundled with most Linux distributions, can unpack it. Ignore the offset warnings. If /dev/floppy does not exist on your computer, then try /dev/fd0 or /dev/floppy/0 instead. This command also works on BSD systems.
Creating the DBAN CDR/CD-RW on Linux
# cdrecord -v dban-*.iso
Step-by-Step Disk Wiping (with DBAN)
Insert the DBAN boot floppy (for PCs only) or boot CD (version for PCs or Macs) into the computer, and then restart it or turn it on. Mac users also need to press and hold the “C” key during startup. The DBAN software should automatically start. If it does not, you will need to change your startup settings or choose an alternate option, per step (4) below.
At the first screen, type autonuke and press Enter. DBAN then performs a DoD Short wipe on all drives. Optionally, type dod to perform a standard DoD Standard wipe. Ensure that the drives wiped correspond to the physical drives present.
The DoD short wipe can take anywhere from one to six hours (unattended), depending on the drive size. A 40GB hard drive takes about 2 hours to wipe, and a 120 GB drive takes about 3.5 hours. Wiping is complete when you receive the confirmation: “DBAN succeeded: all selected disks have been wiped.”
No University support is provided for these instructions or the wiping process. If you require assistance, contact your local computer support staff. If wiping with DBAN is unsuccessful or not possible, one of the following alternatives must be used:
- Perform form a successful DoD wipe with another software. There is a recommended list in Appendix 1 of the Stanford Disk and Data Sanitization Policy and Guidelines
- Physically remove and submit drives for destruction.
- Contact ITS OnCall Services for wiping or drive removal.
Credits: Thanks to Lee Merrick, IT Manager for the Office of Research Administration, for contributing to the Step-by-Step section of this document.