Hard Disk Drive Destruction: 4 Common Ways to do it Hard drives are sometimes destroyed to make the data stored unreadable. There are good and bad ways to destroy hard disks. Common ways to destroy hard drives include shredding, degaussing, disintegration, and crushing/mangling. Degaussing This is a term that’s usually mentioned during data wiping. It wipes data off disks by passing the hard drives in magnetic fields or electromagnetic pulses in a closed chamber. Hard disk degaussing can be effective but it’s not always a perfect method because demagnetization may not reach every platter or all parts. 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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Shredding
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Just like a paper shredder that tears paper into shreds, a hard disk shredder has powerful blades that rip hard disks apart, such that it’s nearly impossible to piece the tiny shreds back together. While a hard disk shredder can destroy various drive types and sizes, from a few thousand to one at a go, it’s typically bulky, heavy and normally requires a reliable AC power source to operate. Depending on the type, shredders can destroy electronic organizers , smartphones, PDAs, hard disks, and other storage media. They’re definitely not suitable for an office setting. Disintegration Disintegrators are usually used in companies that deal with very highly classified information and use a rotary knife and conveyor belt to rip hard disks into unrecognizable pieces that can’t be pieced back together. While very efficient, disintegrators are heavy and bulky too, and need special reliable AC power supply to operate. They may also need ventilation outside the premises, which is very likely under the control of federal, state or local authorities. Just like shredders, disintegrators are definitely not good for office environments. Crushing/Mangling This technique is thought to be one of the most economical for small to mid-size organizations that have no resources to lease or buy costly shredding or degaussing equipment. 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. Crushers/manglers are available either as manually or electrically-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 varieties are completely enclosed in a casing and have chambers that allow safe use. There are even smaller sizes that can be used on desktops.