A Review of the KillDisk v23 Software Tool

A full review of KillDisk, a free data destruction software tool

KillDisk is a free data destruction program that can securely erase every file on a hard drive. It can be installed on a Windows, Linux, or Mac computer, as well as booted from a disc.

Because KillDisk can run from a disc, it can even be used to erase a hard drive that has your operating system installed to it.

More About KillDisk

KillDisk erase disk screen

You can use KillDisk either from a disc or from inside the operating system like a normal program. Boot Disk Creator is what you need to open to make the bootable program.

If using the bootable version, you can erase a whole hard drive at once (even if it has an operating system installed to it), but the interface is text-only. This is in contrast to the installable version that lets you erase things like flash drives or other internal hard drives. This version has a graphical interface like a regular program.

The data sanitization method used to erase files with this program is Write Zero. This applies to both the installable version and the one that runs from a disc.

Whether you want to use it from a disc, a USB device, or from within Windows, just choose the download link under "KillDisk Freeware" from the download page. A Linux download is also available.

Once the program has been installed, the bootable version can be built from the "Boot Disk Creator" option in the Windows Start menu. You can burn KillDisk directly to a disc or a USB device, as well as save the ISO image anywhere on your computer so you can burn it at a later time with a different program. See How to Burn an ISO Image File for a different method.

When using this program from outside the operating system, use Spacebar to select the partitions to wipe, and then hit the F10 key to start. See How to Boot From a Disc if you need help doing so.

To run it like a regular program for Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, open the program called Active KillDisk.

Pros & Cons

KillDisk is a versatile program but it still has a few disadvantages:

What We Like
  • Erase multiple drives at once

  • Can be installed to Windows, Mac, and Linux

  • Supports hard drives over 4 TB in size

  • Makes you confirm erasing a drive

  • Can optionally erase just free space

  • Works with SSDs

What We Don't Like
  • Some options only work in the professional version

  • Supports only one wipe method

Thoughts on KillDisk

While there are several other data wipe methods and features that you can click in the program, you can't actually use them in this free version. Instead, you're prompted to upgrade to enable that particular setting.

On the upside, the bootable version lets you view the files on a hard drive before you choose to wipe it clean. This means you can double-check it's the correct hard drive you want to wipe before doing so, which is helpful considering that the only other information you're given to identify a drive is its size.

Fortunately, the bootable version requires you to type out confirmation text to be sure you really want to erase a hard drive. The installable version doesn't do this, but it's still a bit more than one click away to start destroying a drive, which is always good.

KillDisk makes a nice data destruction program because of its flexibility, but its lack of wipe methods makes it not nearly as beneficial as similar programs like DBAN. Then again, it differs from DBAN in that it can work from inside the operating system and not just from a disc, so there are benefits to using both.

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