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4 Common Methods to Destroy Hard Disk Drives

Hard drives are sometimes destroyed to make the data stored unreadable. There are proper and wrong methods to destroy hard drives. Common ways to destroy hard drives include shredding, degaussing, disintegration, and crushing/mangling. Degaussing This term is commonly mentioned during the process of data wiping. It wipes away data by passing a hard disk drive through electromagnetic pulses or magnetic fields in a closed chamber. While degaussing a hard disk can be effective, it isn’t always a foolproof method as demagnetization may fail to reach every platter or part. Therefore, two steps of destruction are highly recommended. Moreover, degaussing chambers often need special training and are expensive, making it unrealistic for small and mid-size companies.
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Like paper shredders in the office that rip paper into shreds, a hard drive shredder has strong blades that rip hard drives into tiny shreds that it’s virtually impossible to piece the shreds back together. Although hard disk shredders can destroy many sizes and types of drives from several thousand at a time to just one at a time, they’re usually bulky, heavy and usually need special consistent AC power supply to run. Depending on the type, shredders can destroy electronic organizers , smartphones, PDAs, hard disks, and other storage media. They’re certainly unsuitable for office use. Disintegration Disintegrators are normally used by companies that handle highly classified data and use a rotary knife as well as conveyor belt to rip hard drives into unrecognizable bits that cannot be joined back together. While disintegrators are very effective, they’re also heavy and bulky, and need special reliable AC energy supply to run. They also may need ventilation outside, which is highly likely to be controlled by state, local or federal authorities.

Similar to a shredder, a disintegrator is definitely not suitable for an office setting. Mangling or crushing This method is extremely cost-effective for small and mid-size firms that can’t afford to buy or lease expensive hard disk shredders and degaussers. Manglers or crushers destroy hard drives by applying massive pressure on them to mangle the platter and crush the chassis, making the hard drive practically unreadable. Manglers/crushers can be bought either as electrically or manually-powered. Hand-driven devices come with a handle that’s hydraulically operated to make a strong steel plate crush the chassis and drive. Some crushers may be loaded with 1-2 drives at a go, depending on your firm’s needs and don’t need much training to run. On the other hand, electrically-powered crushers can be more costly and may need less physical interaction and a bit of maintenance. Both types have chambers that allow safe operation, and come in a completely enclosed casing. There are even smaller sizes that can be used on desktops.