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Destroy a hard drive

I have about 20 hard dives that have company data that is not CIA but I would rather be safely destroyed. What's the best way? Fire up the smokey joe and grill them? Leave them in a bucket of water for a week? Salty water? This problem is only going to get worse. I have one employee who wants them for the shooting range! effective, but not reliable. Ideas?
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hgj1357
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hgj1357
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1 Solution
 
Rob HutchinsonDesktop SupportCommented:
Hand Grenades usually work best.

But you could just attach them a computer(s) and run a DOD 7 pass wipe on them using anyone of many hard disk wipers, then sell the drives to a salvage company.
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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Drill press.  
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_Commented:
An 8 to 12oz ball-peen hammer works quite well. One good shot right between the spindle and IDE connector, and that baby 'ain't spinning no more'.
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PUNKYCommented:
Disassemble them, and just hammer the disc ... Then drive to recycle center ...  discard electronics waste properly !
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EirmanCommented:
Don't put them on a crashing space shuttle
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/194388/space-shuttle-hard-disk-survived-crash.html

Use one of these before you hand them over to someone for physical destruction
http://www.soft411.com/software/hard-disk-killer.html

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0791882310Commented:
well sense everyone is giving the best way to destroy a hard drive, i'll give the really best way... if you have an old microwave, then disassemble it and take out the magnets (surrounding the the cavity magnetron wave generator) and then just place them on top of the hard drive for about a minute... no data will be left.. at all
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garycaseCommented:
If you want a "clean", fast, reliable method to erase the data, you can use a professional degausser. It takes a BIG magnetic field (much larger than you'll get from any magnet you're likely to have ... even from a microwave) to fully degauss a modern drive. This will do the trick (in 2.5 minutes/drive): http://www.garner-products.com/deg-hdtd-8200.htm Note that this will not only fully erase the data; but will render the hard drive unuseable as it totally degausses the platters -- including all servo information; so it can't be reformatted and reused. However, these cost thousands of dollars ... so unless you have a LOT of drives it's not likely you need this much of an industrial-strength degausser.

Software-driven scrubbers [e.g. DBAN: http://www.dban.org/ ] will do a full DOD-compliant multi-pass scrub; but take a LONG time/drive (many hours for large drives).    If you have plenty of time; or a few spare systems so you can let each system scrub one drive for as long as it takes; that will do the job quite nicely. And ... although it's not apparently a consideration here ... the drive will still be useable when done.

If you need to scrub several drives at once to minimize the time involved; you can get dedicated-purpose hard drive duplicator/scrubbers that are simply computers with multiple hot-swap drive trays. While a DOD-compliant scrub will still take a lot of hours, you can have several in process at the same time; so the average time/drive is much lower. Here's an example of one of these: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=586536&is=REG&A=details&Q=#features

Physical destruction of the drive is certainly an option as well => but as the space shuttle example shows, this doesn't actually erase the information on the platters ... so if your data is REALLY sensitive and you're really paranoid about it, you should erase it first. For most of us, physical destruction is fine ... I can't imagine that NSA, the CIA, NASA, etc. is likely to spend millions to recover my personal data :-)
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hgj1357Author Commented:
"cavity magnetron wave generator" sounds like something from Dr. Who! Reverse the polarity, man!!

I was hoping for 'leave it in the oven at 250F for an hour, kind of stuff
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garycaseCommented:
... the best free option is DBAN.   If you use an old PC as your "wiper", you can attach as many drives as it supports and DBAN can wipe them all at once (up to 100).    Just connect all the drives; boot to DBAN; and start the wipe.
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dbruntonCommented:
Disassemble.  Remove platter.  Gas axe on platter.  Nice and simple.  Save the hard disk magnets for other uses.
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EirmanCommented:
Sulphuric acic ?
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Rob HutchinsonDesktop SupportCommented:
Actually, the best, is to take them to the nearest volcano and just toss them in. Not only will it melt the drives, but it will also guarantee that no one will try and retrieve them.
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hgj1357Author Commented:
Time to close this!!
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garycaseCommented:
Apparently you either live close to a live volcano, or weren't looking for serious answers :-)
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_Commented:
: D
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Rob HutchinsonDesktop SupportCommented:
Actually, the volcano melt is a pretty hot idea...not to mention cheap. Spending money on something going to go up in smoke might make you feel like you were just buring your money.

Anyway, this question has gone up in flames, and and I'll be searching for the next volatile question on EE.
pun intended
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