How to Data Wipe a PC (Using Parted Magic)

This article will explain how to data wipe a pc using Parted Magic.

For related policy information, please visit the OBFS page on how to Dispose of Unneeded Equipment.

Note:  We encourage you to use the Dell BIOS option - Data Wipe to wipe computers purchased after November 2015. However, you can use the following instructions on all Dell computers no matter the age.

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Booting from the Parted Magic Bootable USB

You must first create a Bootable USB using this article - https://answers.uillinois.edu/extension/internal/116458

Insert the Bootable USB created from this KB article into the computer which you wish to Data wipe and ensure that it is powered down. Then power it up and press [F12] when you see the Dell Logo to get to the Boot Menu.

If you wish to watch a video of the following instructions click here.

Dell Boot Screen

If using a computer manufactured after 2012, the Boot Mode should be set to UEFI and Secure Boot should be On (if not these settings can be amended in the UEFI BIOS setup). If using a computer older than 2011 you will just have a Legacy BIOS and the screen will not mention UEFI.

Select the [↓] until you highlight your Bootable USB and press [Enter].

Boot Drive Selection

Select Default Settings 64 (Runs from RAM):

Parted Magic Menu

You will see some information display as Parted Magic Loads:

Parted Magic Loading 1

Parted Magic Loading 2

Next, if you are prompted to select your Time Zone you can either select it and select OK or close this dialogue:

Time Zone

In this guide, we are interested only in Erase Disk.

Erase Shortcut

Double-click it to launch it:

Erase Disk Menu

Secure Erase / Sanitize / NVMe Secure Erase

Parted Magic has different Data Wipe Routines.

Hard Drives

These are:

Important: If unsure of your drive type and the features it supports. See if your drive populates under "M.2 Secure Erase" first and if not check "Sanitize" and if not check "Secure Erase"

Option 1: NVMe Secure Erase - NVM Express M.2

If you have a NVMe SSD it should display in the NVMe Secure Erase - NVM Express M.2 menu. If it does not appear here, try Option 2: Sanitize - ATA Devices (SATA/mSATA SSD).

NVMe Secure Erase

Check your NVMe SSD and Verify then select Continue:

NVMe Select Drive

You will be presented with a confirmation dialogue.

NVMe Confirmation

Check, I allow this utility to erase the listed device(s) and then select Start Erase:

NVMe Allow

Parted Magic will then Secure Erase (zero the data and zero the mapping table) the NVMe SSD:

NVMe Erasing

It will then verify that the operation has been successful:

NVMe Verifying

You can then view the log:

NVMe View Log

Close the log when finished:

NVMe Log

Turning off Computer after using Parted Magic

Option 2: Sanitize - ATA Devices (SATA/mSATA SSD)

If using the SATA/mSATA SSD drives, your hard drive will display under the Sanitize - ATA Devices menu. If it does not you will need to use Option 3: SSD Secure Erase - ATA Devices instead.

Sanitize Menu

Check your SATA/mSATA SSD and verify then select Continue:

Sanitize Confirm

You will be presented with a confirmation dialogue.

Sanitize Allow

Check, I allow this utility to erase the listed device(s) and then select Start Erase:

Sanitize Allow Confirm

Parted Magic will then Sanitize (zero the data and zero the mapping table) the SATA/mSATA SSD:

Sanitize Erasing

It will then verify that the operation has been successful:

Sanitize Verifying

You can then view the log:

Sanitize View Log

Close the log when finished:

Sanitize Log

Turning off Computer after using Parted Magic

Option 3: SSD Secure Erase - ATA Devices (HDD/HSSD/Older than 2012)

If using the SATA/mSATAD SSD or older Hard Drive, your hard drive will appear in the Secure Erase - ATA Devices menu. If it does not please contact Extensionit-help@illinois.edu for assistance.

If your SATA/mSATA SSD displays as Frozen you will be unable to check it.

Secure Erase - Frozen

In such a case select Sleep.

Secure Erase - Sleep

This will take it out of a Frozen state:

Secure Erase - Not Frozen

Check your SATA/mSATA SSD or HDD and Verify then select Continue:

Secure Erase - Verify Drive

You will be presented with a confirmation dialogue.

Secure Erase - Confirmation

Check, I allow this utility to erase the listed device(s) and then select Start Erase:

Secure Erase - Allow

Parted Magic will then Secure Erase (zero the mapping table) the SSD or write zeros to a HDD or HSSD.

It will take a few minutes for a SSD but it will take hours on a HDD or HSSD due to the speed of the drive and the wiping routine.

Secure Erase - Started

Secure Erase - Verifying

It will then verify that the operation has been successful:

Secure Erase - Successful

You can then view the log:

Secure Erase - Log

Close the log when finished.

Turning off Computer after using Parted Magic

Once you have finished data wiping your pc, please turn off the computer.  Click the Power button icon on the desktop and choose Turn off Computer from the menu:

Parted Magic - Quit Parted Magic - Click Quit Parted Magic - Turn off Computer

As always if you run into any issues please contact the Extension IT Helpdesk at extensionit-help@illinois.edu.  

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