Asked by: Willodean Hentschel
technology and computing data storage and warehousing

How do I safely dispose of a hard drive?

Last Updated: 9th April, 2020

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How to properly dispose of your hard drives
  1. Encrypt your HDD as soon as you buy it. Always encrypt all information on your hard drive.
  2. Wipe your HDD before you sell it. Additionally, you can wipe your HDD by reformatting it.
  3. Disassemble and destroy your HDD!

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In this regard, can I throw away a hard drive?

Don't Toss Your Hard Drive In the Trash. Destroy It! If you are upgrading to a new computer, don't just toss it in the trash or send it to a recycling facility. The information kept on the hard drive is stored indefinitely, even if the device is inoperable.

Also, will a magnet erase a hard drive? The theory is that if you place a magnet on a mechanical hard drive, it can wipe its data. This is based on the premise that mechanical hard drives have ferromagnetic moving parts and store data using magnetic fields – which could be affected by magnets in the same way that floppy disks can.

can you destroy a hard drive by putting it in water?

Water Damage The simple answer is no. Water might cause a short circuit in the electronics of the hard drive, but it won't erase the data from the platters. Water is easily wiped from the hard drive, leaving the information discoverable.

Does Best Buy destroy hard drives?

There are numerous ways to destroy a hard drive from wiping it to demolishing it. Once the hard drive is removed, your local Best Buy can recycle the unit for you. If you're just donating it, and not planning to get any money for it, just remove the HDD and destroy it.

Related Question Answers

Enoc Averintsev

Professional

Will bleach destroy a hard drive?

No. It may damage the drive to some extent (just like any other liquid would), but it shouldn't do anything to the data stored on the disk itself. Bleach doesn't wipe magnetic patterns, and it doesn't do anything against metal or glass (might damage the heads, maybe).

Abdennassar Vermaat

Explainer

Does removing a hard drive delete everything?

Originally Answered: Will removing hard drive erase everything? You can remove the hard drive but the memory will still be stored on the hard drive. If you delete the data and even delete it in the recycle bin the data is still on the hard drive. This is due to how computers handle memory.

Emmanuela Zimmermann

Explainer

Should I remove hard drive before recycling?

Before donating or recycling your computer, you need to completely wipe or remove the hard drives. By doing so, you will ensure that the data on the hard drives will be completely erased and untraceable by data thieves.

Johnny Quian

Explainer

Will soaking a hard drive in water destroy it?

No. Submerging a hard disk drive into water or any other non-corrosive liquid will do nothing to its platters that would render data recorded on them irretrievable. It will most likely ruin hard drive's logic board (controller and other circuitry on its PCB), but that's not too hard to replace.

Morteza Vilson

Pundit

Does microwaving a hard drive destroy it?

Microwaving a hard drive is not recommended. It will be very bad for the oven. And the platters, which are what you want to heat, will be shielded from the microwaves by the metal casing of the drive. You might destroy other parts of the drive like the circuit boards, but the data on the platters would still be there.

Magdalina Pedrido

Pundit

Does Staples destroy HDD?

Recycle computers, tablets, routers, hard drives, and more for free. Staples will recycle lots of devices, regardless of the brand, condition, or store where you originally purchased them.

Krassimira Eiskirch

Pundit

Are hard drive platters toxic?

Platters have been drilled or cut in a lot of electronics projects, e.g. to make hdd clocks based on the persistence of vision effect. The platters are not toxic and do not even have sharp corners - it is safe to keep them around in the living room. On a side note, the magnets from these hard disks are more dangerous.

Zhihao Gandini

Pundit

Does scratching a hard drive make it unreadable?

Once the platters are scratched to a certain degree this will in turn damaged the read/write heads and will render the drive unreadable. Oftentimes this results in a clicking, scratching, chirping, or screeching sounds.

Nancee Kings

Teacher

How do I destroy my old computer?

How to delete your personal information
  1. Delete and overwrite sensitive files.
  2. Turn on drive encryption.
  3. Deauthorize your computer.
  4. Delete your browsing history.
  5. Uninstall your programs.
  6. Consult your employer about data disposal policies.
  7. Wipe your hard drive.
  8. Or physically damage your hard drive.

Gador Vazhov

Teacher

Will vinegar destroy a hard drive?

Spray degreaser onto the disk platters. Then soak the whole drive in some vinegar overnight. Disk platters store their data on metal oxides, and vinegar eats through metal oxides. Then, when you recycle the drive, take the printed circuit board off the drive.

Dikra Wheeldon

Teacher

What happens if a hard drive gets wet?

When the disks in your hard drive get wet, the heads that read the data stick to the platters. The drying process may leave residue on the platters and heads, causing the hard drive platters to physically degrade. If possible, keep the hard drive wet by storing it in a sealed container.

Kedarnath Tsanava

Reviewer

How do I use old hard drive as external?

How do you do it?
  1. Open the enclosure along the designated line.
  2. Place the internal hard drive inside, if you have the right size it should be obvious how it lines up.
  3. Connect all the necessary cables.
  4. If it's a 3.5” holder it's likely you will need external power (included).

Xianyong Buschbaum

Reviewer

Should I keep my old hard drive?

It is not necessary to keep an old drive. In fact, it's most likely not even worth it. Along with the rest of computer technology, hard drive technology advances very quickly on a daily basis. Anything from two to three years ago are outdated now and considered too slow for newer motherboards and processors.