As I previewed a number of different threads to resolve why I could not get DBAN to start on my DELL Inspiron Mini 1012, I wanted to share my findings for those looking to solve a relatively consistent problem using DBAN and the "unrecognized device error." I am not a programmer or expert behind DBAN's development but I wanted to pay it forward for someone who is struggling like did. I started by doing the following:

  1. Ensured I was using the lastest edition of DBAN (my favorite is DBAN 2.2.6 - this edition does not have the advertisements at the end of it use as does 2.2.7)

  2. Ensured that the AHCI function was chosen in the BIOS (not all PCs have this issue, but I have experienced DELL and HP BIOS configurations use the UEFI/SATA settings for booting to internal hard drives, causing DBAN not to function/load)

  3. Since a "Mini" laptop does not have a traditional internal CDROM built in, it is necessary to find a USB "bootable" external CDROM (I use the Buffalo DVSM-PC58U2V Portable DVD drive).

  4. After installing the USB external CDROM drive with the DBAN disk into the USB port of the "Mini" everything started up fine, until I came across the "unrecognized device error" Nevertheless I found a shortcut to overcoming this error. In a previous thread is was mentioned that at the "boot:" prompt of when DBAN starts, type the command (without quotation marks) "dban nousb", then press Enter on the keyboard.

  5. I restarted the PC and DBAN boot procedure and typed "dban nousb" at the boot: prompt. This removes the "unrecognized device error" preventing the selection of the F10 key to start the wiping program. I proceeded to select the HDD I wanted to wipe.

  6. However, I ran into another issue with the F10 key not starting the wiping process. Another thread pointed out that pressing/holding the "Fn" key (between the Ctrl and Alt keys to the left of the space bar) and pressing the F10 key should start the process. This key combination worked like a charm!

  7. HINT: For those inexperienced using this software, remember to use the "M" key to choose the number of times you want to wipe the drive. If you press the F10 key before choosing a wiping method, DBAN will "default wipe" your drive three times. I learned this the long, hard way. If you choose the "M" key you will be presented with several options. One of the options will only wipe your drive once which should be plenty when starting a new install of your favorite OS.

I wish to thank those who posted their comments that helped me get this far in getting DBAN to work for all of my PCs. Thanks and good luck :)