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  • How to destroy disk drive

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware How to destroy disk drive

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      • #2380574
        cellsee6
        AskWoody Plus

        I searched for an answer before posting this question.  My search did not find any answers.

        My question:  I have a bunch of old disk drives.  Some of them have sensitive information on them.  I cannot install them into a computer and run diskpart because they are mainly IDE drives .

        How would you destroy a disk drive?
        Thank you for your help.

         

      • #2380575
        Al Taylor
        AskWoody Plus

        How would you destroy a disk drive?

        A hammer will disable a HD, effectively destroying it’s usability (preferably a “big one”).

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2380646
          GoneToPlaid
          AskWoody Plus

          Always wear safety glasses when using a hammer. My preferred method is a sledge hammer. Nice and quick.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380581
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        ++ Hit it with hammer (and chisel)
        ++ Throw it against the ground few times
        ++ Sink it into the water for few minutes.
        ++ Use strong magnet (like this on the picture)
        ++ Burn it
        ++ Break the IDE connector mechanically

        magnet

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        PRUSA i3 MK3S+

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380599
        anonymous
        Guest

        The platters make good mirrors!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380609
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        A screw driver and a couple of Torx drivers to remove the screws holding it to gether (some are likely hiding behind labels ) remove the platters and if one is realy paranoid sand paper, bend and put them in a nice bon fire. As your reward you will also find several very strong magnets. You can pinch your fingers playing with these so be aware and maybe keep away from the kiddies. Let your imagination fly free. 🧲🧲☺

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380611
        Bill_Bright
        AskWoody Lounger

        they are mainly IDE drives .

        It does not matter that they are IDE drives. You can still “attach” them to your computer and run a “wipe” program on them. Simply purchase an inexpensive SATA/PATA/IDE Drive to USB Adapter Kit to connect the drive to you computer. Then wipe it from there. If you have CCleaner, it has a nice Drive Wiper feature that lets you wipe the entire drive, or just the free space.

        Wiping only the free space is nice if you just want to pass along the drive to someone else, protect your personal information, but keep the OS intact. You delete your personal files then wipe the free space. This ensures your personal files cannot be undeleted.

        If you enjoy watching destruction in action (and who doesn’t?), research your local area for electronics recycling centers. Many will have a hard drive shredder that can be mesmerizing to watch.

        Bill (AFE7Ret)
        Freedom isn't free!

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2380635
        anonymous
        Guest

        Nice powerful magnets, can give your fingers a nasty nip !

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380645
        anonymous
        Guest

        A rather time consuming step and it is somewhat useful in addition to the other methods is to drill many holes with a large drill bit.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380653
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I searched for an answer before posting this question. My search did not find any answers.

        How very odd — and rather disturbing — as there was a rather long thread discussing this very issue last year. I hope this does not mean that (at least) one whole thread has disappeared!

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380697
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I searched with keywords: “disk drive destroy hammer” and got seven comments on this issue. Oddly enough, except from the one by Al Taylor yesterday, these are from years before I became a member here, so those comments from last year I have already mentioned have not appeared. And using a hammer was my own (not very serious) recommendation, so it should have been among the results.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2380822
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          I remember that older thread very well Oscar.  It was big and full of suggestions ranging from hammers & drills to using the platters for ornamentation. etc.  I was a bit shocked at some of the things suggested then and now to a piece of electronics that has served one so well for such a long time.

          Be afraid AI, be very afraid!

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2380825
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Charly: Susan helped find the old thread. See my comment further down, with the link to the old thread.

            Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

            MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
            Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
            Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2380833
          Susan Bradley
          Manager

          The forum search is like Windows search.  It needs work.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380795
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        ‘Wipe’ program – Many, many, many hours

        18″ fine cold chisel and club hammer – Less than a second.

        No contest. 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2380805
          Bill_Bright
          AskWoody Lounger

          ‘Wipe’ program – Many, many, many hours 18″ fine cold chisel and club hammer – Less than a second. No contest.

          The time it takes to wipe a drive depends on the number of passes you set the wipe program to make. Only super-duper Top Secret government agencies need anything more than a single pass. Still, it is a “start and walk-away” process. But the good news is, it is a “back ground” process too. That is, you can start the wipe on a drive, then multitask to something else. It is not like all else stops while the program is wiping your drive. Or, if you have more than one computer, use the 2nd one for this task.

          And of course, the drive is still usable after the wipe.

          As far as drilling holes, using a chisel or a BFH (a specific  “big” “hammer” ;)), I note, while highly unlikely due to the amount of time, work and $$$ involved, a very determined bad guy with deep pockets who is out to get you specifically can still disassemble the drive, remove the platters and analyze the undamaged portions of each platter with specialized equipment and recover whatever data is still there.

          In other words, it would take many holes drilled or many strikes with that chisel (much more than “less than a second”) to ensure no data is recoverable.

          But again, that takes a lot of time and work and is why data recovery services can easily cost well into the $100s or many $1000s. But since we all have current backups, that is not an issue, right? Right?

