How to Destroy Hard Drive Data: and Hard Drives Themselves

Regardless of the kind of hard drive you use – magnetic hard drive disks or solid-state drives – knowing how to destroy a hard drive correctly is critical for the prevention of post-use recovery and theft. Though the internet may provide several guidelines on the issue of “how to destroy hard drive,” effective dismantlement and destruction are dependent on the application of correct tools, which is ultimately determined by the architecture of the disk.

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Why Do Hard Drives Need to Be Destroyed?

The common approach to data protection relies on multiple tools applied while the hard drive is in active use, such as password protection, physical locks, and security systems. Yet, the post-use vulnerability of a hard drive often remains omitted. Once a hard drive is no longer in use, these data safekeeping measures are no longer applicable. Instead, finding out how to destroy hard drive data along with the hard drive itself ensures absolute protection against identity theft, fraud, and further security risks.

Understanding How a Hard Drive Works

The centerpiece of any hard disk drive is its platter, consisting of microscopic grains of material, which act as the data storage. The mechanism of storing data is based on magnetization of these grains. The charge of the material – a binary function of positive/negative, corresponds with the 0/1 binary language of the computer. By applying the charge, information is created, which can be read by the measurement of the charge of individual grains.

The outer surface of the platter consists either of aluminum or more brittle material, such as glass. The function of this layer is the protection of the magnetic components against mechanical damage.

Knowing the architecture of the disk, we can now answer the question “How to destroy a hard drive?” Since the magnetic layer holds all the information, the logical conclusion would be the destruction of every single sector of the hard drive. However, all methods of reading a disk rely on its spin, therefore deforming the drive to the extent that would prevent any further spinning could be sufficient.

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How to Destroy Hard Drive Data Yourself: a DIY Approach

Many suggestions arise when searching for the phrase “how to destroy a hard drive”, including such marvels as:

  • Hammering the hard drive on a parking lot.
  • Melting with acid.
  • Roasting the disk in an oven, followed by an ice bath.
  • Bending the platter.
  • Throwing the disk in a fireplace.
  • Penetrating the disk with a high caliber bullet.
  • Drilling through the platter.
  • Pre-freezing the drive in liquid nitrogen, followed by a drop from a rooftop.

The methods presented are, of course, very amusing, and you may be surprised to know just how many people genuinely believe that hard drives can be destroyed in one or more of these ways. With a disposable pair of gloves, safety goggles and plenty of free time, some may even be effective when dealing with a small number of drives. Yet, for a business, such an approach would be quite impractical, even if we omit the violation of safety protocol. Given the large number of drives in need of disposal by an average company, taking a hammer to them is simply not feasible.

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A Better Approach to Hard Drive Destruction: Trusting the Professionals

A solution to the problem at hand lies in the use of a professional hard drive destruction service. Even though watching your employees smash disks with hammers or experimenting with dangerous chemicals may sound entertaining, it is not likely to be the best use of their time or your resources. Rather than wasting both on time-consuming and money-wasting methods, which do not guarantee the necessary efficiency, we suggest hiring a professional in this field.

Rather than a hammer and a google search of “how to destroy a hard drive”, a professional, accredited hard drive destruction company possesses the tools and knowledge necessary for the job. Their methods include SSD shredding and data shredding – a guaranteed prompt and efficient destruction of a hard drive.

Have you ever tried to discover how to destroy hard drive data – or hard drives themselves – using one of these DIY approaches? How did it work out? Let us know in the comments below.


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