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How to destroy my harddrive?

by hatm2002 / June 19, 2008 1:33 AM PDT

Can you tell me how to destroy my harddrive? I removed it from my old machine and it will have my banking details on it.
Thanks in advance.

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A Number Of Ways Are Available
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 19, 2008 2:38 AM PDT

Some depends on the type of hard drive and much depends on what tools you have available.. Some platters are made of glass/ceramics and a ball-peen hammer will shatter them. Most are made of metal, (aluminum/nickel I believe) and those require a little different method.. A grinder works well and I've used this method a number of times.. Turn the grinder on, press the platters next to it, then it grinds it into dust.

But you still need to get the platters out of the hard drive case if you want to destroy the platters specifically. Or you can get creative. I've seen folks use a number of methods including metal saws to simply cut the entire case, including the platters, into pieces.. Or use a sledge hammer to destroy it.. Driving nails through the entire thing. A furnace or hand held blow torch works well..

A Google search for your topic will give you a lot of ideas including this great industrial shredder.

Hope this helps.


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Have fun with it
by Jimmy Greystone / June 19, 2008 2:44 AM PDT

Take a hammer or whatever's handy to it, and just pound the hell out of it. The HDD casing is considerably tough, so it's a good workout to break the things.

Dent the case up pretty good, smash off the interface ports on the back, and even if the platters are still intact, it'll likely take the resources of a government to do anything with it.

Of you could just take it apart to see how it is hard drives work. You don't need to be worried about breaking it, since that's the ultimate goal. Once you've studied it a bit, a good swing or two from a 20lbs sledge hammer should do the trick. Just wear safety goggles and don't do it on grass.

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Try a degaussing coil
by mjd420nova / June 19, 2008 2:44 AM PDT

I have a two foot diameter degaussing coil that was used to degauss the old CRT type monitors and TV's. Pass the drive through the center of the coil a couple times and it is wiped. Aside from taking the unit apart, which can be fun and a learning experience for the non-technical user, this will assuredly render the data unrecoverable.

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by darkzenlord / June 19, 2008 4:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Try a degaussing coil

Sounds a little dangerous with all those saws and hammers. I destroy HD's with a demagnetizer (aka bulk eraser). It is technically used to wipe old archive beta, 1 inch, DVC tapes. But works well for HD's. I don't know anyone who would or could recover anything from a disc even if you just took out the platters. Unless your a spy of course and it contains data sensitive to national security. If you must absolutely destroy all traces of information from the drive. Your best bet would be to physically destroy it. As mentioned above.

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Thank you all so much for your replies =]
by hatm2002 / June 20, 2008 12:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Yeah.


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Another way to destroy a harddrive ...
by DMill / June 20, 2008 2:37 PM PDT

I had to replace the harddrive on my desktop last year and was told by the "Geek Squad" techie (at Best Buy) that drilling several holes into the unit would do the trick.

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Drilling holes
by btljooz / June 22, 2008 3:08 AM PDT

Simply drilling holes in a hard drive may render it generally unusable, but it does NOT destroy the data left in the undrilled spaces between those holes. Plain

Some forensics software CAN detect the data remaining in those spaces between the drilled holes. Wink

***This thread is not being tracked

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Use a freeware Darik's Boot b Nuke
by sanjayrajure / June 20, 2008 3:51 PM PDT

Download the software called Darik's boot n Nuke from sourceforge. Use the software to create a bootable disk. Boot from the disk and wipe the hard disk. There is no point in physically destroying the hard disk, if you can manage to wipe out the data on it.

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A magnet works great
by tedtks / June 20, 2008 6:37 PM PDT

I have used it quite a few times to truly wipe an HD and render
it pretty useless. set a good size strong magnet on the circuit
board side for a couple hours and it will wipe all trace of even
track headers, not to mention the IC's on the pc board.

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Nothing Fancy
by mwooge / June 20, 2008 7:34 PM PDT

Just reformat the drive. That'll clear all the data.

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Not really.
by Kees Bakker / June 20, 2008 8:27 PM PDT
In reply to: Nothing Fancy

There are unformatting programs that will turn it up again.

To be safe: use some program to wipe or erase the hard disk. That's overwriting it one or more times with zero's or different bit patterns.


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Reformatting, Overwriting, and TRUE destruction
by btljooz / June 22, 2008 2:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Not really.


