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How to Recover Hard Disk Data After Dban

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

Q: Is It Possible to Retrieve Data After DBAN?
I ran the DBAN utility by mistake and soon found out that it was erasing my computer system's hard drive. I turned off the system. Is it possible to recover my data after running DBAN?

All the digital content of your computer system store on the hardware known as a hard drive. That is where everything, including the operating system, images, documents, videos, audio files like music, applications, and application settings, gets stored. And then there is DBAN software. It is the most powerful software for wiping data off the hard drives. Most of the time, we use it for deleting viruses, malware, spyware, and any kind of malicious programs from the hard drive.

However, there can be situations when users start it by accident, resulting in a loss of crucial data. Find out how you can recover files with the correct hard drive data recovery tool.

Part 1: Overview of DBAN Data Wiping Software

Many times people think of using DBAN when they want to sell their old computer system. It can help them clean the hard drive entirely before selling it. You may be thinking of erasing your computer's hard disk for any reason. There are so many software tools that can delete the data in a way that it becomes hard to recover it. If your hard drive holds sensitive data, you must ensure that it has been wiped clean in a secure manner.

DBAN software is so popular because it is the most potent and robust hard drive erasing software out there. It can delete the digital content on any hard drive automatically. If you want to remove every bit of data on a disk, this is the perfect tool for you. It is the ideal software if you are serious about preventing identity theft or data leak before selling, recycling, or giving away an electronic device. When we delete a file, then it means that only the address pointer to that file has been deleted. The raw data related to that file will continue to dwell on the drive. However, it is in dormant form and inaccessible.

dban overview

Part 2: What is DBAN?

DBAN refers to Darik's Boot And Nuke. It is a free data erasing software that claims to delete hard drive files fully. It removes everything, including applications installed on the system, the operating system, and personal files. So, if you want to sell your computer or reinstall the operating system, you would want to use DBAN. Since it is available for free, this gives you one more reason to use it.

Part 3: How to use DBAN?

Before you use DBAN, it is required to create a boot CD. So the system should have a CD burner. You may also consider creating a bootable USB in place of using a CD.

Taking Data Back-Up

You should take back up of all the essential data that you will need before erasing the data on your hard drive. You should keep in mind that once it has been erased, the data is not recoverable.

Download & Install DBAN

You will have to visit the official website to download DBAN. It is available as an ISO file that you can burn onto a CD. Make sure you don't open the file after downloading it. It is downloadable on any computer system. You can download it even on a system that doesn't need to be wiped clean.

Write DBAN File to a CD

As already mentioned, it is necessary to write the DBAN ISO file onto a CD to be able to use it. However, the method of writing it onto the disc is different from that for other files. You may need to use a specialized application. The Free ISO Burner is an excellent example. It works by unpacking the ISO file and writes it effectively. Once the file has been burnt to the disc, make sure you label the drive.

Remove Devices

The next step is to remove any device connected to the system that you don't want to erase. It includes external hard drives, secondary internal drives, USB flash drives, or even floppies. The good thing about DBAN is that it allows you to select the drive or drives that you want to erase. This feature can help prevent potential accidents.

CD Booting

It can be a little difficult step. Firstly, you will have to insert the disc and restart the system. The blue DBAN screen appears if everything works properly.

Interactive Mode

When the DBAN screen appears, press 'enter.' That will allow you to choose the hard drives manually that need erasing. Avoid using the option of 'auto nuke' that would otherwise automatically delete all the drives. The manual method is also better from the perspective if you have not removed all the other devices.

Drive Selection

Next comes the final step of selecting the drives that need erasing. Select the drive and press the 'space' key. The selection box will show the word 'wipe.' If it shows multiple listings, turn off the system and remove any external device such as a hard drive or USB drive. Restart the process and ensure that there is only a single drive in the listing. It will help ensure that you are erasing the right drive. If you are sure about the drive, you should highlight it with the arrow keys and select using the space key.

Start Wiping the Drive

Once you have made the final decision to erase the data and ensured that the right drive is selected, press the key F10. The duration of this whole process depends on the size of the data. The application will show the estimated time and other details on the upper right corner. There is also info on the completion percentage in the lower edge.

Process Completion

Once the erasing process completes, a screen that says 'pass' in green color will appear. Then take out the DBAN disc and turn off the system. On the other hand, if the screen has 'error' in red color, it means the erasure was not complete. You should retry. If it doesn't work again, it merely means that the drive cannot be wiped clean using DBAN.

Part 4: DBAN advanced features

The default features of DBAN are usually enough for you to achieve your goal. However, there are a few more in-depth settings that can help influence the speed and power of erasure.

Random Number Generator

DBAN makes use of pseudo-random number generator to overwrite data on a hard drive. When the screen for the drive selection phase appears, press on 'P.' That allows you to choose the random number generator. This option is quite useful for tech-savvy users.

Method of Erasing

You can control the method of erasure used by DBAN by pressing the M key on the drive selecting screen. The default method used by the software is the Department of Defense (DoD), which follows a shorter process. You can use the Gutmann Wipe or another type of method to ensure a more secure cleaning. These advanced methods involve more passes. It means the selected drive gets cleaned multiple times. Moreover, it also means that the wiping process takes much longer.

Verifying Mode

DBAN has a default function of checking the drive to ensure that the data has been erased. On the drive selecting screen, press 'V' to make changes to this function. There is the option to choose 'Verification Off.' Also, another option is 'Verify All Passes.' The default verification is conducted three times. But if you decide to verify all the passes, it will increase the erasure time.

Choose Number of Rounds

If you want to control the number of rounds of erasures, you should press the 'R' key from the drive selecting screen. The default number is 1 round. It acts as a multiplier on the number of passes. So if the number of passes is set as default, which is three passes, and you place two rounds, then it will perform a total of 6 passes. It will increase the time required to complete the erasing process.

Read More:
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Part 5: How to Recover the Hard Disk Data after Using DBAN?

Now that you know everything about DBAN, you may be wondering if your data is recoverable after running DBAN. If you launched DBAN by accident, is there any way to recover your data? The answer depends on whether the first pass has been passed. If DBAN has completed the first pass, you cannot recover the data. The only way is to interrupt the erasure before the first pass. In this case, you may have the chance to save data files from being erased by the software. Still, accidentally running the DBAN can result in severe results such as the destruction of the partition tables and the volumes. You can use the Recoverit data recovery software to check the recoverable data files.

You can follow these three simple steps to recover unaffected data after running DBAN.

Step 1: Connect the device

Connect the external storage device to your computer system. This device can be an external hard drive, USB, or SD card. Then open and launch Recoverit. Choose the location, which is the storage device, and select the 'scan' option. The software will start the scanning process of the device.

Recoverit interface

Step 2: Scan the device

Once the scanning process completes, the software will list all the deleted files in their respective folders. The required data can be quickly and easily searched.

Scanning lost files

Step 3: Preview and Get back your data

Preview the files by double-clicking on them. Select the files that you need to retrieve and click on the button 'recover.' You should also select the location, which can be another external device or on your PC. Click on 'ok,' and here it completes the process.

Preview recovered file


Most computer users think that once they have deleted files from their system, it is gone and cannot be recovered. However, the truth is that the file is still there on the hard drive. A deletion process will only hide the indexes and links to a deleted file.

If you can use a data recovery tool like Recoverit, it is possible to recover deleted files. There is no built-in feature within Windows that allows you to scan or recover deleted files from a hard drive. You will need third-party software for the purpose. And this is where Recoverit comes into the picture.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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