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4 Common Methods to Destroy Hard Disk Drives Hard disk drives are often destroyed to make the stored information 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 term is often mentioned in data wiping. It wipes away data by passing a hard disk drive through electromagnetic pulses or magnetic fields in a closed chamber. While degaussing can be an effective method, it isn’t always effective as demagnetization may not get to every part or platter. So, a two-step destruction procedure is strongly recommended. Also, degaussing chambers are expensive and often need special training, which makes it unrealistic for small to medium-size companies.
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Shredding
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Just like office paper shredders that tear paper into shreds, hard disk drive shredders have strong blades that help shred hard disks into tiny strips such that it’s almost impossible to piece them 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 certainly unsuitable for office use. Disintegration Disintegrators are normally used by companies that handle highly classified data and use a rotary knife as well as conveyor belt to rip hard drives into unrecognizable bits that cannot be joined back together. While very effective, disintegrators are bulky and heavy as well, and require special consistent AC power supply to run. They also can require ventilation outside the building, which will more than likely be controlled by local, state or federal authorities. Similar to a shredder, a disintegrator is definitely not suitable for an office setting. Crushing/Mangling This method is extremely cost-effective for small and mid-size firms that can’t afford to buy or lease expensive hard disk shredders and degaussers. 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 manglers can be loaded with up to two disks at a time, based on your organization’s needs and require less training to operate. Conversely, electrically-powered crushes may be dearer and can require a little maintenance and minimal physical interaction. Both varieties come with chambers that allow safe use and are fully enclosed in a casing. There are even small sizes that can suit a desktop.