Written at home after a few frustrating hours trying to recover from a dual hard-drive failure. Dispatched to silicon.com via a home LAN and optical fibre line.

We approached Christmas like most families – in a state of mild chaos and semi-organised happenings. The shopping was completed online and on the run as business refused to slow down ’til the eve of Christmas.

All my IT had behaved itself all year until the 23rd and 24th December when my son and I had simultaneous back-up drive failures a few hours apart. We both agreed it was no big deal – we have triplicated drives – so let’s fix it after Christmas day when the rest of the family is fully occupied doing other things.

Both dual 250MB drives had different faults, which we diagnosed swiftly. So we tried cannibalising the pair to make one good unit – but without success and we had to resort to purchasing two enclosures to reinstate two of the four. The net result was a pair of dead 250MB drives, one with a mechanical failure and the second with a faulty control circuit.

What to do? Just how do you delete all info before throwing hard drives away? Hmm, by this time we had spent several frustrating hours trying to repair units that cost more than $70 per gigabyte, and all inclination toward sophistication had drained away. The screws and bolts holding the units together resisted all attempts at removal as they seemed to be almost welded in.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are best, and sometimes they are the only option to hand. So down in the garage, data deletion and hard-drive death came in the form of a 5mm cold chisel and a 2kg hammer.

I didn’t enjoy the experience but I could think of no better way of protecting confidential and other information collected over the past few years. We don’t have a furnace, the season for bonfires has gone and no electronic solutions were available. So there we have it – back to the Stone Age – not so much deletion as obliteration!