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How to destroy HDD Physically


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#1
akkti

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How do I destroy all the data of an external hard disk drive? The usb ports or something doesnt work and I was wondering I could do do some physical damage to it that will destroy it. I dont mind doing this but it has to be still intact in its form (just the data is gone, is there a way?

This is because the HDD has stopped working and I am able to return it to the shops as I have only bought it for 3 days and it has problems. I want to delete the data (It cannot connect to the PC) because it has personal information such as banking details.


Thank you

Edited by akkti, 12 May 2010 - 09:27 AM.

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#2
Digerati

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You need to make up your mind! If you want to "physically" destroy, I recommend drilling three 1/4 inch holes through the drive and through the platters.

But if you want to destroy only the data to ensure no one can retrieve it, you need to "wipe" the data - which really does not wipe at all, it just overwrites every bit, byte and sector with a bunch of 1s and 0s, ensuring there is no "residual" magnetism from previous saves. But, in order to run wipe on the drive, it needs to be recognized by the computer.

Rather than putting it in an enclosure, I would install it in a computer as a secondary (NOT boot) drive. Then run the wipe program. I prefer Eraser. It uses the highly respected DBAN protocols, but with a GUI interface.

If the drive is not recognized, you have but two choices - trust the drive maker, or drill holes and buy a new drive.
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#3
akkti

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I cannot drill holes as the shop will say i broke it myself. I also cannot access the drive at this point nor can I detach it as it has no screws. I heard magnets can destroy data from a HDD? Is this possible and how does it work?
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#4
Digerati

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I cannot drill holes as the shop will say i broke it myself.

Right - that's why I wanted to make clear the difference about "physically" destroying it.

A very strong magnet would work BUT - the problem there is the drive's housing is designed to protect the data by "shielding" the drive platters from, among other thing, external magnetic fields. The only way past that is to open the drive and expose the platters - but of course, that will void the warranty too.

Are you sure there are no screws? Some cases do snap together, but some also use screws and hide them under the rubber feet.

It looks like you are going to have to trust the shop. If local, I would take it back and explain your concern. They might help you open the case to remove the drive. Have you tried the drive on another computer?
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#5
dsenette

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magnets do a pretty poor job on hard drives. as digerati stated, they're pretty well shielded from most normal magnets.

now if you've got a commercial grade degassing machine on hand, that would do the trick (though, probably void the warranty), as it will completely demagnetize the platters and make them completely useless
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#6
Kemasa

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If you want to return it, then you have limited options. If you open the case, that will void the warranty and you could have issues.

You might just have to trust the company that you send it back to.

This is why I prefer to put the disk in an external case myself. If the USB interface dies, I can move this disk without dealing with warranty issues.
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