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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 proper and wrong ways to destroy hard disk drives. Common ways to destroy hard drives include shredding, degaussing, disintegration, and crushing/mangling. Degaussing This is a term that’s usually mentioned during 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. So, a two-step destruction procedure is strongly 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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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 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. Depending on the kind, a shredder can be used to destroy hard drives, electronic organizers, smartphones, PDAs and other storage media. 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 disintegrators are very effective, they’re also heavy and bulky, and need special reliable AC energy supply to run. They may also need ventilation outside the premises, which is very likely under the control of federal, state or local authorities. Similar to shredders, disintegrators are certainly not suitable for office use. Mangling/crushing This method is known to be highly cost-effective for mid-size or small companies without resources to lease or purchase expensive hard drive degaussers and shredders. Crushers/manglers destroy hard disks by using enormous pressure that mangles the platter and crushes the chassis, rendering the hard disk practically unreadable. Crushers or manglers are sold either as hand or electric-powered. Hand-driven devices have a hydraulically-operated handle that is used to power a strong steel plate that squashes the disk and chassis. 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 types have chambers that allow safe operation, and come in a completely enclosed casing. There are even smaller sizes that can be used on desktops.