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destruction/disposal of old HDD

(14 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by nharp0386
  • Latest reply from Xhi
  • Topic Viewed 422 times

nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

What's the best way to destroy a 2.5" SATA drive (going on 4 years old if that makes any difference) before disposing of it to undoubtedly prevent any possibility of data recovery? Should I just smash it with a sledgehammer until it's in bits and pieces? That seems simpler and more effective than drilling holes in it.

I assume that running a disk wipe utility on it beforehand is unnecessary/pointless, right?

Once destroyed, can I just throw it away (is it safe and legal given the materials?), or should it be recycled somehow (and if so, how)? Recycling may be difficult if it has been smashed into pieces...

Thanks!

Posted 1 year ago
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oldgeezer
Posts: 211

Sledgehammer works fine to a point, but you need to make sure that actual disk inside is scrap & the best way to do that is remove the (usually 6) small small hex screws that hold the top on and then prise it away, this gives you access to the actual disk which you can then destroy.

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

What do you mean by "prise?"

Posted 1 year ago
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vistamike
vistamike
Posts: 10945

'prise', with a screwdriver for instance, to force off with a tool

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

Okay. So I simply remove the top as described and then smash it with a sledgehammer, or do I need to remove the discs (and if so, how do I do it)? Once finished, is it safe and legal to just throw everything away, or given the materials in the drive, does everything need to be recycled?

Posted 1 year ago
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vistamike
vistamike
Posts: 10945

It is the platter that needs to be destroyed;

Local laws apply for safe disposal, a recycling centre for instance

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

Thanks. The platter appears easy to identify; will it be easy to remove and destroy once the top is removed? Is there any chance that anyone who finds the smashed pieces of the platter can reassemble it and thus recover my data?

Any idea how I can find more information about my local laws on safe disposal?

Also, if I'm going to be destroying my drive like this, it's pointless to run a data wiping utility beforehand, right?

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Open her up, and beat the platters to death with a hammer. There is nothing toxic inside, so take it to anywhere that recycles metal. Or bury it in the yard.
p.s., make sure to wear a tin foil foil hat when you do it.

Posted 1 year ago
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owen123
owen123
Posts: 800

It would only be recoverable if at all with thousands of pounds of forensic kit. But on the safe side if your data is that important then you can run a data wiping utility, or just encrypt it, then nobody is getting on.

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

So if I encrypt the drive with BitLocker and then smash it, there's absolutely no chance of recovery? It won't really be any more secure if I use a data wiping utility? I'm just trying to figure out if there's any point to using such a utility if I'm smashing the drive anyway, as I'd rather not have to download and run one, but I want my drive to be totally irrecoverable (or as close to that as possible).

I thought that destroying your drive was the only way to make your data truly irrecoverable, meaning that using a data wiping utility before smashing it would be excessive and pointless.

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Have an HDD smashing party. Ask all your friends to bring along their biggest hammer, angle grinder, pickaxe, whatever. Make an afternoon of it. Do have a prize for the one with the biggest tool. (or the best explosive)

Posted 1 year ago
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LadyFitzgerald
Posts: 2232

A few whacks four pounder will easily destroy even a 3.5" HDD without opening it up.

Btw, prise is the British version of the American word pry.

Posted 1 year ago
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StringJunky
StringJunky
Posts: 2454

If you MUST make sure...get a bench grinder and grind it away in to dust.:D

Seriously, stand it on it's side such that when you hit it, the platters are bent in half or broken.

Posted 1 year ago
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Xhi
Xhi
Posts: 6298

Me thinks we are over dramatizing what is really a simple problem. If the drive is wiped miscreants will simply move on to a drive that is easier to do, unless you really have some individual determined to get your specific information.

Posted 1 year ago
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