Proper Hard Drive Disposal

If you’re considering recycling or selling your computer, it is essential that you erase all the data on the hard drive before handing it over to its new owner. Proper hard drive disposal ensures that you protect the sensitive information stored in the files. Computer hackers conducting data breaches have affected people in all spheres by stealing and misusing the information they managed to retrieve from recycled hard drives. For instance, the Department of Health and Human Services has 155 reports from small medical care organizations about data breaches affecting 4,518 people.

Hard drives that store information for personal or professional purposes are a part of all the electronics you use. These devices include desktops, smartphones, laptops, and tablets. When choosing the best data destruction methods, keep in mind that you must choose optimum ways to dispose of your e-waste that are compliant with the current laws of the state where you live.

You Can Wipe Hard Drives Before Recycling by Using Software

If you intend to recycle your computer, reformatting it may not erase all the information you have stored. To make sure it is wiped clean, you must erase the operating system. Download the DBAN (Darik Boot And Nuke) tool and burn it to a DVD or save in a USB device. Next, restart the computer with the device plugged in or the disc in the drive. Boot the computer and then follow the instructions as they come up. You’ll also see a list of options for selecting the specific hard drive partitions you need to remove. Select the options you need and then allow the software to work. The hard drive disposal process can take several hours, and you must let it continue without interruptions.

Once the process is complete, you’ll see a “Blancco” ad. Remove the DBAN disc or USB device and reset your computer. It is now ready for a new copy of the operating system.

Hard Drive Disposal
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How to Destroy a Hard Drive

Sometimes, even after using 35-way writes to erase the data on your hard drive, it could still be accessible to an expert who has the proper tools, skills, and time to search for the information. Unless you have very sensitive information on the hard drive, wiping it by using the above-mentioned steps should be enough to protect you. However, if you do have sensitive data in it, a better option would be to use hard drive disposal methods that completely destroy it.

Use a Degausser

By using degaussers, you can disrupt or remove the magnetic fields on the drive. This is a very effective method for data destruction though it makes the device completely unusable. Large companies often use such methods to ensure protection of the data on their hard drives. They may later shred the drives so that the devices cannot be assembled to access the information. But, degaussing can also be a complicated process that is best left to the experts to conduct.

Use a Hard Drive Crushing Device

Professional hard drive disposal companies might also use hard drive crushing devices that are either manual or powered. The machine uses a conical steel punch or some such tool to deform the hard drive so that data cannot be extracted from it.

Shred the Hard Drive

Physically smashing the hard drive is the most drastic but thorough method of data destruction. Use a nail to punch holes in the disk platter or drill it in several places. Or, you could shred the platter into shards or sand it to erase the information. Pulverizing the platters, grinding or melting them, or even shredding them should be sufficient for hard drive disposal. Whatever method you choose, make sure to use eye protection and drop off the remains at your nearest e-cycling facility. Never pour acid on the hard drive, burn it, or place it in the microwave. Better yet, hand over the devices to professional data destruction teams that use DOD-compliant hard drive shredding systems to deal with them.

Get Professional Help for Proper Hard Drive Disposal

While you can scour the internet and look for information on how to conduct proper hard drive disposal, possibly, the best method is to get help from the experts. Contact a professional company that will not only use legal data destruction methods but also provide you with a certificate of destruction. This document will clearly state that all the stored data has been thoroughly erased and the hardware discarded responsibly.

Such expert agencies also have trusted security personnel that conducts the hard drive disposal. They are likely to arrive at your home or workplace in vehicles that have advanced alarm systems. Trust in them to deal with your hard drive disposal using data destruction methods that are legal and environmentally friendly. Remember, you risk getting fined if you are found guilty of disposing of your hard drives, laptops, and other electronic waste using any methods that can potentially cause damage to the environment.

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