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How to Safely and Completely Destroy Old Hard Drives

How to Safely and Completely Destroy Old Hard Drives

You can set your hard drive on fire, magnetize it or cut it with a saw, but are you confident that all of the data has been rendered inaccessible?  

Computers are amazing storage devices, managing to hold onto personal and business information even if they are dropped, frozen, scratched or magnetized. While these are all great features when you are still using your computers and servers, it makes it a bit more challenging to completely remove the information stored within your hard drive. There are plenty of software tools on the market that claims to “completely” remove the information, but hackers are quite crafty when it comes to piecing together personal information from abandoned hard drives. Studies show that over 78% of hard drives that have been discarded still contain personal data. This is particularly important for businesses that may be storing sensitive customer information, protected health data or financial details — which is why some laws such as HIPAA require that hard drives are certified as being destroyed. These tips will help ensure you have fully cleared the sensitive information from your solid-state drives or hard drives.

Safely Discarding Old Electronics

Decommissioning your electronics also includes safely disposing of the materials, as they can’t be simply sent through standard waste disposal solutions. There are several hazardous materials that are found in electronics waste, all of which can harm the environment. The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) is a non-profit organization that helps monitor and certify the destruction and recycling of electronics. If you are working with a partner to completely eradicate your hard drives, be sure they are AAA Certified as this means that they are following best-practices for the chain of custody and materials handling.

Managing Regulatory Requirements

You can render a hard drive inoperable by yourself by destroying the magnetic platter inside the hard drive, but this isn’t a reasonable option when you’re managing multiple computers. Try lightly hitting the hard drive with a hammer, until you are able to get to the platter inside. It’s best to wear eye protection and protect yourself from flying parts, as there are many small plastic, metal and potentially even some glass pieces that could go zooming around the room. Once you’ve broken through the hard drive casing, you’ll need to extract the platter, which looks quite similar to a CD-ROM. Using a screwdriver or the hammer, ding and dent this platter . . . a lot. Once you have all of the pieces broken up, you can then deliver the component parts to your local electronics recycling location for safe disposal.

Anytime you are updating your current hardware you will likely have elderly electronics that need to be safely destroyed so no one can retrieve the information that was stored within. While there are some pretty creative options for rendering the contents of your hard drive inaccessible, sometimes the easiest options are the best! The wizards at Data Magic Computer Services will destroy and certify your old hard drives and storage devices so you can confidently move on with your upgrades. Contact us at (469) 635-5500 or via email to {email} to schedule your free initial consultation or set a time to drop by and personally take out some aggression on your old hard drives.

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