4 Common Ways to do Away with Hard Disk Drives Hard drives are sometimes destroyed to make the data stored unreadable. There are good and bad ways to destroy hard disks. Common methods of hard disk drive destruction include degaussing, shredding, disintegration, and mangling or crushing. Degaussing This term is commonly mentioned during the process of data wiping. It clears data from drives by passing the drives in electromagnetic pulses or magnetic fields in a shut chamber. While degaussing can be an effective method, it isn’t always effective as demagnetization may not get to every part or platter. Thus, a two-step process of destruction 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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Shredding
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Just like a paper shredder that tears paper into shreds, a hard disk shredder has powerful blades that rip hard disks apart, such that it’s nearly impossible to piece the tiny 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 not suitable for an office setting. Disintegration Used by organizations that handle highly confidential information, disintegrators have a rotary knife and conveyor belt that helps rip hard disks into tiny unrecognizable pieces that are impossible to join back together. While disintegrators are very effective, they’re also heavy and bulky, and need special reliable AC energy supply to run. They also can require ventilation outside the building, which will more than likely be controlled by local, state or federal authorities. Similar to a shredder, a disintegrator is definitely not suitable for an office setting. Mangling/crushing 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/manglers are available either as manually or electrically-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 crushers may load 1-2 disks at a time, based on your company’s needs and don’t require much training to operate. On the other hand, electrically-powered crushers can be more costly and may need less physical interaction and a bit of maintenance. Both varieties are completely enclosed in a casing and have chambers that allow safe use. There are also small sizes that can be operated on a desktop.

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