• Why millions of usable hard drives are being destroyed

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    According to a BBC article, storage drives used in data centers are normally sold with five-year warranties, and large data centers retire them when the warranty expires.

    The author goes on to state that millions of the retired drives could be reused each year.

    See the full story at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-65669537

    Is it a good idea to recycle data storage devices?

    Viewing 6 reply threads
    • #2564951

      61 chemical elements used in the drives

      and one grey matter element to make a recycling decision!

      I tend to think of this as cutting down trees to produce paper then once paper is written on with a pencil, trash it instead of using an eraser to clear the paper to use again.
      Sad waste society we all live in..tsk

      I’d use oem drive software to check integrity then low level sanitize/ format and use them again as external drives in a caddy, great for photo storage and portable viewing without internet cloud needs.( +1 for privacy.) YMMV

      No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT- AE
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2564955

      I would be interested to know what the average lifespan of such a drive would be from that point forward. Five years is a pretty long time, and these drives have probably seen more active use than in regular PCs. I am not really sure. If they sold them for rock bottom prices, I’d probably buy a few and find out for myself how well they hold up as second-level backup drives (backups of backups, where there is redundancy).

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

    • #2565004

      Of the computers I’ve had – all eight of them going all the way back to 1993, I’ve only had two HDD’s fail. And it wasn’t the 1993 IBM PS/1!  Hold on to your old HDD’s that still have life in them, they may come in handy, and remember, vinyl records are back!

      Being 20 something in the 70's was much more fun than being 70 something in the 20's.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2565078

      I too, would recommend to physically destroy a retried drive for security reasons, but when you wanted to give the drive to someone you know and you still want everything on the drive purged I suggested this:
      Encrypt the drive and then do a full format on the drive.

      The article states that they delete the encryption key. How do you delete the encryption key of an encrypted drive?  This sounds like a very good security step.

      HTH, Dana:))

    • #2565085

      For a non-business user if you use a program like DBan or Eraser to securely erase your drive you can effectively recycle it for your own use or even someone else.

      It’s a cost benefit calculation: Is the data on your drive worth the THOUSANDS of dollars it would cost to recover that data after running one of the above programs?
      Remember that for a person to be willing to spend THOUSANDS of dollars on the process of possibly recovering economically valuable information they have to be pretty sure at the start that the device contains such valuable information and that they have a reasonable possibility of recovering it in a complete and usable format. Seems like a very high bar of safety to me. YMMV

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!


      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

    • #2565107

      It can depend on the type of business whether the drives can be reused or not. For example in the United States, if you are a healthcare company there are HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) security rules that can require destroying the old data center drives to ensure protection of ePHI (electronic Protected Health Information). Otherwise there can be serious financial penalties to a company for a breach of PHI.

    • #2566826

      I remember the order was out to destroy our old computers. We made sure to remove the still functional HHDs and memory before we turned them over to the building mechanics to sledge hammer. 🙄😝


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
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