How to Ensure Safe & Sure Destruction of Hard Drive Data

Hard Drive Data

A hard drive is a disk that stores all your digital data for the long term. This data could be in the form of documents, applications, programs, videos, pictures, music, and much more.

An HDD is the most important component of your computer because without it you won’t be able to save or access any files or boot up your operating system.

Hard drives can be internal or external but their purpose and function are the same. Different hard drives have different storage capacities (measured in terabytes or gigabytes).    

If you intend to recycle, donate or sell your computer, you must wipe off, remove or destroy your hard drive completely. This would ensure that your data on the drive is erased and untraceable by malicious parties.

But be sure to back up important information such as your Cox Cable bundle login details before you do so. Once that’s done, you can proceed to destroy your HDD.

And no, contrary to popular belief, smashing or getting your HDD wet is no confirmation of your HDD content being inaccessible/unreadable. Employ the following smart ways to make sure your hard drive is destroyed for good.    

1. Use Data Wiping Programs 

There are a number of data wiping tools and programs that you can use to delete the content from your hard drive. Data Wipe is one example.

It is free and very simple to use. All you need to do is download the file from a website and run it.

You could also use a USB drive and run the program from it by making a bootable environment.

When considering the erasing pattern type and number of passes, remember that more passes mean more time required for the wiping to finish the course.

However, it also means that the erasure would be complete and thorough. Parted Magic is another good option to destroy HDD.

The program costs around $11 but provides extremely reliable services which include disk cloning, disk partitioning, file recovery as well as drive wiping.    

2. Drill Holes 

An effective way to render the disk platters useless is to drill holes in them. You could use a traditional hammer for the purpose, large nails, or even a drill.

The latter is however more fun and does the job far more easily and quickly. But remember to wear safety glasses.

Since HDD platters are made from either glass and ceramic or aluminum alloy, if you don’t use protection, you could hurt yourself badly.

And in case you don’t wish to drill holes, you could also use sand and/or grind the surface of the platters and make them unreadable.  

3. Brute Force 

If you have pent-up anger and frustration over someone or something, it’s time to put it to good use. Take it out on your hard drive to ensure no data in it remains traceable.

But don’t get carried away and hurt yourself in the process; remember to wear protective gear such as goggles and gloves. It is important to make the damage massive.

When it comes to aluminum platters, experts are able to find a way to read the information on them even if they have a major crack or scratch (thanks to forensic labs). So you need to leave no stone unturned to crash those platters completely.  

4. Fire/Heat 

Fire and heat are also effective in destroying your hard disk permanently. However, there are risks and challenges associated with this technique.

Owing to the magnetic properties of the HDD, it can only be burnt with intense heat. This would result in fumes which are rather harmful to your health.

If you do choose to adopt this method of hard drive destruction, it’s best to do it in the outdoors. If you have a kiln, throw the HDD in it.

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This is effective before kilns produce around 1500°C of heat which is enough to dissolve the contents of the drive forever.