Kees is correct in that a simple reformat only covers up the data just enough to trick the computer into thinking that data no longer exists under the new format. BUT it does in deed still exist under only ONE layer of 'new' data and it takes very little power in a specialized forensics program to bring it back into the view of nefarious eyes.


Using a program such as Kill Disk or Derek's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) overwrites the data with varying patterns of ones and zeros. DBAN is free and KD has a free version that only makes three passes. The FBI suggests at least nine passes with such a program to cover the data on the drive. One can find these programs here in CNET's Download section, but I suggest going to the home site of the program to learn even more about it. With sophisticated forensics software (such as what a government, or even a large corporate, entity has available) it IS still possible to uncover data or portions of data on the drive in question after a "wiping" program is used.


The ONLY way to completely and irrevocably destroy data on a hard drive is to destroy the platter(s) of the hard drive itself/selves. One must make double sure that there is absolutely NOTHING left of the platter(s)!!!...but ashes or almost sandy particles. There have been several methods discussed here, of which, you may find useful.

Personally, I prefer the cutting/plasma torch method on metal hard drives. Simply stick the drive or platter(s) in a vice and melt them into oblivion.

In the case of glass or ceramic platters I would use Kill Disk or DBAN first. Then place drive(s) into a plastic bag, or two (to keep pieces together so they don't fly all over the place for what should be obvious reasons), and then pound them into particles as tiny and fine as possible with a hammer on a hard surface such as concrete. Then dispose of the leftover pile of pulverized glass or ceramic in a manner that it can never be found and/or re-assembled (if there are shards of any size still remaining at all).

BTW: There was mention of the use of magnets. Very few people have access to magnets strong enough to actually do the job at hand. The average person will never come into contact with such magnets. Therefore, that is not a viable option for the largest percentage of the populace. Wink

I hope this helps. GOOD LUCK! Happy

***This post is not being tracked.

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Hard Drive
by deaths_little_helper / June 20, 2008 10:11 PM PDT

Several things you can do with this. Either put it in an external hard drive enclosure, and format it and use it for spare storage (I've made two now) or recycle it...after putting a shiney new 1 inch hole in the middle with the first cordless drill you can find...good luck!

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destroying a hard drive
by guywayne / June 21, 2008 1:27 AM PDT

Most of the magnets that most people have access to will not securely wipe a hard drive. Also, heat may not do it unless it is enough heat to melt the platters.
The best ting to do is properly erase the drive with something like Dban (Darriks boot n nuke) and then phisically destroy the drive. I like to dent it up good with a heavy hammer as this takes care of the chips on the circuit board as well as the disks. Taking the disks out and grinding their surface would work, too. If you don't have a power grinder or sander, You could place the disk on the sidewalk and then dance "The Twist" on each side (this works for cds too)
The military uses a secure wipe program and then sand-blasts the platters to ensure that they are gone.

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How to destroy a disk
by msgale / June 23, 2008 4:37 AM PDT

Think "Terminator 2"

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Take apart in less than an hour
by xander222 / June 21, 2008 10:50 AM PDT

you can take a hard drive apart in less than an hour. All you need is about a medium sized flat tip screw driver, gloves, safety glasses. And one of those dremels(or equivalent), with the flat cutter wheels. Just cut a slot in the the top, of those funny looking screws. And then use your screw driver to screw them out. After you remove the pretty shiny disc. You can keep them as souvenirs, to show your buddies. Up scratch them up, and dispose of them.

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Personally, I Like Thermite... He he...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 21, 2008 2:14 PM PDT
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Another method:
by Paul C / June 21, 2008 7:20 PM PDT

Needed: 1 hard drive, a stout post to which you can fasten the drive, safety goggles, ear protection and a large caliber handgun. NOTE: Make sure that you can safely and legally shoot the gun at the location you choose.

1. Fasten HDD to post.

2. Load handgun.

3. Don ear protection and goggles.

4. Step back approximately 10 yards from post.

5 Aim and empty magazine into HDD.

"Press any key to continue," indeed... Devil

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DSestroy Hard Drive
by Ozzie / June 21, 2008 3:12 PM PDT

I vote for throwing in front of one of those machines that roll over a newly paved highway. A double barrel from close range will also do the trick and likely be more enjoyable, just wear goggles.

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I shall try all of these methods, lol, thank you.
by hatm2002 / June 27, 2008 11:41 PM PDT
In reply to: DSestroy Hard Drive


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