By Ivy / Last update October 22, 2021

What is DBAN?

DBAN, also known as Dariks Boot and Nuke, is a free and open-source data removal software, commonly used when you wipe a hard drive for reuse, donate, or selling. It’s designed to delete all data including programs, personal files, recovery partition, and operating system on a selected hard drive. If you don’t select, it will erase all disks on your computer.

It cannot run when the operating system is in use, so you can only boot from bootable USB or CD/DVD to wipe hard drive. It’s basically a self-contained boot disk, just download it ISO image from official site and burn to a supported device.

How to use Dariks Boot and Nuke to wipe hard drive

Since Dariks Boot and Nuke only works while wiping hard drive from BIOS, you need to prepare USB so as to create DBAN bootable USB. Then, see steps below.

Step 1. Go to DBAN official site to download its ISO image files and then burn it to USB.

Download DBAN

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To be safe, you need to remove all the device you don’t want to erase. It does not remind you which hard drive to wipe nor prompt you for any confirmations.

Step 2. Go to BIOS and set the DBAN bootable USB as the first boot option. Then, restart from this device.

Step 3. Wait for a while, you will see Dariks Boot and Nuke blue screen. You have many choices, press the displayed function keys to to learn more about DBAN, or directly press Enter to start the disk wiping process.

DBAN

Step 4. In the next window, you will see all the detected hard drives and several options at bottom. Type M to learn about the disk wiping method.

Disks and Partitions

Step 5. In the Wipe Method section, press "J" or "K" to scroll up or down and learn about the disk wipe methods. After that, select which method you want to use and press the Space key to confirm.

Select Wipe Method

Step 6. Select the drive you want to wipe and press the Space key to confirm. Then, you will see a “wipe” word at the beginning of the selected box.

Wipe Disk

Step 7. Press 10 to start the erasure process. After you see the green words “DBAN succeeded”, it mean the disk wipe process is complete successfully.

DBAN Succeed

Why need DBAN boot and nuke alternative?

As a matter of a fact, DBAN is a very useful hard drive eraser, but it still has some limitations, which inevitably leads many users to search “DBAN alternative”, “DBAN alternative HDD”, “DBAN alternative free”, etc. To be specific:

It only works for wiping hard drive from BIOS using bootable USB or CD/DVD, even you wipe an external hard drive.

The disk wipe process is realized by quick commands, which makes many users feel difficult to operate. And the erasure process does not have any confirmation, greatly increasing the data loss risk.

In addition, this software is no longer updated since June 2015, and some users report that the compatibility is in decline.

Then, which is a better alternative for DBAN? If you want a command-line tool, diskpart clean all commands can be a great choice. If you want an easier way, You could use Disk Management or AOMEI Backupper. Among them, AOMEI Backupper is the easiest way.

How to wipe HDD with DBAN alternative in Windows 10/11

Here you will learn 3 methods mentioned earlier, they are free DBAN alternatives, which can satisfy different users’ needs.

  • To wipe entire disk completely, you can use Method 1 or Method 3.
  • To specific partitions or unallocated space, you can use Method 2 or Method 3.
  • To wipe hard drive without booting into Window, you can use Method 3.

Method 1: Wipe a hard drive with free DBAN alternative - Diskpart

Diskpart is a command-line disk partition utility for Windows system, and you can use it to create partition, delete partition, merge partition, etc. To delete all data on a hard drive, you can use diskpart clean all commands with the following steps.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Wait for a while, you will see the black command prompt window, type the following commands and then press Enter in order.

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk x (x is the number of the disk you want to clean.)
  • clean all

Diskpart Clean All Commands

Step 3. Type exit to leave this window.

Method 2: Format hard drive with DBAN alternative for HDD - Disk Management

Disk management is a built-in disk partition manager, which allows you to format hard drive, extend volume, shrink volume, delete volume, etc. In order to wipe a hard drive, you need to use its Format option, please follow the steps below.

Step 1. Press Win + R to summon the Run window, type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter to open Disk Management.

Step 2. In the Disk Management window, right-click the volume on the hard drive you want to wipe and select Format... to continue.

Format HDD for Storage

Step 3. Here you will see a pop-up window like Format F:, select file system and uncheck Perform a quick format option. Then, click OK.

Format FAT32 to NTFS Disk Management

Step 4. You will be told that formatting this volume will erase all data on it and ask if you want to keep this operation, type OK.

That’s the entire process of formatting a volume, to delete all the volumes on the hard drive, you need to repeat the Step 2 - Step 4 until all the volumes are formatted. It’s annoying and really waste time. If you think so too, you could try the best free DBAN alternative - AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Method 3: Erase hard drive completely with DBAN alternative bootable USB - AOMEI Backupper Standard

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free backup software to help you continuously protect data while coming along with many useful tools, today we will use disk wipe tool. You can decide what to wipe, the entire disk, or specific partitions or unallocated space, and how to wipe a hard drive, using fill sectors with Zero, fill sectors with random data, DoD 52220.22-M, Gutmann.

The free version of AOMEI Backupper only supports fill sectors with Zero, but it is enough for common users to delete all data on the hard drive. If you want a more thorough way, you could use the other 3 methods, supported by the professional version, perform the data erasures up to 35 passes.

To clean a hard drive, you need to download this software and install it on your computer. Then, connect the hard drive you want to erase and be sure it’s recognized by Windows.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
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If you want to wipe hard drive without booting into Windows, you need to create a bootable USB with this software and then boot from it. And all the other steps are the same, you can follow the stepwise guide below.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, go to Tools and then select Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe

Step 2. In the wiping type window, you have two options, one is Wipe selected partitions & unallocated space on the disk, the other one is wipe disk. To delete the entire disk, select Wipe disk and click Next.

Disk Wipe Type

Step 3. Select the hard drive you want to wipe and click Next.

Select Disk

Step 4. In the wiping method window, select Fill sectors with zero and click Start. If the disk you are wiping is a system disk, your computer will restart to PE mode and perform this process.

Wipe Disk Method

Other disk wiping methods you can use:

  • Fill sectors with random data: Compared with zero, random data will be much difficult to retrieve due to its uncertainty.
  • DoD 52220.22-M: This method allows you to specify rewrite times, up to 7 passes.
  • Gutmann: As its name show, this method will be a potent medicine, which makes data recovery become almost impossible. The rewrite times are up to 35 passes.
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If you have any further question, you could click the Help icon or contact us via [email protected]

Dariks Boot and Nuke FAQs

Is DBAN safe to use?

It’s difficult to say if DBAN is safe or not. It’s based on a bootable drive and keyboard to wipe hard drive from BIOS, and the disk wiping process does not have any prompts or confirmation.

Is DBAN still good?

It’s a great choice for you to completely wipe a hard drive, but some users report the compatibility of it is in decline, it does not support some newer hardware, for example, since it hasn't been updated since 2015.

What is better than DBAN?

Owning to DBAN’s limitations, you may want a better DBAN alternative, there are multiple choices, such as, diskpart clean all commands, disk management full format, third-party tool like AOMEI Backupper Standard, etc, choose it per your needs.

Can DBAN wipe an SSD?

DBAN does not wipe the SSD disk, because it’s designed for traditional hard drive. If you need to erase an SSD, you can try Diskpart, Disk Management or third-party partition manager like AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Your choice 

In this article, you will get 3 DBAN alternatives, which one is your better choice? Simple command line tool or GUI-based software, my choice is using free backup software AOMEI Backupper Standard to wipe a hard drive.

After disk wiping, I still can use it to backup my data so as to protect it continuously, it can be personal files, documents, musics, videos etc, or data on a specific partition(eg: system drive) or entire disk.