Destroy a hard drive

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Destroy a hard drive
Destroy a hard drive

Do you have a hard drive with sensitive information that no longer works? Want to make sure no one ever sees the content? After you have erased your hard drive, it is wise to choose one of the options below to keep your data out of the hands of others. It doesn't matter if it's porn or stolen information from security services, the methods below will keep your data safe.


Method 1 of 10: Clearing the data and removing the hard drive

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Step 1. Back up your data

It's easy to forget what music and photos you had stored on your hard drive, especially if you're now worried about more sensitive data you want to get rid of. That's why it's a good idea to make a good backup of everything on the drive, because after following the steps in this article, there is no going back.

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Step 2. Erase the drive

Always erase all data on the drive before shredding the drive. If all goes well, the data cannot be recovered after destruction of the drive, but of course there is no guarantee (especially if the government does everything it can to find out your secrets). Erasing and destroying your disk gives you a little more peace of mind.

Let's be realistic for a moment: by properly wiping the drive, your problem is most likely already solved. Only someone with very hefty resources at their disposal will be able to recover the data, and even for that there isn't much evidence

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Step 3. Open the computer case

Open the case and locate the hard drive. Depending on your computer, you can find hard drives in different places; sometimes they are in a metal formwork. Search online for the details of your computer type to find out its location.

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Step 4. Open the hard drive

Open the hard drive case. You will probably need to remove some small screws here. You may need to cut some tape. The screws are often hidden under labels, so look under that too.

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Step 5. Remove the magnets

Remove the arm and magnets to get to the plate (your actual target). You will also have to remove some screws for this, but it is not complicated. Remove the magnets carefully as they are very powerful.

  • You will struggle to get such a magnet off a refrigerator. You can even break your fingers through it. And what you should definitely not do is eat the magnets, for whatever reason. Do not let your pet or small children come near it.

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Step 6. Remove the plate

This is the thing that looks like a mirror. You will probably have to unscrew the round center piece first to be able to remove the plate. This record (or disk) is the thing that has your sensitive information on it. So this is the thing that you will have to destroy. Sometimes there is more than one plate, so keep that in mind.

Method 2 of 10: Hammering the hard drive

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Step 1. Use a hammer

The hammer method is fast and direct. Place the record on a blow-resistant surface in an area that you can easily clean up, put on safety glasses and gloves, and hammer away. Let your aggression run wild.

  • Make sure that no one else is present where you are doing this. You could injure someone with flying particles, and they could start to worry about your mental state and maybe have you committed.
  • Some plates are made of metal, others are made of glass and ceramic. Glass and ceramics will shatter with this method. Metal will warp, making it difficult to repair, but if you're still concerned, you can continue with one of the methods below.
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Step 2. Discard what's left of the disc

Once the plate has been smashed into pieces, you can sweep everything up neatly and throw it in the trash. If you're really paranoid, consider dividing the remains into different heaps and throwing these parts away in different places.

Method 3 of 10: Burning your hard drive

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Step 1. Burn your disc

Heat alone usually isn't enough to destroy your data, but if you heat the plates until you've created molten mounds of grime, you'll probably be safe. Whatever burning method you choose, always make sure you do it in a location with adequate ventilation, because the fumes released when a hard drive melts can be life-threatening.

  • Use a normal fire. You can use a fireplace or light a fire outside (the latter option is preferred); Chances are you can get the fire hot enough to melt your hard drive. Throw the plate on top of the fire and let it sit for a while, as it may take a while.
  • Use a gas burner. Protect your head and body, keep the plates at some distance with a pair of tongs that are heat resistant and watch the plates melt. Do this in a place with a floor that can withstand heat.
  • Use thermite. If you're more of the adventurous type, you can fill a big barrel with sand, place the plates on the sand and light thermite above the plates. This creates a chemical reaction that releases a lot of heat and a small explosion, so always watch out. Never do this indoors, in a forest or with small children around. And if we're honest: don't do this with yourself around.
  • Use sugar and saltpeter. Mix sugar and saltpetre in a soda can and set the can on the plate in a bucket of sand. Actually, this is a small bomb, so be very careful when setting off and think carefully about where you can stand when it goes off.

Method 4 of 10: Shooting the hard drive

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Step 1. Shoot the disc

Take the disc to a shooting range and use it as a target.

Method 5 of 10: Editing the drive with a magnet

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Step 1. Use a giant magnet

It's a myth that you can erase a hard drive by holding a normal magnet near a computer. If you want to destroy your data with a magnet, you need a very large magnet.

