How NOT to Destroy a Hard Disk Drive

Techno-thrillers can teach you all about how to destroy the data on a hard drive. Unfortunately, most of the ways you’ll learn are unsafe, ineffective, or both. To get rid of truly sensitive data, you should use equipment that will safely reduce the drive to little fragments. Providing that equipment is what we do at Phiston. Compare that with the advice you get from well-meaning friends or in novels and movies:

  • Delete sensitive files. That’s barely better than doing nothing. The content of the files is still there; it’s just the index in the file system which is gone. It’s hardly any trouble to recover recently deleted files.
  • Format” the drive. The term is a carryover from primitive hard drives which contained sector markers. It doesn’t wipe out data, it just resets information about where the data is. An expert who’s determined to pull information out of the drive will face just a slight delay.
  • Smash it with a hammer. That’s not very safe. Fragments could go flying in your face. It won’t do a very good job, either. The bits are still mostly there, even if the platter is warped and scratched.
  • Run a magnet over it. The typical magnet isn’t nearly strong enough to wipe the data from a drive, even if you run it directly over the exposed platter. A powerful degausser, properly applied, can do a decent job, but don’t count on one from a consumer electronics store. The kind of degausser you need has its risks. Make sure no one with a pacemaker and no valuable magnetic media are anywhere near when you use it.

When you’re getting rid of drives that contain highly sensitive data, don’t get your advice from the movies. The surest way to make a hard drive unreadable is to reduce the platters to a pile of shredded debris. Phiston’s drive shredders let you do this safely and efficiently, so you comply with the strictest security standards. Contact us to find the data destruction solution that works best for your organization.

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