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4 Common Methods to Destroy Hard Disk Drives People often destroy hard disks to make the stored data 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 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. Thus, a two-step process of destruction is strongly 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 drive shredder can destroy many different drive sizes and types, from a single one to several thousand at a go, it’s usually heavy, bulky and requires consistent AC power source to operate. Based on the model, a shredder can destroy hard disk drives, PDAs, smartphones, electronic organizers as well as other storage devices. 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 effective, disintegrators are bulky and heavy as well, and require special consistent AC power supply to run. 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. Mangling or crushing 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. Manglers/crushers can be bought either as electrically or manually-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.