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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 proper and wrong ways to destroy hard disk drives. Common methods of hard disk drive destruction include degaussing, shredding, disintegration, and mangling or crushing.


This term is often mentioned in data wiping. It wipes away data by passing a hard disk drive through electromagnetic pulses or magnetic fields in a closed chamber. While degaussing can be an effective method, it isn’t always effective as demagnetization may not get to every part or platter. 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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Like paper shredders in the office that rip paper into shreds, a hard drive shredder has strong blades that rip hard drives into tiny shreds that it’s virtually impossible to piece the shreds back together. While a hard disk shredder can destroy various drive types and sizes, from a few thousand to one at a go, it’s typically bulky, heavy and normally requires a reliable 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 unsuitable for office environments.


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.


This technique is thought to be one of the most economical for small to mid-size organizations that have no resources to lease or buy costly shredding or degaussing equipment.

Manglers or crushers destroy hard drives by applying massive pressure on them to mangle the platter and crush the chassis, making the hard drive practically unreadable. Crushers or manglers are sold either as hand or electric-powered.

Manually-powered devices have a hydraulic-run handle that’s used to run a strong steel plate that squashes the chassis and drive. 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.

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