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How do you destroy hard drive data before recycling? - January - Forums - CNET

Thank you for being a valued part of the CNET community. As of December 1, , the forums are in read-only format. We are grateful for the participation and advice you have provided to one another over the years. I have a half dozen old hard drives that have accumulated over the years, the kind that were used in desktop tower computers. I can't access and view the contents easily. I know there's nothing on them I need, but I'm concerned there may be something sensitive on them.

How can I destroy them so they can't be accessed if I take them to the recycle center? Thanks in advance. We put them into a storage safe. Once a year we have a BBQ for the security team, and then let them loose with the hammers! Good team fun. Btw if they were classed sensitive we have a de-gaussing tool we use when we collect them. We could junk them then but it wouldn't be so much fun. Best Buy and others sell Insignias' external cases that you can slip your old drives in.

There is a connect at the bottom of the case and you press down on the drive and it plugs in. It comes with a top cover with two screws and a USB cable that plugs into your new computer. I have three old drives that still work with these cases. You buy the case and take it home and install the drive yourself. Up to you to decide what to do with the info you have on the drive.

Best Buy usually never sees the drive, unless you pay the geek squad to put the drive in it for you. You can tell them whether to erase it before giving it back to you. If Best Buy does it for you, that may be the best way to deal with old drives. Does anyone know what BB charges to do that? While BestBuy like any retailer tries to ensure their staff are honest, however as we all know that is not foolproof, I would never turn in a drive with data on it to any store.

It is very easy to wipe a disc drive so that data can not be retrieved. There are many programs that will do it. I use Disc Erase Pro. I connect the disc drive as a secondary drive and run the erase program from the primary drive. There is a wipe standard developed by the Military called DoD It involves writing 0's and 1's over the drive several times.

If you wipe to this level, it is impossible to retrieve any prior information. You can then reuse the disc drive safely. Physically destroying disc drives is just stupid. I agree it's a bad idea to use media destruction I want to avoid calling it that word.

If the drive is dead, then we can't avoid destruction. It is far better in many ways to erase working good drives. For some they don't care but re-use is a great thing. I'd collected drives over time that we erase and they sit waiting for re-use. I'm not the only one that does pro-bono work out there so spare parts make this possible.

Then we have the environment angle. Most folk get that. Dafydd's suggestion is certainly the most thorough. Or, just smash the circuit board with a hammer.

But, it's likely not worth worrying about, unless you're someone of note. There are a vast number of used drives, and the vast majority don't have any useful information. It's just not worth anyone's time to go through them. Especially if you damage them. Nobody is going to fix a random damaged drive on the off chance there's something they can use. That includes anyone who does online banking or has a retirement account that is accessed by online without two-factor authentication.

If someone stored passwords in their browser for their bank No need to be "someone of note". Where is someone likely to find an abandoned hard drive? Thumb drives in a parking lot, sure. Some have used those to infect computers, when people plug them in out of curiosity. I don't think Windows automagically autoruns drives, anymore, so that's less common.

So, the main way to come across an abandoned hard drive is at a recycling center. Where the shear mass of drives makes it impractical to check each drive, or even a random sampling.

Sure, that's within the realm of possibility. But, for the majority of people, a comfortably low likelihood. And, again, smashing the electronics with a hammer. Or, throwing it hard onto the sidewalk. Or, drilling even a single hole, makes it even less likely. Unless they have some reason to think it's worth a great deal of time an effort. You can find one in almost ANY used computer that you buy at a swap meet, Craig's list, or even refurbished.

Don't count on someone wiping the HDD in the computer. If it was from a compny, I'd look at it a lot harder and I'm not a criminal. Here's an example. At work, I had to send over , social security numbers to the four main cell network companies for analysis as to what information they could provide on every one of them yes, legal, but that isn't the point. Do you think that would be secure? If you knew how the Internet works, the answer would be "no way".

But each of the other companies had their own requirements. At the time, one-way encryption was used on the SSNs and then the entire file was encrypted with bit encryption and a pass phrse of over characters including spaces, special characters, upper case, lower case But the question was: was this "over-kill"?

Not if those SSNs could be hacked and criminally used. The point being that we don't know what the OP is asking about. Is it a regular PC that never did online banking? Or is it for a company that has governed data like credit card transactions or medical records? We don't know. So, we don't know the true meaning of what you said in the term, "less likely". I have not gone into this since my fingerprint reader was recognized out of the box Ubuntu Community Ask!

Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Fingerprint reader in HP dv7 Ask Question. Asked 7 years, 9 months ago. Active 7 years, 7 months ago. Viewed 3k times. Active Oldest Votes. Thanks, this will help me find my direction. So I suppose the answer is that there isn't really a solution at the moment.

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How do you destroy hard drive data before recycling? Your Answer

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