The Best Way to Destroy a Hard Drive

Do you ever think about the best way to destroy a hard drive? If you’re like most people, disposing of an old computer isn’t something you give a lot of thought to. Yet an old computer still holds tons of sensitive data on the hard drive unless properly destroyed.

More commonly, people simply throw unwanted computers into the trash. However, this is a risky way of getting rid of old computers, let alone hard drives. And, in some instances, it could even be against the law.

Why You Must Destroy a Hard Drive

As the largest physical storage device inside a computer, a hard drive holds a huge chunk of data including personally identifiable information, credit card details, passwords, email credentials, tax returns, privileged business information, and more. Contrary to what you might think, neither deleting individual files nor formatting the drive completely removes this data.

Data stored on a hard drive stays there permanently unless the drive is physically destroyed. This is why it’s extremely important to find the best way to destroy a hard drive. If not properly disposed of, your old computer can turn into a treasure trove for identity thieves.

In a nutshell, here is why you must properly dispose of a hard drive:

  • To permanently get rid of data stored on the drive and remove any chance that it will be stolen by identity thieves.
  • To prevent potentially toxic and hazardous material from harming your health or the environment.
  • To avoid violating regulations. Depending on where you live, disposing of electronic waste may be regulated, so you must follow certain rules when getting rid of your old computers.

The Best Way to Destroy a Hard Drive

DIY Methods Of Hard Drive Destruction Image - DD

DIY Methods of Hard Drive Destruction

  1. Wipe the drive: Wiping a hard drive doesn’t physically destroy it. Instead, it removes all the data stored on it (or makes it extremely hard to access normally). During this process, special utility software writes unique characters over the data on the drive, essentially making the original data inaccessible.
  2. Smash the drive physically with a hammer: The fastest way to destroy a hard drive at home is by smashing it with a hard object, usually a hammer. The aim is to physically destroy the platters inside the drive. First, you must locate and carefully remove the drive from the computer casing. Wear safety gloves and goggles to prevent flying bits of metal from hurting you. Smash the drive on a hard surface for faster results. Once you’re done, collect the pieces and safely pack them before dumping them off at a recycling point.
  3. Burn the drive: Burning the drive is another easy DIY method to destroy a hard drive at home. However, use this method with a lot of caution. A burning drive may give off potentially toxic fumes that may be fatal when inhaled. Be sure to follow all the necessary safety measures to protect those around you, as well as yourself.
  4. Crush it: You may also destroy a hard drive by crushing it with massive weight. Find a 5-ton press and crush the life out of the drive. Dispose of the remains at a recycling point.
Professional Methods Of Hard Drive Destruction Image - DD

Professional Methods of Hard Drive Destruction

All the above-mentioned methods do a good job of hiding the data on the drive or physically deforming the drive. However, they’re not foolproof. Some are outright risky, both to your health and the environment.

In this case, the best way to destroy a hard drive is by letting a professional handle it for you. Only then can you be certain that the data is permanently destroyed. More importantly, letting a professional destroy the drive ensures safety for everyone as well as the environment.

Here are a couple of proven professional hard drive destruction methods:

1. Hard drive shredding: Professional hard drive shredding entails the use of special tools and equipment to shred a hard drive to a point where it can never be recovered. Once a hard drive is shredded there’s zero chance that any data can be recovered.
2. Degauss and destroy: In this method, a hard drive is first degaussed (a process of removing all stored data on the drive) and then completely destroyed to render it useless.
3. Recycling: Recycling is a lengthy process that may involve one of the two methods mentioned above. First, the old computers are collected at a recycling point. They are then disassembled, degaussed, and then recycled. Unusable parts are permanently destroyed.

Most importantly, professional hard drive destruction ensures accountability. No matter what method is used, when you trust Data Destruction Corporation with your hard drive destruction, you can rest assured your data is never going to resurface anywhere. To find out more, contact us today.

References

An Environmental Scan of Toxic and Hazardous Materials in IT and Telecom Products and Waste

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