How to Destroy a Hard Drive

When replacing an older desktop, you may have reservations about just chucking it into the bin. You’ll need to be certain that you’ve erased all the information contained on your computer’s hard drive. This task can be tougher than you think, but we’ve collected a number of methods that can do the trick.

Step 1: Wipe the drive.

This step typically involves getting some type of wipe CD, inserting it into your computer’s CD drive, and then following instructions to prompt it to do its thing. While specialized forensic teams could still somehow retrieve your stuff, at least on TV, the wipe is an essential first step for Type A personalities. Type B folks can head straight to step 2.

Step 2: Choose your weapon.

Wiping the drive is never enough, so your second step for surefire hard drive obliteration is to remove the hard drive platter from your computer and subject it to any of the below methods, or combination thereof. Make sure you choose a method that: a.) won’t hurt your family, pets or friends; b.) won’t get you arrested; and c.) sounds like a heck of a lot of fun.

Blast with a hammer.

Fast, direct and awesome for alleviating aggression, taking a hammer to your platter comes with deep benefits. Wear safety goggles, choose a firm surface and start smashing away. Note that platters made of ceramic or glass will shatter readily, while those made of metal may be more fun to destroy using an alternate method.

Melt in the microwave.

Unless you never want to hear the end of it, don’t use your family’s kitchen microwave for this stunt. Get an old crummy used one; plug it into an extension cord outside, far, far away from any living being. The radiation is not strong enough to destroy the drive, so you have to keep zapping the platter until it either melts or explodes. Try 10-minute intervals and see what happens – by opening the door with a broom handle and remaining far, far away and out of its potentially explosive path.

Burn, baby, burn.

Again, the heat alone won’t destroy the drive. But transforming it into melted goop will. Choose an outdoor fire pit or barrel and toss your drive on the fire, checking periodically for melting progress. Another option is to go for protective gear, a heat-resistant set of tongs and a blow torch.

Break out the hacksaw.

In all honesty, a hacksaw won’t do much for hard drive destruction. But “hacksaw” is more fun to say than “angle cutter.” Choose a powered, handheld angle cutter, insert a dramatic-looking blade, grab your safety goggles and go for it. Oh yeah, clamp down your platter on a durable surface to keep it from flying all over and hitting you in the face once you start cutting.

Regardless of the weapon of destruction you choose, it’s imperative to note one ironic twist: how much easier it is to accidentally lose data than it is to try to intentionally destroy it. That’s where we can help with our cloud backup solutions. Enjoy!