Make a bootable USB flash drive to wipe an old hard drive

To use a USB to wipe an old hard drive on a Windows PC:

  1. Download the DBAN *.iso image from http://www.dban.org/download.
  2. Insert a USB flash drive with 32MB+ available space.
  3. Download the Universal USB-Installer, which converts the *.iso image to USB flash http://www.pendrivelinux.com/downloads/Universal-USB-Installer/Universal-USB-Installer-1.9.6.6.exe
  4. Run Universal USB Installer, select “DBAN” from the drop down list, and follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Once the USB conversion is complete, restart the computer, and from the boot menu (see computer manufacturer’s instructions for how to select a boot device), boot from the USB device.
  6. At the DBAN menu, type “autonuke” and let it run!

You may have heard of a utility called DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) that will permanently wipe all the data from a hard drive before you recycle or dispose of it. This is a good thing to ensure no personal data can be recovered from the drive after disposal. DBAN can be downloaded from http://www.dban.org/download and is simple to use, but the download is a bootable CD image.

So what if you don’t have a CD/DVD drive, or the computer simply won’t boot from CD? Well, the following instructions will step you through how to make a DBAN USB flash drive to boot from, instead of from the CD.