Command Line Mode

To run KillDisk in command line mode just open a command prompt and go to installation directory.

At the command prompt start KillDisk (Windows version) by typing:


In Linux environment, type:

./KillDisk -?

A list of parameters appears. Their description is in the table below:

Table 1. Command Line Parameters
Parameter Short Default Options
no parameter With no parameter an interactive screen will appear
-erasemethod=[0-23] -em= 2 0 - One pass zeroes (quick, low security)
1 - One pass random (quick, low security)
2 - US DoD 5220.22-M (slow, high security)
3 - US DoD 5220.22-M (ECE) (slow, high security)
4 - Canadian OPS-II (slow, high security)
5 - British HMG IS5 Baseline (1 pass, quick)
6 - British HMG IS5 Enhanced (slow, high security)
7 - Russian GOST p50739-95(slow, high security)
8 - US Army AR380-19 (slow, high security)
9 - US Air Force 5020 (slow, high security)
10 - NAVSO P-5329-26 RL (slow, high security)
11 - NAVSO P-5329-26 MFM (slow, high security)
12 - NCSC-TG-025 (slow, high security)
13 - NSA 130-2 (slow, high security)
14 - German VSITR (slow, high security)
15 - Bruce Schneier (slow, high security)
16 - Peter Gutmann (very slow, highest security)
17 - User Defined Method. Number of passes and overwrite pattern supplied separately
18 - NIST 800-88 (1 pass zeroes, quick)
19 - NIST 800-88 (1 pass random, quick)
20 - NIST 800-88 (3 pass zeroes, slow, high security)
21 - Canadian CSEC ITSG-06 (3 passes, verify, slow, high security)
22 - US DoE M205.1-2 (3 passes, verify)
23 - Australian ISM-6.2.93 (1 pass random, verify, quick)
-passes=[1-99] -p= 3 Number of times the write heads will pass over a disk area to overwrite data with User Defined Pattern. Valid for User Defined Method only
-verification=[1-100] -v= 10 Set the amount of area the utility reads to verify that the actions performed by the write head comply with the chosen erase method (reading 10% of the area by default). Verification is a long process. Set the verification to the level that works best for you
-retryattempts=[1-99] -ra= 2 Set the number of times that the utility will try to rewrite in the sector when the drive write head encounters an error
-erasehdd=[0,1..63] -eh= Number in BIOS of the disk to be erased. First physical disk has a zero number. In Linux first disk usually named /dev/sda. In Windows Disk Manager first disk is usually named Disk 0. On older systems (DOS, Windows 9x) first disk is usually named 80h (obsolete syntax is still supported in the parameter)
-eraseallhdds -ea Erase all detected disks
-excluderemovable -xr Exclude all removable disks from erasing when erase all disks selected
-excludefixed -xf Exclude all fixed disks from erasing when erase all disks option selected
-excludedisk=[0,1..63] -xd= Exclude disk from erasing when erase all disks option selected
-ignoreerrors -ie Do not stop erasing each time a disk error is encountered. When you use this parameter, all errors are ignored and just placed to the application log
-initdisk -id Initialize disk(s) after erase
-fingerprint -fp Initialize disk(s) and write fingerprint to the disk’s first sector
-computerid=[1,2] -ci= 1 - Display BIOS ID on the certificate
2 - Display Motherboard ID on the certificate
-clearlog -cl Use this parameter to clear the log file before recording new activity. When a drive is erased, a log file is kept. By default, new data is appended to this log for each erasing process. By default the log file is stored in the same folder where the software is located
-exportlog -el Export a log file as XML report
-logpath=[“fullpath”] -lp= Path to save application log file. Can be either directory name or full file name. Use quotes if path contains spaces
-certpath=[“fullpath”] -cp= Path to save erase/wipe certificate. Use quotes if path contains spaces
-inipath=[“fullpath”] -ip= Path to the configuration file (KILLDISK.INI) for loading the advanced settings.
-noconfirmation -nc Skip confirmation steps before erasing starts. By default confirmation steps will appear in command line mode for each hard drive
-beep -bp Beep after erasing is complete
-wipeallhdds -wa Wipe out unallocated space on all recognized volumes located on all detected disks
-wipehdd=[0,1…63] -wh= Wipe out unallocated space on the disk specified by BIOS number
-test=["fullpath"] If you are having difficulty with KillDisk use this parameter to create a hardware information file to be sent to our technical support specialists. You must specify the name of the file where to store technical information
-batchmode -bm Execute in batch mode based on command line parameters and INI file settings (without user interaction, all operations being stored to log file)
-userpattern=[“path”] -u= File to get user-defined pattern from. Applied to User Defined erase method. Each line in the file corresponds to the particular pass pattern
-shutdown -sd Save log file and shutdown PC after completion
-nostop -ns Prevent erase/wipe stop action
-help or -? Display this list of parameters
Note: Parameters -test and -help must be used alone. They cannot be used with other parameters.
Note: Commands –erasehdd, -eraseallhdds, -wipehdd and -wipeallhdds cannot be combined.

Type the command and parameters into the command prompt console. Here is an example for Windows :

killdisk.exe -eh=80h -bm

The same in Linux:

./KillDisk -eh=0 -bm

In this example data on device 80h will be erased using the default method (US DoD 5220.22-M) without user confirmation and application quits (control returns to the command prompt) when complete.

Here is another Windows example:

killdisk.exe -eh=80h -nc -em=2

The same in Linux:

./KillDisk -eh=0 -nc -em=2

In this example all data on the first detected disk (which has 'zero' number or 80h) will be erased using US DoD 5220.22-M method without confirmation. After erase completes, processing summary report will be displayed.

Note: In Linux environment to detect and work with physical disks properly KillDisk must be launched under Super User account. So, if you are not a Super User, you should type a prefix sudo, or su (for different Linux versions) before each command.

After you have typed KillDisk and added command line parameters press Enter to complete the command and start the process.

Information on how drives have been erased is displayed on the screen when the operation has completed successfully. KillDisk execution behavior depends on either command line parameters (highest priority), settings configured in interactive mode and stored in the settings file (lower priority), or default values (lowest priority).