I had trouble installing DBan, (see other thread) on my Mac, I was wondering if there is a Linux distro I can install to destroy all of the data on a laptop (I've been given it on the condition I remove data), as UNetbootin seems to work better with Linux distros.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Thomas Dickey, Romeo Ninov, schily, slm Jul 17 '18 at 12:54

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    Remove and dispose of the drive in the machine. Install new hard drive. Assuming that the machine comes from a workplace, that should already have been dealt with, or the procedures for disposing of old hardware are seriously flawed. – Kusalananda Jul 17 '18 at 8:46

Use a live distro, that has the shred utility. You need a live distro, so that you can shred, the whole disk.

If you have a lot of laptops to do, then you can consider adding a custom script to do it on boot. But this will make the USB dangerous, and it could take you a long time to get it to work. You may end up wiping the development machine on the way. You probably best to have a live distro that boots quickly. You do not need a graphical user interface, command line is enough.

The selection of which one is not my job (out of scope for the site).

Happy wiping.


Use any recent distro with live CD/USB. Knoppix and Xubuntu are good. You can type knoppix 2 at boot of Knoppix to skip GUI and boot only command line.

You need to do manually what dban does. From elevated prompt (root or sudo): List hard drives: fdisk -l Determine which hard drive is which by displaying manufacturer and serial number to be sure. hdparm -i /dev/sda (use sdX where X is the drive you are targeting from fdisk output)

Now once you know which drive you want to destroy let's destroy data by writing zeroes, random data and zeroes again. Be sure you're wiping correct drive, the example assumes your drive is /dev/sda it may be a different drive. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=10M dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda bs=10M dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=10M

You can try at first with different bytesizes to see what works fastest, generally 4-16M works good on current hard drives for dd command.

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