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DBan has a user interface that allows you to select drives to be nuked. Be sure to look at your options as you move through the process.

I've downloaded DBan and will be using it soon before donating my laptop, but I have one question. You said DBan will nuke every drive it sees (which included anything plugged into a USB port). My hard drive is partitioned and most data is on one of two partitions. Will those two partitions also be nuked?

In this excerpt from Answercast #20, I look at the way DBan finds drives to erase, including partitions.

Nuking USB drives

So, I'm not quite sure how the USB portion of your question relates to the partition portion of your question.

To be honest, I'm not totally sure that DBan will automatically nuke or erase a USB drive, a drive that's been connected through a USB connector. It may or may not. That's something that you need to carefully look at when you run DBan.

  • DBan, in addition to doing things automatically, definitely has an interface that allows you to select specifically what drives to be erased.

You may, in the case of a USB drive, need to specify the drive:

A). Make sure the drive is in fact detected by DBan because USB is one of those scenarios where not all drives are always detected by every distribution of Linux (and DBan is, in fact, a Linux-based distribution.)

b) The other is that you may need to check to make sure that it is in fact visible and... you may need to select it specifically in order to erase it.

Nuking partitions

Now the partition question is actually much simpler. DBan, as I understand it, looks at drives. It looks at a disk drive and erases them at the drive level. It may not even notice that there are partitions on the drive before it erases the entire drive.

So definitely, keep an eye on it.

Make sure you know what you are doing.

Make sure there's nothing connected to the machine when you run DBan that you don't want erased. My belief is that it will select a drive and erase everything on that drive including all partitions: be there one, two, or half a dozen.

Article C5377 - May 23, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
May 26, 2012 4:29 AM

There's HardWipe ( that wipes files AND drives and will do USB drives. It uses logarithms on a scale from one overwrite to DOD specs.

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