NOTICE: As of March 3, 2005, Autoclave is no longer supported. Please see the End-Of-Life Notice for details and an alternative.

Autoclave v0.3

April 9, 2002

hard drive sterilization on a bootable floppy

Downloading Instructions

Note: The following instructions are for how to get a copy of autoclave for yourself. Autoclave will remove any operating system from the machine on which it's run.

What you need: A formatted 1.44Mb floppy disk. These are the kind with two square holes at the top, one of which has a sliding write-protect tab. If there's only one hole, it's an ~800k disk and isn't large enough to hold Autoclave. A network-connected machine with a hard drive and some version of windows or dos (for these instructions, at least). NB: The machine you use to create the Autoclave floppy does not need to be the machine you're going to be using Autoclave on. Any machine will do. (See the bottom of this page for some quick install instructions which I haven't tested, but may work for you.)

1) Download the autoclave disk image from

DO NOT DOWNLOAD THIS FILE ONTO THE FLOPPY DISK. Download it to your hard drive. It is too large to fit on the floppy; we'll be using a special program to install it onto the floppy in step 3.

The downloaded file clave03.img should be 1,474,560 bytes long. You can see how large the file is using the "dir" command, or by getting the properties of the file from the windows explorer. If it is any other size (1,477,970 is the most common wrong size), do not go to step 2; you have a corrupt disk image. Try downloading a zip file containing the disk image from and extracting the file clave03.img from the zip file.

2) Download rawrite2.exe from or RawWriteWin from

3) Run whichever rawrite you downloaded. You should be able to either double-click on rawrite from the explorer or run it as a command from the dos prompt. I suggest running it from the command line, as you can see any errors it may give you. Running it from the explorer by double-clicking it will cause it to disappear immediately if there are any errors, leaving you in the dark as to what went wrong (a write-protected floppy, for example).

It should ask you for the name of an image file, which would be "clave03.img". It should also ask you for a floppy device, which would probably be "A", depending on how your system is set up.

Rawrite should at this point write the disk image onto your disk. When it has finished, you should have a floppy disk with the following files on it:

boot.msg  initrd.gz  ldlinux.sys  legal.msg  LICENSE.TXT  other.msg  syslinux.cfg  vmlinuz

4) Put this floppy into the computer which has the drive you want to erase, and reboot (turn the power off and on) or power up the machine. Autoclave will start running.

5) If you had any problems with these instructions or with Autoclave in general, please read the frequently asked questions. If they don't answer your question, drop me a line; my email address is below.

Unix/Linux instructions:
If you have a unix desktop instead of a windows desktop, go ahead and download the floppy image from the link above, then use the dd command to write it to a floppy disk, like so:

dd if=clave03.img of=/dev/fd0
/dev/fd0 should be replaced with whatever your floppy drive's device path is (for most linux systems, /dev/fd0 is the correct device to use).

Quick windows/dos installation: (I haven't tested this, and I don't have a Windows/Dos system to test it on. If it works for you, great.)
Download these three files into a directory on your hard drive: build03.bat, clave03.img, rawrite.exe. Go to a command prompt (dos prompt, command shell, whatever it's called) and run build03.bat.

--Josh Larios <jdlarios at cac dot washington dot edu>