How to Make a Bootable dban USB Thumbdrive to Wipe Hard Drives

The instructions from work almost perfectly for me. There is one bother that makes the instructions from Pendrivelinux not work but I figured out a workaround :-)!

  1. Download the  dban-2.2.6_i586.iso
  2. Download and run  Universal USB Installer, select DBAN 2.2.6 from the drop down list and follow the onscreen instructions
  3. Once the installation to USB is complete, restart your PC and set your  BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device, save your changes and reboot

If all went well, you should be booting from your  DBAN USB.

Notes: The DBAN autonuke feature may also Nuke the Flash Drive (and as usual, any other drive it detects). I am not sure how to prevent this from happening. So if you use the autonuke feature, you might wipe DBAN from the USB Flash Drive as well.

Here is how to prevent autonuke from wiping the thumbdrive: remove the thumbdrive after the dban has loaded but before it has started wiping drives.

Dban has started. I just typed "autonuke" and the dban.bzi system is being loaded.

The dban image finished loading and it is looking for hard drives to wipe. Now is the time to remove the thumbdrive! You have about 10 full seconds to remove the drive.

Apparently, dban fully loads itself in memory because at the end of the wiping session, it shows a message saying that it has completed it’s job. It doesn’t hang or anything nasty.

When I tried to use  interactive mode on dban (to avoid autonuke destroying the data on my flash drive), dban crashed :-(. I’ve seen many complaints of this online with no fixes.

Here is another way I use to wipe hard drives. It isn’t as high security, but it’s pretty good.

  1. Use the System Rescue CD bootable thumbdrive image built by my coworker
  2. xinit (xwindows yay)
  3. gparted (see what drives we’ve got and unallocate the partitions)
  4. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda (and sdb, sdc etc to run other terminal windows) bs=16777216 (a 160 gig drive…) count=10240


  1. Kilroy says:

    The interactive mode issue doesn’t pop up for me when I burn the ISO to CD… Your readers might want to try that if they’re having issues.

    What is that a picture of behind the monitor? =)

  2. Lee says:

    I would have liked to burn to a CD but my computers didn’t have CD drives. Hence, the name of this post.

    Behind the monitor is our telecommunications panel

  3. Jeri says:

    I certainly missed the chance to pull the USB drive out. It’s nice that DBAN works so well, but nuts anyway.

  4. lee says:

    Jeri, Hehe. I’m sure you’ll get it next time.

  5. Tom says:

    Thank you for providing a brief and concise explanation of how to install to usb. I’ve been sitting here for an hour on various sites. lol. My replacement hdd is on the ups truck and on it’s way. Hope this doesn’t take days to work :)

  6. lee says:

    Tom, Dban takes a while to run… If I remember correctly, our drives took about 3 hours. It depends on how fast your throughput is and how large the drives are. Have fun wiping your drives!

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