How to Destroy a Hard Drive – Efficient and Thorough Practices

You could own a business that routinely collects Personal Identifiable Information (PII) to provide products or services to customers. You may also need these details for conducting operations with vendors and business partners. According to the Federal Trade Commission regulations, you must take utmost precaution to ensure that this information does not find its way into the hands of hackers and cyber criminals. For this reason, when you’re ready to dispose of the redundant electronics being used in your organization, you must know how to destroy a hard drive efficiently.

Or, you may be a private user owning digital devices that you want to discard or upgrade. Before you sell them or send them to recycling facilities, you need to make sure that any personal information you stored in them is carefully erased. Should they fall into the hands of miscreants, you could become the victim of identity theft, fraud, or any other crimes. As a result, you could incur losses, mental, psychological, and financial. To avoid such possible situations, it is essential that you find out how to destroy a hard drive thoroughly.

Understand What Hard Drives are Made of

To learn how to destroy a hard drive, you might want to begin by understanding the different types of hard drives and what they’re made of. Typically, hard drives resemble yesteryear records and are like small platters. However, in place of vinyl, they are made of ceramic, glass, or aluminum. All data is stored on these magnetic platters in the form of 1s and 0s. As the platter rotates in the hard drive, the head reads and writes data by using an electric current. The entire hard drive includes other components for the device to function. But, the vital part is the platter. If you can destroy the platter, you can make it impossible for hackers to retrieve sensitive information.

You Can Try Various Methods to Destroy the Hard Drive

When working out how to destroy a hard drive, you might learn about different methods. But as you’ll find, most of these methods are largely ineffective. Here’s why:

  • You could try dipping the hard drive in water but aside from the electronic circuits shorting out, you won’t incur much damage.
  • Laptops typically have glass platters. To destroy these platters, you could remove the platter from the casing and smash the glass. However, you risk hurting yourself with the shards.
  • In the case of aluminum hard drives, it is a common misconception that running a major scratch or crack on the platter can make spinning it impossible. Keep in mind that determined hackers can extract information without having to spin the platter.
  • Drilling holes in the platter and distorting its shape might also work. That’s because the heat generated by the drilling can cause changes in how the information is stored. But, you’ll still leave behind enough information that cyber criminals could use.
  • Using acid on the hard disk platters is another method that you could try. But, again, you risk hurting yourself as you work. In addition, you’ll need to be careful about the potentially dangerous toxic fumes released by the reaction of the acid on the platter material.
  • One of the methods of how to destroy a hard drive is burning it in a fire. However, you could end up causing environmental damage with the escaping fumes.
  • Working a strong magnet on the surface of the hard drive is another option. But, for that to work, you’ll have to remove the platters from the steel casing and then try to erase the data. Keep in mind that there’s no assurance that this method will work for hard drive wiping efficiently.

Relying on the Services of a Certified Data Destruction Company is a Wiser Option

Search the internet and you’ll receive lots of information on how to destroy a hard drive on your own. Given the sensitivity of the information you might have saved on the hard drives, it is advisable that you work with a certified equipment destruction company. Here’s why:

  • Expert professionals use specialized equipment as listed on the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) Public Information Evaluated Products List for HDD destruction devices.
  • Customized hard drive shredding equipment crushes the hard drives completely or reduces them to particles of around 2mm.
  • Highly-trained personnel chooses the appropriate shredding devices according to the kind of hard drives you have like for instance, SSDs or HDDs.
  • You’ll receive a certificate that indemnifies your business against any possible liabilities arising from data breaches.
  • The data destruction company will provide you with a list of the serial numbers of the hard drives they’ve handled.
  • After shredding the hard drives, the company dispatches the shards to recycling plants that manage used electronics and metals. Here, efficient mechanisms melt down the shards into their alloy state for reuse.

When looking for options on how to destroy a hard drive, you’ll come across several ideas that seem practical and effective. However, the only secure method that ensures thorough shredding of your hard drives and effective erasing of the information is to work with certified professionals. Trust in the services provided by Data Destruction to keep you and your business safe from the threat of data breaches that can result in major losses.


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