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How to Properly Destroy Your Old Hard Drive

How to Properly Destroy Your Old Hard Drive

When you replace your old computer, which you will certainly have to do sooner, rather than later, did you ever wonder what happens to the information that is stored on your hard drive. Oh sure, you probably took off everything you wanted and then you tried to double erase the memory, but is it really gone? Computer experts are now telling us that there is no way to be one hundred percent sure that your hard drive is clean unless it is completely destroyed. Like our social media posts from high school, the documents on our computers may live long after they are relevant or important to us. But they might be important and even valuable to other people.

This is especially true for information that has been stored on computers that have been used for business or commercial purposes. There are not just personal considerations, but financial and legal implications to consider as well. Could your business afford to have its customer or client files discovered and made public? Would you want to take the legal and possible financial risks that such an occurrence might bring? Nobody wants to see those types of things happen. But the fact is that what we enter and store on our computers that gets saved on our hard drives is permanent, and indestructible as well.

The only way to protect yourself and your personal and business interests are to not just clean your hard drive, but to destroy the hard drive itself. That is one of the very few ways that the information you have stored there can be guaranteed to be unreadable or not able to be extracted.

So how do you destroy your hard drive? Here a few ways to do it.

Crush It

Most professional shredding companies have a service for destroying your hard drive that is called a hard drive crushing service. Crushing your hard drive obliterates it and any information which has been stored on it. The shredding company will even provide you with a certificate of media destruction after your hard drive is crushed. They also give you something that proves that no one else has tampered with your hard drive or gotten access to after you give it to them for crushing. The crushing process itself involves punching an irreparable hole through each hard drive with 7,500 lbs. of force pressure. This completely destroys all elements of the hard drive and makes it permanently obsolete and any data becomes absolutely unrecoverable. If you want they will give you back the minuscule fragments so that you can see for yourself.

Shear It

Shredding companies also offer shredding services to get rid of your hard drive. They pick up your hard drive from your premises and through a secure chain of custody process, shear, destroy and recycle all appropriate materials from your hard drive. The shredding company uses a shearing process to slice your hard drive into small pieces by using 40,000 lbs. of destructive force. This destroys the drive platters, mechanisms, and all of the electronic components of the hard drive. At the end, like the crushing process, they will provide you with a certificate of destruction and guarantee that all information on your hard drive has been completely destroyed or erased.

Smash It

If you really want to you can destroy your hard drives yourself. Just don’t try putting the hard drive in a microwave, trying to burn it, or putting acid on it. They don’t work to completely erase the data on the hard drive. If you want to try it yourself then the safest and most effective way is to take the hard drive out of the computer. This is done by removing the magnets that hold it in place. Then take out the hard drive which looks like a platter and smash it as hard as you can. Not with your hands, but with a hammer and by giving it a few solid whacks. Put on a pair of glasses or goggles and break it into as many small; piece as you can.Then your hard drive and your old data should be securely destroyed.

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