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How to Wipe Any Confidential Files Using DOD Wipe

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By: manishbhickta26

June 16, 2018

The DOD 5220.22-M of the US Department of Defense (DOD) is a data erasure standard that states that data on a hard drive or any storage drive should be overwritten multiple times for proper sanitization of the data. Overwriting data many times makes it unrecoverable and keeps the drive usable. According to the US Department of Defense, a hard drive should be overwritten at least three times.

Then there are other versions of DOD 5220.22-M that are often used for wiping confidential files from a hard drive or other storage devices that stipulate the use of up to seven passes.

DOD Standards

  1. DOD 5220.22-M (E) (3 passes)
  2. DOD 5220.22-M (ECE) (7 passes)
  3. DOD 5220.22-M –STD (7 passes)
  4.       And more

DOD with 3 Passes

  • Pass 1. Overwrites a value (e.g., One)
  • Pass 2. Overwrites the compliment of Pass 1 (i.e., Zero)
  • Pass 3.  Overwrites a pseudo-random value and verifies the overwrite

DOD with 7 passes

  • Passes 1-3: Overwrite data with DOD 5220.22-M (E) Standard
  • Pass 4: Overwrites the data with pseudo-random values, DOD 5220.22-M (ECE) standard
  • Passes 5-7: Overwrite the data with DOD 5220.22-M (E) standard

Wiping Confidential Data with DOD Wipe

There are several tools available that can be used to wipe a hard drive containing confidential data. However, you can’t be certain with these tools, as there’s no guarantee that data is going to be destroyed permanently. Therefore, using a data erasure algorithm, such as DOD 5220.22-M (3 passes/7 passes), is of the utmost importance to ensure data is gone for good beyond the scope of recovery.

We will be using BitRaser for File that supports 17 internationally recognized data erasure algorithms, such as DOD 5220.22-M (3 passes/7 passes), NATO, etc. that effectively erase the data from the hard drive volumes and other storage devices.

Also, BitRaser for File lets you safeguard your privacy by destroying your sensitive data, such as Internet information that includes browsing history, autofill passwords, transaction details, card details, and much more. Similarly, it also has a dedicated option to destroy system traces and application traces that might contain sensitive data about how you use your system or app and the data that you store.

Additionally, you also have an option to search for and erase a particular file or wipe volumes of your hard drive. After erasure is completed, the BitRaser for File generates a Certificate of Erasure that guarantees that the data can’t be recovered through any recovery software/service. It also helps meet statutory and regulatory compliance and audits.

Follow these steps to wipe any confidential files using the DOD standard:

  1. Download and install BitRaser for File.
  2. Make sure the drive containing confidential data is connected to the system. If it’s stored on the internal drive, you don’t need to do anything.
  3. Launch the BitRaser for File software.
  4. Go to Tools and choose U.S. Department of Defense, DOD 5220.22-M (3 passes), or choose DOD 5220.22-M (ECE) (7 passes) or DOD 5220.28-STD (7 passes). The choice is yours.
  5. Also, select Verification method and then click ‘Apply.’
  6. Click on the Home tab. Click the checkbox of the volume where confidential data is stored, or you can choose to erase ‘Internet Activities,’ ‘Application Traces,’ or 'System Traces,’ and Erase unused space on the drive, as it may contain previously deleted data.
  7. After selecting the option, further options are displayed in the right panel. Choose which files to erase or from which app you want to erase your data and traces.
  8. Once selection of the files or drive volume has been made, click the ‘Erase Now’ button. Wait until the erasure process is completed.
  9. After erasure is done, you will be prompted to reboot the system. Click ‘Yes.’

At this stage, you have successfully wiped all your data from the selected location. Use the Search file option to locate confidential data and click Erase to destroy. Additionally, you can create erasure lists where you can add files and folders that you want to have deleted frequently.


Deleted files can be recovered easily with the help of a data recovery tool. Therefore, you should always erase your private files before reusing, donating, or discarding a hard drive. The DOD wipe standard is highly recommended for destroying confidential data, as it ensures your private and sensitive data is permanently destroyed beyond recovery. BitRaser for File is one such tool that helps you sanitize your confidential data from your Windows system and hard drive volumes with the help of 17 international data erasure standards, such as DOD 5220.22-M, NATO, etc.

It also helps you safeguard your privacy by destroying records of your Internet activities and system/application traces that may contain sensitive data.
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