How to Dispose of Hard Drives

When it’s time to decommission old computers, the main concern is how to dispose of hard drives safely. There are many right and wrong ways to do it.

The wrong way leaves traces of data on the hard drive, making it possible to retrieve all the data either in its original format or in a format that can be used restore the original.

The only right way to dispose of a hard drive is to destroy the data stored on it beyond recoverability.

In this article, we’ll look at some common ways to dispose of hard drives and recommended the most secure methods.

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How to Dispose of Hard Drives with DIY Methods

If you’re a handy person and want to know how to dispose of hard drives or if you’re wondering, “how do you remove a hard drive?”, there are several methods you may come across. While these DIY methods are cheap and easy, you don’t want to rely on them if you’re storing highly sensitive information on your hard drive.

Wipe It and Recycle

If you’d rather recycle the hard drive rather than physically destroying it, it is absolutely necessary to wipe it before dropping it at a recycling center. Wiping a hard drive destroys the data stored on it.

To find out how to dispose of hard drives, you need a proven data destruction program. DBAN is a popular choice but there are countless others including Active@KillDisk, CBL Data Shredder, and PCDISKEraser, among others.

Once you’ve wiped the hard drive, remove it from the computer and take it to a recycling collection point.

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Break the Hard Drive Physically

Physically breaking the hard drive can do thorough damage to the data stored on it. Keep in mind that physically destroying a hard drive simply makes the data unusable but doesn’t remove it completely.

Methods to physically destroy a drive include:

  • Hitting it with a sledgehammer
  • Crushing it with massive weight
  • Drilling holes through it
  • Burning it

Not only are these DIY methods less than foolproof, they are also potentially dangerous. In addition, DIY methods to destroy a hard drive are unsuitable to destroy bulk lots of business hard drives.

Professional Hard Drive Disposal

Professional hard drive disposal is the only failsafe way to destroy a hard drive and the sensitive data contained therein, guaranteeing you a better night’s sleep. The tools, methods, and techniques involved in professional hard drive disposal ensure that all the data on the drive is 100 percent destroyed.

Professional hard drive disposal employs a series of proven methods and techniques to destroy data. In some cases, one method is sufficient to guarantee total data obliteration. However, in other cases, a combination of two or more methods is used to ensure total data destruction.

Below are the most widely used professional data destruction methods for hard drive disposal.

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Degaussing

Hard drive degaussing is a highly advanced technology used to sanitize hard drives before disposal or reuse. Degaussers come in various types and sizes, with varying effectiveness as well. A professional data destruction service selects the most appropriate degausser for the job based on prevailing circumstances.

Degaussing is fast and effective, and it ensures that you’re compliant with data regulations.

Shredding

Hard drive shredding is a technique where a specially built device physically breaks a hard drive into smaller parts. The shred residue comprises chunks of metal that are not by any means comparable to finely shredded paper so if you’re trying to meet stricter data destruction requirements, a disintegrator might be better suited to your need.

Hard Drive Disintegration

Like shredding, disintegration breaks a hard drive into smaller, irregularly shaped chunks of metal. However, unlike shredding, disintegration residue is smaller in size, thus guaranteeing a higher level of security. If you want NSA-level data disposal security, disintegration is one of the best methods to guarantee it.

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Melting

Melting may sometimes be employed as the final phase of the “how to dispose of hard drives” process. There’s no special equipment built for melting hard drives. Instead, the hard drives are taken to a metal recycling center and dumped into a vat of molten steel. Obviously, this guarantees 100 percent data destruction as there’s no chance of recovery.

The best way to dispose of hard drives is by contracting a data destruction service to handle the process for you. In addition to utilizing the best and latest technology in hard drive disposal, they provide you with a certificate of data destruction once the job is complete, which is an assurance that your data can never be compromised in any way. To find out more, contact Data Destruction Corporation today.

References

Forcing data to die: Decommissioning hard disks the easy way

Deleting files isn’t always enough

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