Home Technology Getting Rid of the Evidence: 3 Ways to Destroy Your Hard Drive

Getting Rid of the Evidence: 3 Ways to Destroy Your Hard Drive


Technology is a great thing but it does have a number of downsides, besides speeding up our lives so fast that we can barely keep up. They include the fact that our comments and postings in online forums and social media can never really be erased. They can, and have, come back to haunt people later in life when they start applying for jobs and the company does an Internet search. But what we write or type on our keyboards that gets stored inside our computer, on our hard drives, is also pretty indestructible as well.

That’s why before you dispose of or recycle your computer you should ensure that your hard drive is not just cleaned, but destroyed to the point where the information is unreadable or cannot be extracted. That’s because that sensitive data can remain on digital storage devices such as hard drives and as data breaches and hacker intrusions become more common, the only real comprehensive solution is the physical destruction of your digital hard drive.

There are a number of ways in which you can destroy your hard drive. Here a few of them.

1. Do it yourself

There are many different ways that people try and destroy their hard drives by themselves. This includes putting it in a microwave, trying to burn it, or putting acid on it. None of those methods work in completely erasing the records and sensitive material that may still be stored there. The only safe and sane way to do it yourself is to remove the hard drive from the computer. If you do not know how to do this, there are plenty of tutorials on the Internet. To get the hard drive out you will have to remove the magnets that hold them in place and take out the hard drive which looks like a platter. Then take a hammer and put some googles on and give the hard drive as many bangs as it needs in order to be completely smashed to pieces.

2. Shearing services

Many shredding companies, in addition to their services of shredding waste paper, will also look after the comprehensive disposal of your hard drive. One of the benefits of using a professional shredding company is that they will provide you with a certificate of destruction that you can use for your own purposes later. They will shear your hard drive and guarantee that all information on it has been destroyed or erased. The shredding company also offers pick up and delivery services, a secure chain of custody process, and a promise to recycle all appropriate materials. The shearing process slices your entire hard drive into small pieces with 40,000 lbs. of destructive force. This process completely destroys the drive platters, mechanisms, and the electronic components rendering the data unrecoverable.

3. Crushing services

Another option that some shredding companies have for destroying your hard drive is called a hard drive crushing service. Like the shearing service above, this process doesn’t just erase the information from your hard drive, it obliterates it. Also, like the shearing service, the shredding company will provide a certificate of media destruction after each service and a guarantee of controlled access to your hard drive while it is in their possession. The crushing process which they carry out involves punching an irreparable hole through each hard drive with 7,500 lbs. of force pressure. Once again, this completely destroys the drive platters, rippling and fracturing the magnetic surfaces and rendering the drive data unrecoverable. Your hard drive will no longer be readable because except for some very small fragments, it will no longer exist.