A comprehensive guide to Darik's Boot And Nuke

Darik's Boot And Nuke (DBAN) is a program which wipes a hard drive, by overwriting it with a pattern of ones or zeroes (bits).

Before you start the program, you must know the following:

It is impossible to recover data from a hard drive that you wiped, with anything that you can afford. However, if you quickly realized that you are wiping a good hard drive, and interrupted the process, only a reputable data recovery company such as Data Recovery New England can help you.

To wipe a RAID, it is better to wipe individual hard drives.

Wiping a hard drive of a reasonable size takes a long time. For example, DoD Short (3 passes) on a 250GB HD takes 8 hours. Therefore, use an old computer to wipe your hard drives.

ALWAYS unplug every other device you do not use before starting DBAN. Unplug any USB memory stick devices, memory card readers (even built-in ones are known to cause problems), any hard drives other than the one you are trying to wipe, floppy drives, etc. The only hardware attached to the computer must the the monitor, keyboard, mouse, CD drive, and the hard drive being wiped.

NEVER EVER USE AUTONUKE OPTION. This option will automatically wipe out everything connected to the computer, without asking you for a confirmation. For example, if DBAN is installed on a USB memory stick, but you wanted to wipe a hard drive, AUTONUKE will automatically wipe out the hard drive AND the USB memory stick that it was installed on!

 

Some FAQ which are hard to find answers to:

1) Installing DBAN on a USB memory stick.

Documentation on the author's website references 'dban-1.0.7_i386.exe' program to install DBAN to a floppy disk or USB flash device.

An old version of DBAN (1.0.7) separately had an installer which could create a bootable floppy or USB drive. Note: this file is not contained within the latest provided .ISO file. It can only be downloaded separately. This program must be run with elevated Administrator privileges. However, this installer is an older version of DBAN. If you wish to install the latest version of DBAN, read the following two articles:

Install DBAN to a USB Flash Drive using Windows

Universal USB Installer – Easy as 1 2 3

According to the program's author, you must use a single FAT (not FAT32) partition on the USB stick for it to create log files.

 

2) Viewing the log files created by DBAN.

DBAN loads itself from media to memory, and only runs in memory. In fact, you can pull out the CD or USB stick which loaded DBAN after the wipe starts. Also, since DBAN was written to be used from a CD-R, it cannot create log files on a CD-R.

Be aware that DBAN is not very informative. For example, after the operation succeeds, the screen does not show whether there were any errors logged, any throughput statistics, and any error logs.

Also, here is a quote from the author "The latest public DBAN release does not have an easy way to get the log file if the computer does not have a legacy floppy drive." That statements applies to a default installation with a CD-R. To enable log files on a USB drive, follow the following author's instructions:

DBAN 2.0 should save a log file to a USB flash drive if you format it like this:

* Partitionless. (Like a floppy, not like a hard disk.)
* FAT format.
* Create a DBANLOG folder at the top.

However, logging currently (2.2.6) does not work with USB drives. See the following pages for more information on this:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/forums/forum/208932/topic/1677888

http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/forums/forum/208932/topic/3741363

http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/forums/forum/208932/topic/3740784

http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/forums/forum/208932/topic/3382181

 

3) Besides securely wiping the hard drive, what else is DBAN good for?

Since DBAN writes to every sector of the hard drive, it also effectively checks the hard drive for bad sectors. If the hard drive itself encounters an error writing to a particular sector, it will mark it as "Bad", and relocate it. However, hard drives which show a large amount of sector relocations should be returned to the manufacturer for a refund.

 

4) DBAN completed with non fatal errors.

"DBAN finished with non-fatal errors. Check the log for more information."

If DBAN stops before reaching the wipe options screen, there are two possibilities: 1) The version of DBAN you are using is not the best for your system, 2) Your hard drive has bad sectors which cause DBAN to fail. Some people like me have this error when using an older version of DBAN, and using the most recent version solves the problem. For others, the most recent version is what causes the error in the first place, and downgrading seems to help.

There's also another article describing a possible solution to this problem.

Also, this error may be caused by DBAN not having a driver for your hardware setup.

 

5) References to 'dban-1.0.7_i386.exe' program to install DBAN to a floppy disk or USB flash device.

An old version of DBAN (1.0.7) separately had an installer which could create a bootable floppy or USB drive. Note: this file is not contained within the latest provided .ISO file. It can only be downloaded separately. This program must be run with elevated Administrator privileges. However, this installer is an older version of DBAN. If you wish to install the latest version of DBAN, read the following two articles:

Install DBAN to a USB Flash Drive using Windows

Universal USB Installer – Easy as 1 2 3

 

6) Searching the DBAN SourceForge forum for help.

The SourceForge forum is idiotic and hard to use. Use Google to search it. Type the following:

site:http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/forums/forum/208932/ yoursearchterm

 

7) Question marks on the option selection screen.

If after pressing enter for a drive choice, instead of [wipe] you see [????], then DBAN does not know how to handle the selected storage media. This may be caused by a write-protected USB memory stick, and empty flash card media reader, etc. Read the author's post about this.

 

8) How to prevent DBAN from wiping out the USB stick that it is being run from.

Solutions: 1) Do not use AutoNuke. 2) Pull out USB drive after DBAN has loaded. 3) Use the option nousb

 



˅˅˅ Additional valuable information is available at one of the links below: ˅˅˅

 

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Page last modified 05-Feb-17 20:51:34 EST
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