Darik’s Boot and Nuke
If you ever need to completely wipe a hard disk, so that all the data on it is erased, then you need Darik’s Boot and Nuke. I’ve used it a couple of times on computers that have reached the end of their time with me, but might still be useful to someone else, and it’s worked a treat. It’s also free of charge.
Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) creates a self-contained boot device that takes you straight into the program’s main menu. From here you can simply enter ‘autonuke’ to have the program work out the optimum settings, or you can fine-tune the process. It generally takes eight to ten hours to wipe a modern hard disk, but the display keeps you updated on progress. Erasure is achieved by overwriting the data with random numbers.
DBAN creates its own Linux environment and can run on most Intel x86 or PowerPC systems. It comes as an EXE file for creating a bootable floppy disk or memory stick, or as an ISO file for creating a bootable CD or DVD, both available for download from the SourceForge Web site. One of those programs that you don’t need often, but it does the job when you do.