Data Protection (Part 3) - Physically Destroying an HDD

We’ve spoken about the shocking number of home users and businesses that sell their old hard drives with personal data still recoverable on them, and yesterday we explained the process of hard drive sanitisation, that overwrites your data with dummy data. That’s the software option – here’s a more extreme approach!

While many people will be keen to get a bit of money for an old hard drive, the risks of not properly erasing a drive will often outweigh the need to protect the data that was on there. There is a chance, even after sanitisation, that data could be recoverable – the user could mistakenly use a program like DBAN and think their data is gone, when it actually isn’t. Hard frives don’t sell for that much, particularly if they’re more than a couple of years old, as HDD technology moves incredibly fast. The best option, then, may be to physically destroy the hard disk drive.

At Data Recovery Specialists, and indeed any reputable data recovery company, hard disk drives are disposed off using a granulator to shred them into tiny pieces, rendering it impossible to recover any data from them. This is obviously not suitable for a home user or business, although there are companies that will offer this service.

To put it simply, the best way is to smash the hard drive’s platter using a hammer. Destroying the platters will render the hard drive unresponsive to any further data recovery attempts, meaning your data won’t fall into disreputable hands. Make sure you dispose of the leftover bits accordingly, though.

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