Storage

Video: Crusher destroys hard drives in seconds

It might not match a sledgehammer's fun-factor, but the PD-8400 portable crusher can mangle, mutilate, and destroy a hard drive in mere seconds.

A few weeks back, I needed to destroy one of my personal hard drives. The drive had failed, and being paranoid about data security, I didn't want to ship the unit off to the local computer recycler without first rendering the drive unusable. So, I broke out the screwdrivers, Channellock pliers, and a hammer. After ten minutes of destruction and at least one minor flesh wound, the drive's platters were sufficiently mangled to prevent them from being spun again.

Although satisfying in "let's get medieval" sort of way, my demolition process just isn't scalable. Organizations, with dozens or even hundreds of drives to decommission, could spend weeks manually destroying old drives. Thankfully, hard drive crushers, like the PD-8400 shown in this video, can destroy old drives in seconds. According to Data Devices International, the manufacturer, the PD-8400 "is designed to physically destroy hard drives in order to prevent persons from being able to spin the hard drive up to retrieve data." The company even offers an optional version of the PD-8400 that they claim "will destroy the hard drive in under 15 seconds."

The PD-8400 is $ $8,950.00, but the price climbs to just over $12,500 when you add a 3-year warranty, a shipping/carrying case, and shipping charges (sales tax will add even more). If the PD-8400 out of your price range, the company offers the MHDD Manual & Motorized Hard Drive Destroyer for $4,125. Of course, a sledge hammer and safety glass will set you back about $50.

If you want to erase the drive's data in under 10 seconds, a degaussing device can do the trick.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

16 comments
Aaron A Baker
Aaron A Baker

What an incredibly selfish, stupid and useless way of discarding a perfectly good Hard Drive. Oh, it may be that it's no longer good to you, but what of all the poor people out there who's chances of getting such hard Drives are rendered Nil by their measly little Welfare of Medical Pension Cheque.?? I submit that it would be much kinder to simply wipe them out, "We still remember how to do that don't we??" and then give them to some local organization dedicated to the advancement of the Poor. This would be far more visionary than this Toy called Crusher and makes absolutely sure that no one benefits from the use of a possibly good hard Drive. Ridiculous and not very generous or kind is it? Seems to me that we have a "Duty" to help those who are worse off than we are. "Suffer thy Neighbors' Pain? " Maybe it's time we started, yes?. Thank you Regards Aaron

michael1r
michael1r

Seems a sledge hammer would be quicker and a lot less expensive..lol

read
read

Most can crushers would likely have a hard time and would wear out quickly. However, a log splitter would do it easily. Canadian Tire sells 4 tons of crushing power (Yardworks brand) for CDN $300 and 6 tons for $600. Both models are electric (screw type). The design is the same as for most can crushers (screw driven with an electric motor) but they're just way more powerful. The mechanism is extremely simple so there is little that can go wrong with it.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Every component in the computer has a memory address or memory address range.This range is probably a Government mandated standard.So the firmware in your hard drive has a virus in it and it will not work at all.The scan is run from the BIOS.Panda would have to scan every memory address from your computer's BIOS without accessing an OS on the drive.The BIOS program in the BIOS chip probably has this kind of virus scanning and it should work at boot up.

Hangtown Man
Hangtown Man

Too Slow, Too high of a price. Very Lame Product. A Harbor Fright electric log splitter would do the same thing. or a 5# mini Sledge.

rene
rene

Wat a waste of effort designing, producing, marketing, buying and using such a thing. Announched as "... destroying drives within second .." it does still take 75 seconds. By that time I have selected my largest drill, put it into my stationary drill machine and let it drill trought the housing, platters, etc.: nobody can ever get to the data. Simple and easy.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Wasnt there another article on HDD destruction recently?? Hmmm, maybe a few weeks between similar articles would give more responses :D 75 seconds -- per drive??? what a waste! hammer/screwdriver takes about 10 seconds per drive and shatters the platters with ease.

trackpads
trackpads

Even the military allows old drives to be reused. If wecrush them all then who will have any left in order to turn into clocks on ebay? :)

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In IT Dojo blog, I recently featured a video of Data Devices International's PD-8400 crushing a hard drive in about 75 seconds. Original Post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=114 Crushing is one method of hard drive destruction, but so is degaussing. What's your favorite method? Which method do you think is most practical for an large enterprise?

BrewBaker
BrewBaker

I just don't have room for a log splitter in my server closet/cube thingy.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

if a can crusher (for soda and canned goods) would work, with a few small mods?? Just enough to puncture where the platters would be to destroy them :D

dpolak
dpolak

unless the machine was not "for official use only" or lower classification, the hd must be either erased with a procedure that takes hours, or hit 1-2 times with a sledge hammer. This is usually done by a unit in charge of disposing the old computers, so a lot of time its done by the pallet, and usually they are broken computers. thats why you can find tons of surplus laptops and computers on govliquidation.com - without hard drives.

butkus
butkus

Go get a brick axe. It has a point on one end to remove concrete on old bricks or to crack them. Four second later, you'll have a dead HD. Plus just think of the enjoyment of DIY ! Safety Glasses a plus. Remember I didn't say only ONE strike to the HD.

QnA
QnA

http://www.hdd-shredder.com/index_en.php It's a mobile shredder which can shred your disks on site or larger companies could just buy the machine. Quite a bit better than just crushing it i think. Didn't some company just restored data on a badly damaged HDD for NASA of the crashed space shuttle?

Nkent
Nkent

Actually, I just paid a guy with some kind of hydraulic jack to do some crushing for me. Only costs $15 per drive, and he took all the other components (monitor, keyboard, etc) for recycling at the same time. He gave me a discount because the drives were already out of the computers (no surgery required). He used some kind of jack, but it said right on it that it was hydraulic. He put the drive in, then used a lever to bring the plate with spikes down on it(pumping action on the lever), then pressed a button and the jack lifted and showed you the hard drive was mangled. He takes them all for recycling, but crushes the hard drive while you wait. He had his set up in a little portable trailer that he takes around for community events. I'd imagine his little set up cost less than that $8,500-$12,500 since most of it looked "used". I was happy to haul my stuff to him instead of sending to my local landfill.

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