Jan 05, 2016

How to safely dispose of old hard drive with personal data on it?

I have an old HDD that has gone belly up, and I want to throw it out. Perhaps I’m being paranoid about a broken hard drive, but I’m concerned about some of the private information that is on it, and it failed before I had a chance to wipe and rewrite the drive. A quick visual inspection shows that the drive is surprisingly well protected against physical destruction.
I had a drive that I was getting rid of and faced similar concerns. I tried to open it up, but one of the things holding it together was a rivet. I ended up breaking off all of the connectors, then taking the drive and submerging it in a bucket of salt water overnight. It wasn't complete destruction (a commercial shredder is really the best option), but I can't imaging too many people would be willing or able to go to the trouble to get data off of the drive after that.

That said, a pair of safety glasses and a sledge hammer would make for some great stress release...
You can take it apart and damage the platters. All you'll need is a screwdriver to open it up. Alternatively if you have a hammer you can shatter the drive by hitting it a couple of times (carefully, don't hurt yourself). You can also use a relatively strong magnet if you have one around.
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