This is about software called "Darik's Boot And Nuke". I'm going to use it too erase all my data on my Hard Drive & then install Arch Linux.

Is it going to work?

I'm booting from a CD. I know the BIOS will stay so nothing can really happen, but I just want some confirmation.

closed as too broad by slm Jun 23 '16 at 12:17

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    By "work" do you mean will DBAN prevent the FBI from retrieving your data? Are you wondering if it will it back up your files first for safety? Or are you perhaps wondering if Arch Linux will work for your business needs, and will it run Microsoft Excel? – Wildcard Jun 21 '16 at 23:26

If by work you mean “does it erase the disk”, then yes, sure, it erases the disk, that's exactly what it's for.

It isn't the best way to erase a disk. DBAN writes multiple passes of random data, which is unnecessarily slow and causes unnecessary wear on the disk (that's mostly relevant for SSD). Multiple passes of random data is the paranoid overkill option, but overwriting just once with zeros is just as good unless you're using a 1980s hard disk and facing an adversary with considerable electronics equipment (and even then the recovery possibilities were haphazard).

With an SSD, if you're concerned about someone with a lot of resources trying to recover data, erasing by overwriting is actually not enough, because the SSD keeps some blocks in reserve to manage wear leveling, and overwriting the data that the computer sees doesn't overwrite those blocks, they can be recovered by someone who swaps out the firmware. This is mostly an academic concern, the attack is pretty expensive and low yield (the attacker just gets the bits that chanced to be in the reserve blocks), but the point is that the paranoid overkill option actually underkills. For an SSD, use the secure erase command.

In summary, if you want to wipe the disk so that data can't be recovered, just use the secure erase command (you can use hdparm to send it), then overwrite with zeros (cat /dev/zero >/dev/make_sure_you_type_the_correct_device_name).

If you only want to install a different operating system, you don't need to wipe the data. The installer will repartition the disk and create new filesystems.

  • This is good! Just I corrupted Ubuntu a while back and forgot my windows password. So I want to just wipe the hard drive and install Arch Linux. – Coleton O'Donnell Jun 22 '16 at 16:05
  • In DBAN (Which is what I'm going with) they have a "quick" function which sets all data to "0" so that's what I'm going with. As it's quick (as name applies) and on-top of that it is all I really need. I'm not selling my computer or anything :P – Coleton O'Donnell Jun 22 '16 at 16:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.