Degaussing – What you need to know

Degaussing hard drives has become a necessity for companies and organizations that need to ensure sensitive data is disposed of securely. This quick guide provides an introduction to degaussing in general and in particular degaussing hard drives.


What does degaussing mean?

Let’s start with some definitions.

“Degaussing is the process of decreasing or eliminating a remnant magnetic field.”


“To Degauss. To erase information from a magnetic disk, tape, or other magnetic storage device.”

Degaussing is named after the ‘gauss’, a unit of magnetism which in turn was named after Carl Friedrich Gauss, an 18th century German mathematician who was an early researcher in the field of magnetism.

How does degaussing work?

Degaussing is the process of reducing or eliminating data stored on magnetic media such as tape, disks, reels, cassettes and hard drives. Magnetic media has a fine coating of iron oxide or chromium dioxide which sits on the tape or in the case of a hard drive, on its circular platter, and are orientated into a series of lines, which make up the recording or data.

A degausser works by generating an intense magnetic field, so powerful that it permanently removes the magnetic memory from the iron oxide or chromium dioxide coatings which removes, or randomizes, the recorded data pattern. By changing the magnetic field on the tape or hard drive with a degausser, the data stored on it can effectively be destroyed.

The field strength of a VS Security Products degausser destroys the magnetic structure and ensures that the data cannot be recovered. As degaussing hard drives does not rely on software, it will also completely and permanently erase failed or faulty hard drives.

Is degaussing safe?

The World Health Organization state that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences associated with exposure to magnetic field. However, all VS Security Products degaussers are designed to fall within the recommended guidelines issued by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) within the normal workplace environment. In addition, our most popular degaussers such as the DataGauss & DataGone models and SSD Master have all been designed to limit operator involvement in the degaussing process.

Full Health and Safety information around the use of degaussers can be found here.

What are the benefits of degaussing?

  • Degaussing hard drive is a complete, quick, easy and quiet process!

  • With a degausser, you keep complete control of your sensitive data at all times – no need to pass your data to third parties to be disposed of

  • Degaussing hard drives is 100% effective, even on damaged hard drives

  • Hard drive components can be fully recycled once degaussed

  • Cost effective - degaussing offers one of the most cost effective erasure solutions. Purchasing a degaussing machine is usually a one-time investment

As the leading degausser manufacturer, with over 30 years of experience, we offer the most extensive and competitive range of degaussers available, With degaussers for every type of media and every budget, call VS Security Products today at (530) 626-6924 (outside of the US and Canada, please call +44 (0) 1252 333577) or email [email protected]


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