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Erasing a Hard drive

By netwolf ·
I work in the medical industry and due to HIPAA standards, all data on a hard drive must be erased according to government standards. This is fine when the HD can spin. Does anyone have any advice in erasing a HD that can not start? A magnet still leaves a footprint so that is not an option.

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by mrafrohead In reply to Erasing a Hard drive

Pull out the platters and physically destroy them.

As far as I know for a HD that won't work, that's the only way. Unless you have a HD Shredder...

Mrafrohead

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Super Magnet?

by Sullyman In reply to

Would a commercial electro-magnet eraser not work as well? We used to have one in one of the secure gov't offices I once worked in.

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Hit it with a hammer?

by clearsmashdrop In reply to Super Magnet?

Is it possible to physcially smash it up? Then throw it away? I heard of one similar case for a city Police Dept. They took the drive down to the range, and asked a cop to put a bullet through it. :-) Do not know if that is true or urban legend.

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45 caliber erasing

by generalist In reply to Hit it with a hammer?

I seem to recall a magazine article or web site where somebody actually used various types of guns on computer hardware. I don't recall the location, but the photographs were fairly interesting.

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hmmm...that could be fun

by TomSal In reply to 45 caliber erasing

I wonder what the old Mossberg 10 gauge, high brass, could do to a HDD?

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Make sure the platters are destroyed

by TheChas In reply to 45 caliber erasing

If you use any physical method to destroy an old hard drive, you MUST make sure that the platters are significantly destroyed.

If even 1/2 of a platter is intact, it would be possible for a determined person to recover some data from the platter.

So, if you use an old drive for target practice, make sure that there are several holes in the platters.

Chas

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Soak it in CocaCola?

by generalist In reply to Make sure the platters ar ...

I seem to recall hearing that CocaCola can completely dissolve a nail in a remarkably short amount of time. If said comment is true, then soaking the remnants of the drive in CocaCola or related carbonated drink might do the trick.

And if you slowly cooked the resulting mess once the carbonation is gone, getting to the surfaces might require scraping off a lot of sticky goo.

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Coke Specific

by TheChas In reply to Soak it in CocaCola?

Coke-A-Cola has been known to be a rust remover also.

It is not the carbonation, but the acids in Coke that cause it to destroy metal.

I suspect that the process is a bit too slow for most hard drive platters, as they are not made from iron.
Chas

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Melt the platters

by TheChas In reply to Erasing a Hard drive

I fully agree with dis-assembling a dead hard drive with any critical data on it.

To assure that any data can not be recovered, you can melt down the platters.

Just take the drive to any local repair shop that has an Acetylene torch, and watchas they melt down the drive for you.
If you don't need to do this often, the shop may even do it for free just for the fun of destroying some hardware.

It's possible that your auto-clave may reach a temperature that would "reset" the magnetic properties of the platters.

Chas

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Coca-Cola Mechanic

by admin In reply to Melt the platters

My Grandfather used to swear that you could pour it down the cylinders of a piece of little used farm equipment that wouldn't turn over, come back later and turn it over, flush it out and start the motor again.

I always prefered Marvel Mystery Oil, especially on the laying it down for a long winter nap side instead of the wait till it don't turn over side.... but then, I didn't keep things running in the Great Depression either (he enjoyed pointing this out)!

It's funny, but indirectly I learned a lot of grass roots mechanical skills from Depression era ideas, although so far I've never tried the unsticking the rings with Coca-Cola trick.

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