A Practical Guide to Hard Drive Destruction

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Hard Drive Destruction

We all know that houses are demolished for renovation, even buildings are demolished to build a new building. This process can be very entertaining, even vehicles are destroyed. Getting these vehicles crashed after falling from a height can be mentally satisfying as well but these will not become a threat in the future unlike destroying a hard drive. A hard drive consists of personal and business which holds a tremendous value from the eyes of those whose who waiting for an opportunity to get hands-on data. The data includes old e-mail messages; credit-card, bank-account, and Social-Security numbers; and plenty of other personal information. These data hold value as companies who are looking for insight into their competitor’s data to gather strategies. This is either possible by getting the data through stealing the hard drives or trying to retrieve data from hard drives that were thrown away by the companies after just deleting the data. Yes, data can be retrieved even after the data has been deleted from the hard disk.

Even after deleting files or data from a computer, data can be retrieved as the deleted data gets stored in the hard drive which then requires few techniques and particular equipment to retrieve the data. This feature is a benefit as in times of sudden mishap, if data was not stored separately, data would be needed to be retrieved from the same damaged device. As everything comes with a good side and a bad side, this feature came as a benefit for those who find opportunities to steal data from companies.

To avoid these situations, it is necessary to secure the data with the help of a proven destruction technology that will safe, easy to use, and effective. Technology is developing and so is the technology for recovering data and to maintain security it is necessary to be in sync with the latest signs of progress. U.S. National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) uses technologies to recover data that are no longer secret anymore but these technologies are efficient enough to retrieve data even from seriously damaged hard drives. The U.S. government is required to maintain several large amounts of data regarding its citizens as well as its strategies and to protect these data, NSA has implemented procedures to destroy these hard drives by burning or physically damaging the hard drives before disposing of them due to the fear of data leaking. Not only the U.S. but several other countries also take certain procedures to destroy their hard drives for the risk of data leaking. Though it is not only necessary for governments but individual business enterprises as well. Business enterprise’s financial data and records, legal documents, legal contracts, company’s strategies, company’s dealing, and relations are also required to keep safe. If these data fall into the hands of the wrong person, then the data might be misused and to save the data from leaking will cost the company a huge amount and if the data gets leaked then the company will have to bear losses. In this era, where there are huge competitions among companies and countries, any data is useful to anybody. If data are not destroyed properly, then the confidential data will no longer be confidential.

Methods to the Destructive Madness

Since deleting the data by clicking the “delete” button is not enough to secure the confidential data, the following are some methods through which the data which was deleted can be completely eradicated or make the hidden data pointless to recover:


“Disk-wiping” software is used to alter the stored data into a pattern of pointless characters. In this method, old information is replaced with new information which is used in security algorithms. This algorithm helps in removing original data with new data. Once new data has been the original data will be irrecoverable.


In degaussing magnetic field is eliminated. Degaussing can be done in two ways. In the first method, the media passes through magnetic fields of powerful, fixed, rare-earth magnets, permanently erasing the data. In the other method, it uses a powerful electromechanical pulse which instantly emits a powerful magnetic field to permanently destroy data from the hard drives. These methods permanently damage the storage system by damaging the servo control data which was initially written onto the media by manufacturers. This method also removes the start-up files.


This method of destruction is more of physical damage to the hard drive. It demolishes the hard drives by exposing them to extreme compression from a pointed steel punch.  These work well on a light volume of drives as they are relatively inexpensive and available in manual or powered setups. However, unlike degaussing, the data stored in the crushed hard drive is still complete, but it is nearly impossible to retrieve. As a result, this method destroys the magnetic trail which holds the information. This method also pierces the hard drive which then destroys the platter which connects up the drive to read data.


Like the word says, shredders literally rip and tear hard drives to breaks them into pieces.  This method is very similar to that of a commonplace paper shredder. Although, hard drive shredders are much stronger. These devices are capable of destroying several types and sizes of drives, with the largest destroying up to 2,500 hard drives per hour.


This method is generally preferred by companies with highly classified information. This process is carried out by a disintegration machine. The machine involves a conveyor system and a knife which slices hard drives into small particles. The particles used to build the hard drives were themselves small and after using a disintegration machine, the particles are reduced to even further smaller pieces that now can’t be reassembled.

The Outsourcing Option

Before moving to options for outsourcing media destruction, the following are some necessary information about hard drive destruction:

Benefits of hard drive destruction

After hard-drive destruction, the company can be relieved from the stress of leaking data as the data can no longer be accessed by any method and thus the data will remain protected. Destroying hard drives will not incur any costs for storage that would otherwise be required to maintain and store the hard drives. Also, when the hard drive will be kept in a secure place it is not necessary that it will be checked on a regular basis which becomes a chance for thieves to steal the hard drives. This way, the sensitive data will be destroyed safely. If the hard drives are stored, then an additional employee would also be required to keep them under check. Data destruction will keep the company from losing space and also internal costs. Destruction of hard drives also helps in contributing towards the recycling of e-waste.

Some companies may choose to have their hard drives destroyed on the premises themselves. It is understandable that the companies have sensitive and confidential data and the company’s hard drives leaving their facilities will create anxiety and worry. To destroy the hard drives by the company itself, they invest in hard drive destruction equipment. Obtaining the equipment to destroy hard drives will be expensive which is why some companies prefer the destruction of media to be outsourced. Media destruction can be outsourced in the following ways:

Benefits of on-site media destruction

The on-site method is beneficial for those companies which can’t buy destruction machines or carry out the destruction process on their premises by themselves. This method is suitable for those companies which want to destroy hard drives with sensitive and confidential data and can’t choose to let the hard drive leave the company’s premises.

Benefits of offsite hard drive destruction

Destruction of media will require a large space separate from a commonplace where there will be minimum movement of people. It is so because destruction will involve small electronic particles as well as maintain security. Using a deconstruction in the company’s premises itself will create a lot of noise of breaking and shredding of devices which may disturb the employees in the premises. Also, it is not always that a company will need to destroy several hard drives, just a few sometimes, and to destroy these few hard drives, the company’s employee will be required to give a significant amount of time whereas, offsite destruction is rather less time-consuming.

We Buy Used Hard Drives

We Buy Used Hard Drives helps in outsourcing the media destruction. We Buy Used Hard Drives is an asset liquidation firm specializing in buying used hard drives, SSDs, servers, networking, storage, memory, and processors. Since 1965, We Buy Used Hard Drives has consistently maintained the highest data security standards. Their spotless reputation ensures transactions are handled efficiently, ethically, and securely from start to finish. Surprisingly, with thousands of transactions processed, they have never had one security breach or data loss. Whichever hard drive destruction method is chosen for ridding of obsolete equipment, be aware of the fact that they contain toxic materials. As a leader in the e-waste recycling industry for over 50 years, We Buy Used Hard Drives and their parent company DTC Computer Supplies, continuously research options that lessen the chance of environmental pollution.  In fact, some computer components can be reused, and most can be recycled instead of trashed. Data security has always been the priority, but data security and recycling can work seamlessly together.

Visit We Buy Used Hard Drives to learn how they can help.

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Reference:  https://www.semshred.com/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/2480