DoD 5220.22-M Hard Drive Wipe: Detailed Guide

Have you heard of DoD wiping method but don’t know clearly about it? Read this article carefully to figure it out and get a professional DoD wipe tool.


by Lily Updated on April 2, 2024

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What is DoD wiping method (pros and cons)?

DoD 5220.22-M (DoD standard) is a data sanitization method first published in US Department of Defense document #5220.22-M. It specifies a process of overwriting hard disk drives (HDDs) with patterns of ones and zeros. Here are the pros and cons associated with DoD 5220.22-M:



Provides security by overwriting data multiple times

Insufficient for modern storage technologies like SSDs and flash-based media

Helps comply with data protection regulations

Time-consuming for large storage devices or a large number of drives

Offers a standardized approach to data sanitization

Excessive and unnecessary for non-sensitive or non-classified data

Best DoD wipe tool for HDD/USB drive secure erase

To run DoD secure erase for a hard drive, you need a reliable disk wipe tool - AOMEI Backupper Professional. You can benefit a lot from its following features:

  • It offers you four wiping methods: Fill sectors with Zero, Fill sectors with random data, DoD 5220.22-M, and Gutmann, which meets different levels of secure erasure.
  • It can help you wipe not only HDDs but also USB drives and SD cards.
  • It enables you to create bootable media so as to perform bootable disk wipe.
  • All Windows PC operating systems are supported, including Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP.

Wanna have a try? Download and install the best DoD wipe software on your PC now.

Download Free TrialWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

(💡 You can only preview the wiping process in the trial version. To conduct the operation, please upgrade to the full version.)

How to run DoD hard drive wipe in Windows 11/10/8/7 easily

Please note that your data can’t be recovered after wiping, so backup files that you still need in advance. Now follow the steps below to use DoD to wipe a hard drive:

Step 1. Connect the hard drive to your computer if you are going to wipe an external HDD.

Step 2. Run AOMEI Backupper. Click Tools and choose Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe

Step 3. On the Wiping Type page, choose Wipe Disk and click Next.

Wipe Disk

Step 4. Select the disk that you want to wipe and click Next. If you choose to wipe the system disk, the operation will be performed in reboot mode.

Select Disk

Step 5. Choose the DoD 5220.22-M wiping method and specify the rewrite times. You are allowed to set 7 passes at most. Finally, click Start to begin DoD secure erase.

DoD Wiping Method

Tip: The wiping process can take several hours to complete, depending on how much data you have on the disk and how many passes you set to run DoD disk wipe. Make sure that your computer has enough power to complete the process.

How to run DoD disk wipe on an unbootable PC

If your computer fails to boot, you can create a bootable USB on another working computer, boot your computer from the bootable USB and then perform DoD hard drive wipe. Follow the steps below:

Step 1. Connect a USB drive to a working computer. Download, install and run AOMEI Backupper. Then click Tools and select Create Bootable Media to make a bootable USB drive.

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. Plug the bootable USB drive to the computer with the hard drive you want to wipe out. Enter BIOS and set the bootable USB as first boot device.

Step 3. You’ll see loaded AOMEI Backupper once your computer boots up. Click Tools and choose Disk Wipe. The rest steps are the same as above.

Disk Wipe

FAQs about DoD wipe

 How many passes is a DoD wipe?

DoD standard is a 3-pass wiping method. It overwrites all addressable locations on your hard drive with binary zeroes, binary ones, and a random bit pattern from the first pass to the third pass.

DoD 5220.22-M ECE, the extended version of DoD 5220.22-M, is a 7-pass method.

 How long does a DoD wipe take?

It depends on your hard drive capacity greatly. Sometimes the interface type also has effect on wiping speed.

 Can data be recovered after a DoD wipe?

A DoD wipe will prevent all software-based file recovery methods as well as most (if not all) hardware-based recovery methods from lifting information from the drive.

 Can I wipe an SSD via DoD 5220.22-M?

You may not use DoD to wipe an SSD due to different structures of an SSD and an HDD. If you want to delete all data on an SSD, learn how to erase an SSD securely here.

Wrapping things up

You have learned what DoD 5220.22-M is and how to do DoD hard drive wipe step by step from this page. The professional disk wipe tool - AOMEI Backupper makes the disk wipe operation extremely simply. What’s more, AOMEI Backupper is superb disk clone software that can help you clone hard drive via Command Prompt. Try it out to discover more!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.