I was wondering if there is some hardware out there that can simultaneously wipe/zero out many hard drives of different varieties. If there isn't, would it be simple enough to build one manually?

We have dozens of hard drives we need to erase. We're currently removing the hard drives from lab machines, replacing them with the ones to be erased, and using a bootable DBAN. It's slow, cumbersome, and requires several lab machines to be disassembled and reassembled (which is also slow and cumbersome).

Of course, it'd have to be able to erase 3.5", SATA, 2.5", etc..., bonus points if I can mix and match types and erase simultaneously. Double bonus points if it has a connection for proprietary Sun drives.

Note: It's policy that we can't use degaussers. We also aren't looking to destroy ALL of them (Maybe 1 out of 30 actually needs to be destroyed physically, we can handle that), so a grinder/crushing machine isn't what we are looking for.


  • I think there's a scale issue here that we don't quite understand. How many of these drives do you need to wipe? Is this an ongoing thing (like do you need to do 40/wk or something?). From your comments, I'm suspecting that you have a much higher load than I would have guessed. Aug 11, 2009 at 21:20
  • 1
    Heh, spot the fed :D
    – Bill Weiss
    Dec 10, 2009 at 0:15

8 Answers 8


If this has to occur overnight, you could always setup a network boot that boots you into DBAN and allows you to work from there. This blog post should get you moving in the right direction. There's also a corresponding post on setting up pxe. YMMV, I haven't tried this particular way of doing it (but this is how I would do it if I needed to again).


This has the added benefit of not requiring you to disassemble systems or get some type of enclosure to swap drives out.

  • This is a good way to do it. When we had to wipe a whole bunch of computer's disks at a previous job (machines going off lease), we PXE booted into DBAN and zeroed them with that. Worked really well. May 11, 2010 at 15:03

I would look in to the OmniWipe by Logicube. Might be what you want...



I use a combination of DBAN and MASSter disk duplicators to do just this. The model I use supports SATA/PATA 3.5, 2.5, and 1.8. I don't know if they have a Sun connector option.


Have you looked at external drive enclosures? I use a couple of IDE to USB enclosures around the house, and I've used them for full drive access many times. You should be able to get them for pretty much any drive technology, and they'd let you do pretty much anything you like to a drive without having to stuff it into a machine. It's obviously slower than if the drive is inside the machine, but there's no need to tear anything apart to use it.

  • Yeah, we each have one on our desk to help push things along.
    – nullArray
    Aug 11, 2009 at 20:53

EBAN might do what you need.


requires several lab machines to be disassembled and reassembled

Looks like your answer is right there. Why not just keep the machines whole, and make many copies of DBAN?

  • Because students use the machines, just not overnight. We have to get them back in order in the morning to make sure they can use them.
    – nullArray
    Aug 11, 2009 at 20:52
  • Maybe I don't quite understand the process you're using now. It appears to be: 1) remove machine X from lab 2) remove hard drive from X 3) put hard drive from X into Y, put new hard drive in X 4) boot Y with a DBAN disk 5) wait for drive to be wiped, then 6) replace wiped drive in X.
    – Ernie
    Aug 11, 2009 at 21:08

Would DBAN work with a $500 SATA RAID card with 8 ports on it?

Or you could get a raid5 hot swap array and write zeros with that? cheaper than a $2000+ option... thats for sure. A Laccie quadra is only $700.


I don't know of a commercial mass disk wiper, but you could frankenstein one in this manner: Get some PCs together that can handle the hard drive interfaces that you need to wipe. Set up a FOG server and then push a wipe image down to the PCs (relying on PXE boot).

Let me explain further. There is an open-source project named FOG which is an image deployment tool, but it can do much more than that. For instance, it can push down boot images that have disk wiping tools on it, Clam-AV and even file recovery tools. If you were to put all of your PC's MAC addresses in your FOG server and have your computers set to PXE boot you could send a "remote wipe" task to each computer in the group. The next time the PCs are rebooted they will PXE boot, download a simple linux image with a disk wiping tool baked into it and then make single or multiple pass wipes. Once the task is done, the PCs will reboot as normal. You can then remove the drives or push down a clean image on top of them.

With that procedure in mind, you have the choice of simply continuing to use the lab PCs as hosts for the drives that need to be wiped (making very careful to never push down the wrong image when the good hard drives are in it! =) ) or you could buy a couple of cavernous PC cases, slam a couple of multi-port hard drive controllers in them and then use those as your wiping stations that you aim the FOG wipe tasks at.

Disclaimer: I haven't used FOG to wipe multiple disks in one PC so I'm not 100% sure that is supported. However, the project is actively developed and I'm sure if you bring it up to Chuck Syperski (project leader) on Twitter he could answer your question or try to add it into the next release.

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