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Hard Disk Drive Destruction: 4 Common Ways to do it Hard drives are sometimes destroyed to make the data stored unreadable. There are good and bad ways to destroy hard disks. Common hard disk destruction techniques include degaussing, crushing/mangling, shredding, and disintegration. 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. Hard disk degaussing can be effective but it’s not always a perfect method because demagnetization may not reach every platter or all parts. Therefore, two steps of destruction are highly recommended. In addition, degaussing chambers are expensive and usually require special training, which makes it out of reach for small to mid-size firms.
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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. Based on the model, a shredder can destroy hard disk drives, PDAs, smartphones, electronic organizers as well as other storage devices. They’re definitely unsuitable for office environments. 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 disintegrators are very effective, they’re also heavy and bulky, and need special reliable AC energy 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 shredders, disintegrators are certainly not suitable for office use. Mangling/crushing This technique is thought to be one of the most economical for small to mid-size organizations that have no resources to lease or buy costly shredding or degaussing equipment. 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. Manually-powered devices have a hydraulic-run handle that’s used to run a strong steel plate that squashes 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. Conversely, electrically-powered crushes may be dearer and can require a little maintenance and minimal physical interaction. Both varieties are completely enclosed in a casing and have chambers that allow safe use. There are even small sizes that can suit a desktop.