BLOG: How To Destroy A Hard Drive: A Guide

By: Kirk Aiden

So you bought a new computer and plan to junk your old one because it’s of no use to you anymore. All you have to do is delete your files and folders, and put it to the curb, right? WRONG! Any typical home computer hard drive can have your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, website passwords and logins, and more, even if you reformat the hard drive. Do you really want that falling into the wrong hands?

To be sure that you have totally and securely erased all of the info on your hard drive, you have to completely dispose of the magnetic platter that’s inside. To do that, you will need a flathead screwdriver, a T7 screwdriver, a hammer, safety glasses, and a box. Of course, you should have backed up everything from this drive, or transferred it to your new computer. After that, reformat the computer to wipe the drive.

Guide

1 | Open the computer case and locate the hard disk drive. Each company places the drive in a different place within the case. If you have a hard time finding it you may need to look up that particular model for a diagram.

2 | Take the T7 screwdriver to the hard drive and take out as many screws as you can reach. You should be able to get the main circuit board out, but you probably will not be able to get the enclosure open using just the screwdriver. You may need to look under stickers to access some of the screws. You might have to cut some tape, too.

3 | Remove the arm and magnet structure to get at the platter. The platter is the part of the hard drive that you want to destroy. Be careful with these magnets; they are super strong and you can hurt yourself with them. Caution: keep them away from kids and pets. Magnets are super dangerous when eaten. To learn more about the dangers of magnets, read the article from The Huffington Post to learn more.

4 | You may need to use the hammer to get at the platter.

5 | Be careful while you do this, since little pieces could go flying all over. You probably don’t want to do this when there are little kids around. There may even be glass inside, depending on how old the drive is, so do it somewhere that will be easy to clean up afterwards.

6 | It’s better to use a multitude of lighter hits than one or two heavier hits. You just want to be able to peel back the top, not smash the thing into oblivion. Save your energy!

7 | You will likely need to unscrew the middle piece at the centre of the disk. There may be more than one platter.

8 | When you get the platter out (aka the hard disc), you want to scratch, dent, and ding it. Use both sides of the hammer to cause as much damage to the drive as possible. Do this on a surface that can take a beating without getting destroyed.

9 | Some platters are made from metal, some are glass and ceramic. Glass and ceramic platters will shatter and cause a great mess. Metal ones will deform but will not be completely destroyed, which means you might want to go one step further and burn it, crush it, melt it, or cut it into pieces using a saw.

10 | Clean up the mess, making sure to get all the little bits and any magnets that you removed.

11 | When you have sufficiently destroyed the platter to your satisfaction, put everything into the box and take it to your closest electronics recycling centre.

12 | If your hard drive contains sensitive information, it may be worthwhile to consult with a professional company like Shred-it UK for assistance. The Shred-it team has experience managing hard drive destruction along with their signature paper shredding services.

 

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