How to dispose of a hard drive

Mike Davies / Wed, 6 Jul 2022 15:00 GMT
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There are many different types of hard drive nowadays. We have hard drives in our computers, laptops and phones. They can store sensitive information such as your bank account details or login information, as well as personal sentimental things like photos and videos.

Before thinking of how to dispose of a hard drive, you will want to ensure that everything on the hard drive that you may want to keep is backed up and saved. This will prevent you losing anything that you may need or that has sentimental value to you.

Computer hard drive recycling

If possible, it's always best to try and recycle anything you are attempting to get rid of. There are multiple different ways that you can recycle your hard drive. However for safety of your data, if the hard drive was used to store sensitive information, you may need to destroy it. If that is your only option, we have written an explanation towards the bottom of this article explaining the best way to destroy your hard drive.

If you are able to recycle, here are a few things you can do:

computer hard drive recycling

Send Your Hard Drive to the Manufacturer

Most of the large retail manufacturers do provide a recycling option. You should always wipe the hard drive yourself for safety reasons. However, after doing so, you will want to contract the manufacturer to find out their recycling policy.

Here are a few examples:

  • DELL offers recycling and will take your hard drive off your hands.
  • Apple provides recycling and a free shipping label for you to send off your hard drive. They also provide their own free hard drive wiping.
  • IBM also provide recycling however they don't offer hard drive wiping.

Giving the hard drive to a family or friend

If you are trying to get rid of your hard drive because you have upgraded to a new one. Try and ask around your family and friend group, to see if any of them may need a hard drive. This can help lower waste going to land fill while also saving your friend or family some money.

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How to Destroy a Hard Drive

Although you are able to write over your hard drive and wipe all data on it. This will not render it completely unrecoverable. The data-wiping programs (depending on the level of wipe used) will just increase the difficulty and time needed to recover the data. The only way to ensure all data is unrecoverable is to destroy the hard drive itself.

It would be best to note that although this is an option, in favour of environmental friendliness, it would be best to try and find a use for the hard drive rather than destroying it. You can use it along with your new hard drive and have multiple hard drives in your PC. This will increase your overall storage capacity while also saving it from going to landfill.

how to destroy a hard drive

How to Destroy an SSD Hard Drive

The best way of destroying of an SSD hard drive, to ensure that no data is recoverable, is to physically ensure the chip in or on the hard drive is destroyed. The simplest way of doing this is to use a hammer. If the SSD is within a case, it's best to take the case apart and use the hammer on the chips found on the circuit board.

Depending on what you used the hard drive for, personal or business, you would need to check the requirements for data disposal. This may require you to use a high-grade crushing device.

How to Destroy an HDD Hard Drive

An HDD hard drive comprises of a magnetic disc within its casing that is used to store all of the data. In order to destroy the HDD at home to ensure it's no longer recoverable; you need to physically destroy the magnetic disc and chips.

To do this you will need to remove the hard drive from the computer, using a screwdriver to detach the protective casing.

You will see several components attached to a circuit board. Your first step will be to destroy the magnetic disc that would be in plain sight. You can do this by using the screwdriver to scratch all over the hard drive. This will corrupt a large amount of the data and cause the disc to be unreadable. Ensure to be thorough when doing this using a cross over pattern.

After destroying the disc you will want to use a hammer on any other components and breaking the circuit board itself.

These ways should ensure that you are able to dispose of your hard drive safe in the knowledge that no one will be able to retrieve your data.

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