Degaussing is the process of removing the magnetic field (data) stored on tape and disk media. When exposed to the powerful magnetic field of a degausser, the magnetic data on a tape or hard disk is neutralized, or erased. Degaussing guarantees that magnetic media is erased; it is the standard method of magnetic data destruction. Using the right degausser will guarantee that your information is no-longer retrievable.
Degaussing is simply a demagnetization process to erase a hard drive or tape. Degaussers contain a magnetic field that is measured in units of gauss or oersteds. All magnetic media has a level of coercively which directly correlates to oersteds. Depedning on the oersteds level of magnetic media, different degaussers must be used to properly eradicate all data.
Let’s first discuss how magnetic media is written. Magnetic tapes have three basic components: an iron oxide powder, a binder and film backing. A tape recorder works by moving the tape past small blocks called heads. When recording, the heads will create a magnetic field that alters the iron oxide powder on the surface of the tape into a pattern. Playback heads then convert this pattern into sound, video, and computer data.
Hard drives work in a very similar way. Instead of tape, hard drives use a circular piece of metal, called a platter, which contained a coating of iron oxide. The platter spins beneath a read/write head. Small pulses of electricity pass through a coil in the head to magnetize the surface of the platter.
Degaussers are able to erase because they generate a magnetic field so powerful that is permanently removes the magnetic memory from the iron oxide which removes or randomized the data pattern. Depending on the type of media, different magnetic field strengths are required to effectively destroy magnetic memory. Modern tapes and hard drives require more magnetic strength. Depending on the type of tape your organization uses, we will use the appropriate deguasser to get the job done.
Degaussed hard drives are completely unusable. Therefore it is not the ecofriendly method of recycling hard drives. Many tapes on the other hand can still be reused when degaussed. Send us an email with your requirements and we will be able to tell you if your tapes are able to be degaussed and still be reused. Otherwise, we can always degauss your media for a fee.