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How to Wipe a Hard Drive before Donation. Zerowrite, Low-Level Format.

Greenwire® > IT Tech Support Articles  > How to Wipe a Hard Drive before Donation. Zerowrite, Low-Level Format.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive before Donation. Zerowrite, Low-Level Format.

The Charity Mission Create asked me to create for them a disk that would allow them to protect the information stored on computers that were donated to them. I’m sure this is a common problem as people want to be certain that when they donate a computer, their personal information will be protected. For that reason I am making this guide to show you how to perform a Zerowrite, to completely and permanently remove all data from a machine. This is much more thorough than a Reformat, which only marks the drive as Empty, rather than physically resetting every bit on information the drive.

Most people probably remember “Low-Level Formatting”. A concept that for years was the maximum security you could use to protect the data left stored on your hard-drive. Low-Level Formatting used to require special software from the manufacturer of your hard drive and has since become less common. Now a days the best way to completely wipe a drive is to do a “Zerowrite” or write Zeros in every spot on the drive, effectively removing all of the data. This is done according to the Department of the Defense’s standard. We are going to be using a commonly available tool called the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) to facilitate the Zerowriting of a drive.

Firstly, Download and Burn the UBCD from here. If you need a programme to burn ISOs. I recommend CDBurnerXP or ImgBurn.


Once you have those installed you’re ready to Boot from the UBCD. To do this, put the CD in your drive and Restart the Computer. You should see this pop up on the screen. If this does not pop up, you may need to Reconfigure your Boot Device Priority. Often times when starting up the Computer you may see a message that says “To Boot from Another Device Press Fx” now. Whereas Fx is a F Key on your keyboard. Use that feature to select the appropriate Optical Drive.

Once you’re at this point, Press Enter to Continue.

Booting from UBCD

Next you should see this Menu, using the Up and Down arrows, navigate to “Hard Disk Tools” and Press Enter

Step 2: Hard Disk Tools

Next, Using the Up and Down arrows again go to “Wiping Tools” and Press Enter

Step 3: Wiping Tools

Next using the same process, go to “Darik’s Boot and Nuke V1.0.7” and Press Enter

Step 4: "Darik's Boot and Nuke V1.0.7"

If you see this screen, everything should be going as planned. It should take up to 60 seconds.

Step 5: Wait a While

Once you see this Menu you will now have to select which drive you would like to Wipe. Using the J and K keys to navigate up and down, mark the drives you want to Wipe using the Space-Bar.

Step 6: Select your Drives

Once they are selected the [            ] Brackets should now say “wipe”. When You’re Ready, Press F10 to Start

Step 7: Ready to Wipe, Press F10

Now you’re Wiping. Just let the process Finish then Restart. The drive should be entirely empty. Go ahead and reformat and repartition the drive to reinstall your operating system.

Step 8: Bye Bye Bits!

Greenwire Technology Solutions
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