How To Boot DBAN Off USB Drive To Wipe Out the Hard Drive


DBAN is a very efficient data wipe-out tool that completely removes your data on a hard drive you are about to dispose. It’s a self-contained boot disk that boots up your computer and wipes out the data it finds on the hard drive. It works great, just as it promises, on any computers that equip a CD/DVD Rom devices.

But what about those computers that don’t have a CD/DVD Rom or have one that refuses to work anymore? Here are the steps how you can put DBAN on a boot-able USB drive. Thanks to for sharing.

1. Download the latest DBAN.

2. Download (direct download link) Universal USB Installer, and launch it.

3. Select DBAN 2.2.6 from the dropdown list, and pick the drive letter for the USB drive.

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4. Click on Create button to start building the USB drive.

One minute or two later, a bootable USB drive with DBAN in it has been successfully created.

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Now, plug in the USB drive into the computer you want to wipe out and boot it up. Note that, if you boot up DBAN off a USB hard drive, select autonuke option would wipe out all drives the program finds, including the USB drive.


  1. Policies would only make the drive write protected if you are booting in to the client OS. A reg key will never be read by DBAN so the change will not protect the drive from erasure. That policy is usually used for security purposes (not allowing data to leave company property)

  2. Thank you for posting this solution for a bootable USB drive. However, I kept getting a DBAN error message when I tried to wipe just the hard drive. Figuring I can always reinstall DBAN on the thumb drive using your instructions, I selected autonuke and it is wiping both drives as I write this. Hopefully it won’t stall.

    • Yes, it happens to me as well. What I ended up doing is to immediately pull the USB drive out right after I type AutoNuke and hit Enter. DBAN will report error for not being able to wipe out USB drive in the end but that’s definitely ok with me.

  3. Thanks a ton, Kent. This saved me. I was trying to boot from the USB using FreeDOS, but it kept giving me errors.

  4. what happens to bios settings in laptop while using DBAN tool, does it goes along with data, if it is how to install os in that laptop?

    • Not sure what you really want to archive but once you use DBAN tool to clean up your laptop, everything on that laptop will be wiped out clean. Then you will need Windows installation disc to reinstall Windows back on it.

  5. No doubt, DBAN is one of the pillars of data erasing software industry. It is still widely used for wiping confidential data. With the ever increasing cases of data breaches, asking for certification after erasing is really required. So this gives me the curiosity to look for a better alternative to DBAN, I found a certified and secure tool called Bitraser. Starting results are satisfactory.


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