Retiring Computers and Laptops
Departments disposing of or otherwise permanently relinquishing control of devices capable of storing information, such as computers, laptops, external hard drives, USB flash drives, cell phones, etc. are responsible for properly handling the information on them prior to relinquishing control. Generally this means you should remove all recoverable sensitive information from the devices before you send them away.
This page provides some information regarding cleaning desktop computers, laptops and other devices that can boot from a CD. For information regarding the disposal of other device types, please contact Records Management by email or 208-885-2580.
Computers & Laptops
The University of Idaho department of Records Management will provide a bootable CD upon request to UI departments for their use in eliminating all university data from their computer hard drives prior to the disposal of old computers. That CD contains Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN), a widely recognized software package that overwrites all data on the computer’s hard drives enough times that it is essentially impossible to recover any data from the disk.
Please Note: This technique may not work properly with solid state drives (SSDs). Physical destruction of the drives is recommended to ensure data security for SSDs. If you require assistance in this regard, please contact your TSP.
Please follow the instructions below when using the DBAN CD.
Insert the University of Idaho DBAN CD into the computer’s CD drive.
Restart the computer.
If the computer boots up normally, and you are uncertain how to make it boot from the CD, contact your TSP.
When the computer has booted from the CD you should see this screen.
At the ‘Boot:’ prompt, type the word ‘autonuke’ and hit enter.
The rest of the process is automatic. DBAN will probably take several hours to complete, depending on the speed of the computer in question and the number and size of the hard drives it contains.
Once DBAN is completed the hard drives have been wiped and it is safe to send the computer outside of departmental or university control.