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Hard Disk Drive Destruction: 4 Common Ways to do it Hard disk drives are often destroyed to make the stored information unreadable. There are good and bad ways to destroy hard disks. Common methods of hard disk drive destruction include degaussing, shredding, disintegration, and mangling or crushing. Degaussing This term is commonly mentioned during the process of data wiping. It clears data from drives by passing the drives in electromagnetic pulses or magnetic fields in a shut chamber. While degaussing a hard disk can be effective, it isn’t always a foolproof method as demagnetization may fail to reach every platter or part. So, a two-step destruction procedure 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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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. Although hard disk shredders can destroy many sizes and types of drives from several thousand at a time to just one at a time, they’re usually bulky, heavy and usually need special consistent AC power supply to run. Depending on the type, shredders can destroy electronic organizers , smartphones, PDAs, hard disks, and other storage media. They’re certainly unsuitable for office use. 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 very effective, disintegrators are bulky and heavy as well, and require special consistent AC power supply to run. They also may need ventilation outside, which is highly likely to be controlled by state, local or federal authorities. Similar to shredders, disintegrators are certainly not suitable for office use. 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. Crushers/manglers destroy hard disks by using enormous pressure that mangles the platter and crushes the chassis, rendering the hard disk practically unreadable. Manglers/crushers can be bought either as electrically or manually-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. On the other hand, electrically-powered crushers can be more costly and may need less physical interaction and a bit of maintenance. Both types have chambers that allow safe operation, and come in a completely enclosed casing. There are even small sizes that can suit a desktop.