I'm trying to DBAN -- or otherwise wipe -- my old 2009 Mac OS X 10.6 Mac mini. The CD drive on the Mac is broken, so I have been trying to do it with a bootable USB. No matter what I try, I cannot get the USB drive to show in Startup Manager.

This is what I've got so far:

  1. DBAN 2.3 iso downloaded
  2. UNetbootin to make the bootable image
  3. The Cruzer pen-drive is formatted HFS+ with GUID Partition map -- DiskUtil reports the non-EFI, DBAN partition as bootable.
  4. I've tried various key combinations to reset NVRAM,
  5. I've follow apple.com advice on how to set legacy insecure behavior on NVRAM

... but still I can only see the Macintosh HD as boot drive. I have tried Command, Shift, Option and Period but nothing happens.

I started with the USB drive formatted FAT32, MBR Partition table and moved on from there.

Edit: I originally thought this was a 2011 Mac Mini, I was looking in the wrong place for the year. It turns out that it being from 2009 was vitally important,

  • If you have another computer then take the drive out and format it on the other machine.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 1, 2018 at 22:31
  • That's what I ended up doing - made easier as the Mac is being scrapped anyway. Jan 2, 2018 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


If you have a hard disk drive (HDD), the use of a third party tool is unnecessary. You can boot to macOS Recovery over the internet and use the Disk Utility application to accomplish this task.

The possible security options available are as follows:

  • US Department of Defense (DOD) 5220-22 M standard for securely erasing magnetic media. It erases the information used to access your files and writes over the data 7 times.
  • DOE-compliant 3-pass secure erase. It writes two passes fo random data followed by a single pass of known data over the entire disk. It erases the information used to access your files and writes over the data 3 times.
  • Write a pass of random data and then a single pass of zeros over the entire disk. It erases the information used to access your files and writes over the data 2 times.

Note: The security options available can very from type of download chosen and the model/year of your Mac.

USB Flash Drive Method.

See the website How to create a bootable installer for macOS for instructions.

You will need to download OS X El Capitan from the Apple website: How to download OS X El Capitan. The upgrade can be used with your Snow Leopard OS X 10.6. Although, you might need to make sure you have first upgraded to OS X 10.6.8. If this case, try downloading the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1.

Boot from the USB Flash drive and use the Disk Utility application.

  • I've tried that (Sorry, should have said) but no matter how I time pressing and/or releasing Command+R the Mac always boots to the login screen. It's wired ethernet port died a long time ago so it only has internet access by AirPort, I don't know if that matters. Jan 2, 2018 at 7:50
  • Have you tried Option+Command+R, then trying to connect wirelessly? Jan 2, 2018 at 7:57
  • Yes, no luck with that either: It just doesn't want to boot to Recovery. Thanks anyway. Jan 2, 2018 at 8:14
  • Try using a flash drive. See updated answer. Jan 2, 2018 at 8:30
  • I think it's going to be "Take off and nuke the site from orbit" -- looking again it's a 2009 Mac Mini which doesn't feature anywhere. Thanks very much for your suggestions. Jan 2, 2018 at 8:39

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