You wouldn’t think of throwing a credit card away without first wielding a pair a scissors and cutting it up into pieces; it doesn’t take much for a thief to steal your identity and ruin your credit. Now think about what a less-than-scrupulous person could do if they had access to your computer’s hard drive. Private and personal information – emails, documents, photos – could be obtained; this would be, at the very least, embarrassing, and could potentially have devastating results for you and your family, both financially and otherwise. Hard drive destruction is the only way to guarantee that this won’t happen. If you would like to learn more, the Shred-it website is a helpful source for information.

But before you go into full Terminator mode, it’s important to make sure that the information on the hard drive is obliterated for all eternity. How can you do this?

First, Wipe It Clean

Before you start any physical destruction, use the functions on the computer to wipe the hard drive clean. Delete, delete, delete. There is usually a command that allows you to restore the computer to the original factory settings, essentially deleting everything you’ve done since you took it out of the box. Be sure to save any needed information to another computer or storage device first.

Do a Little Surgery

Like a doctor performing an appendectomy, you’ll need to take the computer apart and remove the hard drive. Open the hard drive casing. Inside you’ll see what you’re after: a round, mirror-like platter (there may be more than one). This is the thing that contains more about you than you want anyone to know, and the thing you need to turn into jelly. Now comes the fun part.

Destroy the Hard Drive

Here are a few methods which will pretty much guarantee that the hard drive will never surrender any of its secrets:

Use a hammer. Find a surface that can take a beating – the sidewalk or street could work – put it down, and take out your stress and anxiety on that poor little disc. Have no compassion. The platters are made out of metal, glass or ceramic, so take precautions to protect your eyes from flying pieces.

Burn it. You’ll need a pretty hot fire (or blow torch) and good ventilation – the fumes can be noxious – but melting it into a puddle of goo will pretty much guarantee that it won’t be good for anything except a curiosity-arousing paperweight.

Use your power tools. If the hammer method doesn’t sound very entertaining, ratchet up the fun factor by using power tools. An angle grinder can be used to cut it into tiny pieces (be careful, the sparks will make it look like New Year’s Eve), or you can drill holes in it until it looks like Swiss cheese.

Other methods can be used that may be more creative or dangerous, such as melting it with acid, scouring it with a sandblaster or shooting it with a gun. The point is, you must destroy the platter itself. Have no compassion on that shiny little disc. Take matters into your own hands, and control both your past and future. If you would like to learn more, the Shred-it website is a helpful source for information.

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