          I actually have a 16lb “double jack” that I took to a non-functioning drive once. You would be surprised how much work it takes to destroy a hard drive. All the fun was gone after about 5 swings. If the drive is no longer functioning, a drive shredder is the only way to go that guarantees 100% success and destruction of your data.

          Oh, and BTW, if the drive still functions, you don’t even have to use a wipe program. A wipe program simply writes a bunch of random 1s and 0s to each storage location on the drive – overwriting your data. You can simply do a “Quick Format” to mark the entire drive as free space, then fill the drive with benign files. For example, with music files, movies or other videos.

          Bill (AFE7Ret)
          Freedom isn't free!

          3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2386775
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Unless you’re me, I’ve got several old Iomega Zip Drives that just stopped working years ago.  I’m one who keeps things in the hope that at some point I’ll find a Youtube fix video for it.  But that’s me and I have lots of time now.

          • #2387294
            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            The Click of Death ?
            I gave up on the drive but still have a blank disk 😁

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
            • #2387393
              Charlie
              AskWoody Plus

              I don’t remember hearing any clicks. My two Zip Drives worked fine until about 2010 and then just stopped working. They weren’t even being recognized by the BIOS or Windows 98 SE as a Drive.  Odd that both drives stopped working within a month or so of each other, and in different computers (the other one is in an old Win 95 computer circa 1997.

              I figured it must be an electronics problem on the circuit board.  I’ve got many Zip Disks with data on them that I’d like to be able use again.  I always hope I can find a way around the “planned obsolescence” and fix things, but all I’ve seen on Google & Youtube are things about the “click” problem.

      • #2380824
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        With some help from Susan, last year’s thread I mentioned, about the disposing of HD, etc, is all here:

        ‘Moving house is great fun,’ said no one ever

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380835
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Only super-duper Top Secret government agencies need anything more than a single pass.

        With respect, I beg to differ. If you had ever been involved with the credit card industry in the UK then you would know that any hard drive in any device used for credit card payments needs more than a single pass for an organisation to stay within the data security standards of PCI compliance.

        (I was one of just two PCI-accredited IT specialists authorised to deal with HDDs coming out of credit card processing PCs within a local authority.)

        Note: The topic title is ‘How to destroy disk drive’, not ‘How to wipe disk drive’.

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2380905
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        There is always the free portable Eraser app.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2380956
        Bill_Bright
        AskWoody Lounger

        With respect, I beg to differ. If you had ever been involved with the credit card industry in the UK then you would know that any hard drive in any device used for credit card payments needs more than a single pass for an organisation to stay within the data security standards of PCI compliance.

        With respect, that is not the “context” for my comment.

        And while the “title” of the topic is about destroying a drive, the “context” and “subject” of the OP’s post is about permanently deleting the “sensitive information” on those old drives.

        The point of my one-pass comment is that one-pass is more than enough (technically speaking) to ensure any “usable” data on the drive is unrecoverable. It was not how to be in compliance with this standard or that standard. That is totally different scenario.

        While I appreciate your qualifications and experiences with credit card security, this is me. I was one of just a few responsible for the secure destruction of data belonging to such “super-duper Top Secret” organizations. And for sure, “one pass” certainly would NOT comply with their destruction “standards” either.

        I highly doubt cellsee6 would be a target of Russia’s or China’s equivalent to Agent 007.

        That was my point.

        Pretty sure your hammer and chisel method would not be in compliance with PCI DSS either. But I know the shredder method I linked to above is – AS LONG AS there are two authorized personnel, with the applicable security clearances, present witnessing the destruction.

        But again, that is way out of context for the OP and 99.9% of the rest of us “normal” users.

        You might want to read The How-To Geek’s article, You Only Need to Wipe a Disk Once to Securely Erase It.

         

        Bill (AFE7Ret)
        Freedom isn't free!

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2380971
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Pretty sure your hammer and chisel method would not be in compliance with PCI DSS either. But I know the shredder method I linked to above is – AS LONG AS there are two authorized personnel, with the applicable security clearances, present witnessing the destruction.

        Hence why I said I was one of two authorised personnel. Hammer and chisel is the ‘home’ method’. At work we had to run the organisation’s HDD shredder out of hours due to the noise (despite wearing ear defenders)… and have a Health & Safety person in attendance as well, just in case.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2380975
        Bill_Bright
        AskWoody Lounger

        Yeah, those shredders are noisy. Ours was located in a separate building where the paper shredders and “burn” furnace was housed for destroying classified documents. So after (out of) hours was not a problem. Didn’t matter anyway as it was a 24/7/365 facility. And yes, our OHSA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Agency had strict rules about ear and eye protection too. We did not have to have a OSHA rep present, but that was only because both witnesses were already trained and certified to comply with OSHA standards. Plus part of the completed destruction documentation required the two witnesses certify all safety standards were properly complied with.

        Bill (AFE7Ret)
        Freedom isn't free!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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