DBAN 2.3.0 (Darik's Boot And Nuke)

A Full Review of DBAN, a Free Data Destruction Software Tool

Screenshot of DBAN, Darik's Boot and Nuke
DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke).

Darik's Boot And Nuke (also known as DBAN) is the best free data destruction program available, at least among those that erase entire hard drives.

If you're familiar with this sort of thing, grab the program right now for free via the download link below. If not, I recommend reading on to find more about DBAN and how it works.

Download DBAN
[Sourceforge.net | Download Tips]

Note: This review is of DBAN version 2.3.0, released on June 4, 2015.

Please let me know if there's a newer version I need to review.

DBAN works outside of Windows, or whatever operating system you're running, so it might be a bit difficult for some of you to use if you've never burned a disc or booted from portable media before, but it's not impossible for even a novice.

See my Step by Step Tutorial on Using DBAN to Wipe a Hard Drive or keep reading for my thoughts on this awesome tool and some general advice on using it to erase a hard drive.

More About DBAN

DBAN is designed to wipe all data from a physical hard drive. It doesn't matter how many files are on the drive, what types of files exist, what file system the drive was formatted with, etc.

If you run DBAN against a hard drive, it will overwrite every single bit of data on it, preventing even the best data recovery programs from extracting anything useful from it.

DBAN can wipe data off a disk using one of the following data sanitization methods:

DBAN is "installed" on optical media, like a CD/DVD/BD disc, or on a USB-based storage device, like a flash drive. Like most outside-the-operating-system tools, you download it as a self-contained ISO image, burn that image to the disc or drive, and then boot from it.

If you plan on booting from a CD or DVD to run DBAN, see my How to Burn an ISO Image File to a CD/DVD/BD Disc and then my How to Boot From a CD/DVD/BD Disc tutorial for help with getting DBAN to run after mastering the disc.

If you don't have an optical drive, or just prefer to use a flash drive, see How to Burn an ISO File to a USB Drive for instructions. You can not just extract or copy the DBAN ISO to a USB drive and expect it to work. If you have trouble booting from the USB drive when you're done, see How to Boot From a USB Drive for a tutorial and some other tips.

Once DBAN's main menu comes up, just follow the instructions on the screen to wipe your hard drive(s).

Like I mentioned above, if you need some more help, check out my Full Tutorial on Using DBAN which will walk you through every step of the process, with screenshots.

Pros & Cons

Darik's Boot And Nuke is a powerful program but it also has some drawbacks.

Pros:

  • Small download file
  • Can wipe the drive that the entire operating system is installed on
  • Is quick to burn to disc and get started
  • Supports all operating systems

Cons:

  • Instructions can be intimidating

My Thoughts on DBAN

DBAN isn't hard to use, so long as you've followed all the instructions for getting it prepared on the disc or flash drive.

That said, burning an image file and booting from something other than the hard drive, which is what's normally done, can be challenging. So for the average user, using DBAN can be a little scary.

I don't mean to demonize the fact that DBAN must be run from a disc or flash drive - it's this very "challenge" that enables DBAN to completely erase a hard drive. Many other data destruction programs are operated from inside the operating system, which means you can only erase other drives connected to the computer, or non-operating-system related files on the main drive.

Thanks to the fact that DBAN can completely overwrite every single file on a drive, it's a must-use program if you're selling a hard drive or starting fresh after a massive virus infection.

DBAN is an excellent tool and should be your first choice when you want to completely erase a hard drive. Just make sure you double-check that you're wiping the correct drive!

Download DBAN
[Sourceforge.net | Download Tips]