If you google How to Destroy a Hard drive, you will encounter a number of ways from setting it to fire or demagnetizing it to How to technically destroy it. But if I were to answer that, the best way is to throw it in the pond in the vicinity of your house and let it sit there but to be honest throwing it in the pond will not destroy the platters present in the hard drive and platter is the space where the data is stored. So, before coming to any decision let’s know more about a hard drive and then decide what could be the best way to destroy a hard drive.
Hard drives are the central stations of the computers. They have everything you store in your PCs or Laptops. They store all your photos, documents, music, software, files and anything that you could think of storing in your computers. Nowadays, laptops have built-in hard drives with the storage space between 250GB to 1TB. To get a better understanding of hard drives, the first concept that we need to grasp on the types of hard drives. But let’s know conceptually, the types of hard drives.
There are three types of hard drives:
SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment): They first came to existence in 2003 and were able to store the data of Desktop, computers, servers and PCs or laptops.
SSD (Solid State Drive): It is a type of non-volatile hard drive and it stores its data in the space called flash memory.
NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express): They are only be accessed on PCs because they are Desktop PCs compatible.
Basically, it depends from user to user and also for what purpose the hard drive is required, and accordingly, a user can get the particular hard drive installed in their PCs.
Hard drive working depends solely on the concept of magnetism. To understand how magnetism is part of the process of storing data in hard drives. It’s simple whenever we magnetize a metal, it does not lose its magnetic properties until it is demagnetized. Similarly, when we store the data in the magnetic platter of the disc it remains there and can be accessed anytime, even if the power is switched off like there is no relation of data present in the disc and the electrical connection. An electrical connection is only required to store data and as soon as data is stockpiled, there is no use of electrical connection while accessing it.
A circular magnetized plate called platter is used, a read & write hand, Electronic circuit to create connections between the hard drive and circuit board, the small pivot is used to make read & write hand workable, few pliable connectors are used to form a connection between the disc, circuit board and read-write hand.
Whenever a person stores any document or file, it is then written on the magnetized disc with the help of oscillating read-write hand in form of 0’s and 1’s between the North Pole and South Pole in minute scopes. And whenever we want to access the data stored, this same oscillating read-write hand moves back to that minute scope to read back the data to us.
Hard drives are important because without them you cannot store the data on your computers or laptops. Hard drives are the storage units of the computer as discussed earlier. So, in order to play games on your computer or download any image or video or access any software or apps, you need to have some space for their storage, this is where hard drives come into play. Computers become useless if they do not have hard drives that’s why they are important.
It mainly depends on the type of computer or laptop you are using but mainly hard drives are located in the PSU (Power supply unit) in the drive bay and are attached to the motherboard of the computer. In laptops, they can be found either at the bottom or on the side. One could also use the external hard drive depending on the requirement of the user.
It’s the well-known method that to get your data not to be traced by any traducers, you could just simply detach the hard drive from your computer and destroy it in whatever way you like. For this process, you need to be aware of the model of your computer and then you need to find where the hard drive is located and further you need to use a screwdriver of the appropriate size to open up the computer’s hard disc case and then proceed on and opening up the few more screws, and as soon as you see the circular disc, you could rip off the read-write hand or remove the circular disc and demagnetize it or lacerate it a little, whatever pleases you do that.
There are quite a few programs or software available in the market for free as well as paid versions of those programs. This approach keeps the disc reusable and just wipes off the data present in the magnetic disc of the hard drives. There are a few hard drive wipe programs available in the market such as DBAN, PCDiskEraser, Diskwipe, CCleaner, etc. some of them are free and some of them are to be purchased.
Well, yet another method could be considered a handful, that is smashing the platters of the disc with the hammer and the nail.
Well, the only thing that is to be kept in mind while destroying the hard drive, our primary focus is to destroy the platters because it is where all your data is present.
If I were to answer the best option to destroy a hard drive, I would recommend using the wiping programs and making it reusable, because every other method could be in one way or another harmful to the environment.