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.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
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 support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.