How To Destroy A Hard Drive


A guide to how to destroy a hard drive effectively and securely

With the average lifespan of a desktop or laptop being between 3 -5 years, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll be looking to update your technology. But this raises the question of what to do with your obsolete tech?

In this era of stiff fines and even imprisonment for data breaches, it is imperative that desktop and laptop hard drives are disposed of properly and securely to avoid data falling into the wrong hands. A typical desktop or laptop hard drive can contain logins and passwords, customer information and valuable IP. If you simply delete, overwrite or reformat the hard drive, it is possible that the information could still be recovered. Which? a UK computing magazine recovered 22,000 "deleted" files from eight computers purchased on eBay.

The only way to effectively destroy a hard drive and to ensure that all the data is unrecoverable is to destroy the magnetic platter in the hard drive itself.

Possible Solutions on How to Destroy a Hard Drive
Type “How to Destroy a Hard Drive” into Google and you’ll be faced with the plethora of ways to do so – some more effective than others! These range from the rather primitive smash it with a hammer, burn it or put it in acid to shredding the hard drives into tiny particles with enormous industrial crushing/shredding machines.

Some methods are more effective than others. For example, the hammer treatment may not be the end of your information and there are sophisticated techniques that could be used to recover data, even when the platter has been physically damaged. And there are other factors which will determine whether a particular method is suitable for your needs or not, including the number of hard drives that you need to destroy and how often; whether you are happy to pass your hard drives and your data into the hands of a 3rd party for shredding purposes or whether you even have premises large enough to accommodate a large shredding truck. Plus there’s the cost. Is it even cost effective to hire a shredding truck for one day every month and if so, how are you going to secure your obsolete hard drives and your data in the meantime.

How to destroy a hard drive and keep ultimate control of your data
There is a solution for destroying hard drives effectively, securely and immediately and if retaining absolute control of your data is imperative or you need to produce a record or complete audit trail of your media destruction, you should consider bringing the hard drive destruction process in house.
Erasing the data from the hard drive should be your first step and using a hard drive degausser offers quick and effective erasure of ALL data from hard drives. Degaussers come in all shapes and sizes and the model you choose will be dependant, in the main, on the volume of hard drives you need to dispose of. Manual degaussers such as the V660 HDD Evo  allow you can erase up to 20 hard drives every hour whilst an automatic degausser such as the DataGone can erase up to 200 every hour. You just need to ensure that the degausser you choose is powerful enough to completely erase the drive and so has a minimum gauss force of 7000. If you’re bound by the restraints of government security compliance directives, then you may wish to consider an NSA approved degausser such as the SDD Master.

Once erased you can then physically destroy the hard drive platter using a crusher. Crushers such as the Crunch 250 are powerful and fast media destroyers that crush a wide range of storage devices. Simple and safe to operate, destruction of media is guaranteed. Up to 250 hard drives can be destroyed every hour and will provide tangible evidence that the drive is unusable.

In addition, VS Security Products hard drive degaussers and destroyers are available with the unique Data Destruction Auditor system which provides a full audit ready report of your hard drive erasure and destruction – ultimate peace of mind.

So if next time you ponder or are asked the question “How to Destroy a Hard Drive” be sure to choose a combined VS Security Products degausser and crusher solution that is:

  • Fast – you can erase and crush each hard drive in under 30 seconds
  • Immediate – you can destroy hard drives immediately and so no need to find secure storage
  • Secure – retain ultimate control of your data at all times as the hard drives need never leave your premises prior to destruction
  • Quiet and Clean – this erasing and destroying process is noise and mess free and so can be carried out effortlessly in any office or in a meeting room as at any time of day.
  • Cost effective – investing in an in-house solution means that you can realise your Return On Investment (ROI) quickly when compared with outsourcing your hard drive destruction needs

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