Render DVDs Unusable?

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I have a number of DVDs containing computer backup information of a sensitive nature. I plan to throw away the older ones, but first I want to render the data on them irretrievable. Can anyone here recommend a quick, cheap, easy way to do that? I've heard that drilling 2 or 3 1/4" holes in them does the trick, but that is just a rumor to me. What about placing them, one at a time, in a vice, half clamped tight and the other half then struck hard with a hammer - hoping to break it in half?
Suggestions and experience reports appreciated.
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CWLee
Former slayer of dragons; practice now
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CWLee wrote:

Hi, Shredding is easy. Or cut it into couple pieces with scissors.
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My new shredder handles CDs, but before that I used a sharpie to scribble all over the CD. Remember that CDs aren't like old records, they are recorded from the inside out, so be sure to mark over the center area of the CD. scratching with a nail of knife would add an extra level of security..
With my new shredder, I still scribble on them before shredding - paranoid maybe, but rather be sure I don't lose my personal data!
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Mark wrote:

Hu, If that is the method, then coarse sand paper or memery stone is easier.
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True! But I generally keep those in my workshop and not my computer room! Bottom line - any way you can destroy the surface of the CD or DVD will render it useless.
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Just remember to do the label side. That's where the data lives.
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It lives under a couple layers of protection also. I don't think scribblign on it does a thing.
Harry K
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that is true for a CD, but for DVDs the data lives inside between the two layers of plastic...
Mark
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Yes, the recording is written beneath the surface. Damaging the surface (with a sharpie or sandpaper) does not destroy the data; it just makes it hard/impossible to read it. However, in theory, at least, the surface could be reground and polished such that data recovery would be possible.
So, I scratch them up with a utility knife -- deeply enough to reach the recording surface, and then cut 'em up with snips.
For a larger quantity, I'd probably melt them down using a camping stove, BBQ or blow torch. I would do this outdoors to avoid the risk of fumes etc.
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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Alcohol cleans sharpie off very easily. My shredder turns CDs into tiny bright confetti. I'd bet against NSA getting data off it. -- Doug
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On Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:41:58 -0600, Douglas Johnson

Heck my shredder has slot just for disk media - even cross-cuts :-))
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Douglas Johnson wrote:

I'd bet *on* the NSA or other similarly equipped groups being able to get data off of your CD/DVD confetti. Granted the data at the cut points is unlikely to be recoverable, but given the data density of the media, each piece of confetti would probably yield a sizable amount of data in their hands. If you need true security, you need to totally destroy the data layer, probably via chemical treatment of the confetti bits, or incineration of the remains.
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wrote:

Agree. First they need the "confetti".
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My crosscut shredder's output gets mixed into 2 bags, and some of it gets thrown in with the kitchen garbage each week. You'd have to not only be willing to paw through our raw chicken guts, but do so for several weeks in a row to get most of a given document or disc. If you're that interested, have at it, I say...
Josh
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Pete C. wrote:

Sandblasting or grinding of the data side works well. Once the layer with the pits is dust, ain't nothing gonna put it back together.
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aemeijers wrote:

Yes, I believe that's pretty much what they do with hard drive platters that contain classified data - Grind the mag layer off then shred the substrate.
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Pete C. wrote:

Nah- they degauss the whole thing with an electromagnet that would make a scrap yard jealous, and then throw the whole damn thing in a chipper mill. No, I'm not joking. Yes, I do work for them.
-- aem sends...
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wrote:

No marker or shredder required, just put thumb on one edge, fingers on the other and squeeze. It will bend like a taco, and then "explode" into a hundred shards., and split into 2 separate layers with the "aluminum foil" layer flying in the wind.
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aemeijers wrote:

I expect it varies with the classification level of the data. The grind and shred routine is / was indeed used on some HDD media that contained classified data.
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CWLee wrote:

I wrap CD's in heavy duty foil, put in oven for about 15 min at 425. Take em out, mash up the mess and put in garbage when cool. None have burned or given off smoke :o)
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