University of Vermont

Information Technology

Windows Secure Disk Erase: Active@ KillDisk

Windows/PC Computer Secure Disk Erase:
Active@ KillDisk

Before You Begin

To securely erase the hard disk of your computer, you will need:
  • The computer with the hard disk to be erased. The computer must be plugged in to power with its mouse and keyboard attached. It also must have a CD or DVD drive attached, either internally or externally. The computer should be set up in a place where it can sit undisturbed for several hours while the secure erasure is performed.

  • A bootable KillDisk CD. To create one, download the Bootable ISO image and burn a CD from the ISO image file.


Secure Erasing with KillDisk

Once the computer is set up and you have a KillDisk CD, follow these instructions:

  1. Turn on the computer. Depending on the model, the power button can be on the front, back or side of the computer.

  2. Insert the KillDisk CD into the CD drive.

  3. Restart the computer and boot to the CD drive. Depending on the make and model of the machine, you may have to specifically choose the CD drive as the bootable device by hitting a certain key on startup, or changing the Device Boot Order in the system's BIOS. Contact your IT department for help with this.

  4. Once KillDisk loads, select the hard disk you want to erase from the list on the left (for most computers, there will only be one hard disk present). Press the F10 key on the keyboard to permanently erase all data.

  5. Press the Enter key for "Erase Method," and use the arrow keys to select the level of security you need for the hard disk*:
    • One Pass Zeros or One Pass Random— these will perform a minimally secure erasure in the least amount of time possible.**
    • US DoD 5220.22-M — this will perform a moderately secure erase to US Department of Defense standards, but takes longer to complete.**
    • Gutmann — this will perform a highly secure erase and takes a significant amount of time to complete.
    * Free version of KillDisk allows selection of One Pass Zeros only. Other erase methods require purchase of a KillDisk license.
    ** Tests performed on an 80GB hard disk had One Pass Zeros finishing in 30 minutes, while US DoD 5220.22-M finished in 11 hours.

    Press Enter again to make your selection.

  6. Press Enter to get your confirmation to start the erase process.

  7. To confirm that you are ready to erase, type erase-all-data in the specified field. This is not case-sensitive and does not need to be all upper case.

    Press Enter to start the secure erase.

  8. You will be presented with a progress screen that gives you an estimate of the time and the progress of the erasure. When finished, you may eject the KillDisk CD and turn off the computer.

  9. Fill out and affix a Clean Media Label to the computer to indicate its hard disk has been securely erased.
The hard disk should now be erased and the computer ready for recycling.

Last modified February 27 2007 01:36 PM

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