Secure Deletion with DBAN

Secure File Deletion with DBAN

When it's time to recycle, donate or discard an old computer, it's important to take the time to ensure that all data is wiped from the computer's hard drive. Throwing a hard drive into a dumpster, deleting files or even reformatting the hard drive won't stop someone intent on recovering private, personal and confidential data from your computer and using it to gain access to sensitive information and even steal your identity. For related policy information, please review Columbia University's Data Sanitization / Disposal of Electronic Equipment Policy.

To prevent a malicious user from accessing data without extremely expensive equipment, CUIT provides the Columbia community with an easy to use program called DBAN that will wipe all data from a computer's hard drive.

Note: Downloading and saving these files to your desktop will not delete anything. However, once you have created the CD, inserting it into any computer will delete all data on the hard drive without any user interaction, so label them carefully!

If you choose to create a bootable CD-R, be sure your computer has a CD burning program installed before downloading the ISO file.

To download DBAN ISO for creating a bootable CD-R:

  • Click DBAN ISO for creating a bootable CD-R and choose, Save. Save the file to your Desktop.
  • Double-click the DBAN icon on your Desktop to open the file.
  • Your CD burning application will launch, and you will be asked if you want to burn the disk image to a CD.
  • Follow the prompts to burn the disk image to the CD.
  • When complete, remove the CD from the drive; label the CD:
DBAN ISO - CD WILL WIPE ALL DATA!

This CD can be used to wipe data from multiple computers.

To wipe data from a computer using this CD:

  • Insert this new CD into the CD drive of the machine containing the files you want to delete.
  • Restart the computer.

If the computer starts up normally, it means you must alter the "boot order" of your computer's drives. This process is different for almost every computer, so you should consult your computer's manual, the manufacturer's website or call the CUIT Service Desk at 212-854-1919 for assistance.

To download DBAN EXE for creating a bootable floppy disk:

  • Click DBAN EXE for creating a boot floppy and choose, Save. Save the file to your Desktop.
  • Double-click the DBAN icon on your Desktop to open the file.
  • When prompted, insert a blank floppy disk (preferably a new one) into your computer's disk drive and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • When complete, remove the floppy from the drive; label the floppy:
DBAN EXE - DISK WILL WIPE ALL DATA!

This floppy disk can be used to wipe data from multiple computers.

To wipe data from a computer with this floppy disk:

  • Insert this new CD into the CD drive of the machine containing the files you want to delete.
  • Restart the computer.

If the computer starts up normally, it means you must alter the "boot order" of your computer's drives. This process is different for almost every computer, so you should consult your computer's manual, the manufacturer's website or call the CUIT Service Desk at 212-854-1919 for assistance.