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Step 2. Buy a powerful industrial magnet

In principle you should be able to delete all data with this. And who wouldn't want to be the proud owner of a super-powerful magnet? You can probably come up with some more uses for it.

You can also take your hard drive to a junkyard, or some other place where they use cranes with giant magnets to move cars and other metal junk. The moment your disk hits the magnet, you know for sure that the data has been erased for good. However, it is not the most reliable method, as drives are protected against magnetism. If you want to be sure of your case, you'd better use another, more destructive method

Method 6 of 10: Compress the hard drive

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Step 1. This method is easy

Take the disc to a press and crush the disc. It only takes a few seconds and the result is amazing.

Method 7 of 10: Melt the hard drive

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Step 1. Use acid

Immerse the disc in battery acid or similar strong acid. You should see the disk dissolve. Dispose of the acid at the municipal waste point (the well on the street is not suitable for this, just so you know).

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Step 2. Melt the disc in a microwave

The microwave radiation alone is not strong enough to erase the data, so don't think a second in the microwave is enough. But if you heat the disk in the microwave until it is completely melted, the data will never be recovered.

To do this, buy an old microwave at the thrift store, preferably one that opens the door with the push of a button. Put the microwave somewhere outside with a long extension cord and set it for 10 minutes. Stand at a safe distance (glass plates can shatter under these conditions, which can be life threatening). Open the microwave from a safe distance with a broomstick or other long stick and also use the stick to further crush the disc if it is not completely melted

Method 8 of 10: Editing the hard drive with tools

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Step 1. Use a sandblaster

Rent a sandblasting machine from a rental company, put the plate on the street and start sandblasting! Edit the plate until the mirror layer is gone, then you know for sure that your data is gone. You also look very cool and now that you have the machine you can use it for more things.

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Step 2. Use an angle grinder

Rent an angle grinder if you don't have one yourself, secure the plate securely on a workbench and grind the disc in half. You will probably have to sharpen several times as the pieces will fly all over the place. It will be quite a mess.

Always use gloves and safety glasses when sharpening. Search online for grinder injuries. You wish you had never seen it

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Step 3. Use a drill

This is a common way, but still a lot of fun. Take a powerful drill and drill holes in the plate. Make enough holes in different places to erase the data beyond repair. And you can also make art with it. Live your life. A plate of a hard disk with holes looks very nice in a Christmas tree.

Method 9 of 10: Shred the hard drive

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Step 1. Use an industrial shredder

Have you ever seen an industrial shredder? Do a search online to see if you can find one near you, ask what it costs to use the shredder, and throw in your hard drive. You may also have some other items that you would like to shred. Again: live it up!

Method 10 of 10: Using Electrolysis to Solve the Hard Drive

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Step 1. Get a plastic container big enough to submerge the hard drive in water

Throw in a pack of baking soda. Usage no table salt, because then the highly toxic gas dichlor is created.

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Step 2. Get a large pencil

Scrape off half of the wood, but leave the graphite intact. This will be your cathode (-) electrode. Also take two thick insulated pieces of wire.

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Step 3. Get a battery charger

Usage never a car battery, these are too powerful. Put one wire between the hard drive plate and the positive terminal and put the other wire between the graphite and the negative terminal.

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Step 4. Completely submerge the hard drive

Turn on the battery charger. The water begins to bubble and oxygen and hydrogen are released. Ensure good ventilation!

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Step 5. After 24 hours, the reflective surface of the plate has disappeared (oxidized)

It is dissolved into metal powder and salt water.


  • It is impossible to guarantee that a particular method will erase your data for good. Technology is changing rapidly and you never know how much money and resources will be made available to recover your stolen information. So all you can do is try your best and hope your last name isn't Snowden or Assange.
  • Destroying a hard drive is done at your own risk. But think about the resources used. Explosives in your shed are just as suspicious as that sensitive information on your drive.
  • Do not be dumb. Watch what you do. You cannot text while using the angle grinder. You can't be tipsy and use the angle grinder. You get the idea, be careful.
  • Protect yourself with the above methods. The methods are intended to cause harm; if you don't take precautions you could harm yourself. Use goggles or a full mask, heavy-duty gloves, and cover your limbs. Do everything you can to protect your body.
  • If you are going to perform any of the above methods without precautions, call a psychiatrist. Because then things really aren't going well for you.

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