Destroying hard drives and contents

I am doing a clearout of some quite old computer gear and am removing the hard drives before chucking it out. Most of the hard drives have had many hours of operation and/or are of low capacity so are not worth re-using.
Therefore the intention is to sanitise them of data before they get chucked as well.
To that end, I have looked at erasure software such Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), which seems to be a defacto for this job. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it seems to require potentially many hours to do the job - perhaps 10 hrs per drive. It appears that although it will handle all the drives visible (so 4 IDE on a standard PC), it does them sequentially, so very protracted, and I have some 30 drives to do.
Therefore physical means seems to appeal.
There is the obvious one of bashing some 100mm nails through the case, but I rather like the idea of fire - I have always been attracted by any excuse for some pyrotechnics.
Thermite would appeal, but I can't be bothered to organise the ingredients and environment to do it, so a blowtorch seems like a good alternative.
I found this video, where the guy does the job using a Mapp gas torch and it seems to be an effective solution.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR6i2CholDQ
He mentions that it's hotter and faster than propane. I already have a propane torch and cylinder so would need to go and buy a Mapp gas handheld one - they seem not to be that expensive.
Has anybody done a disk destruction exercise, and more to the point has anyone used Mapp gas? Is it significantly hotter than propane? What other applications would it have?
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Andy Hall wrote:

If you want the pyrotechnics then go ahead. Being a boring old *art I simply took the covers off mine, stripped down destroyed the disc and kept the magnets, always useful for finding small lost steel screws!
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Broadback wrote:

Toss any stators and rotor assemblies my way. Can be used to make tiny motors..
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I would be pleased to do so.
Which pieces do you mean? The head movement stuff or the motor from the centre?
Send me a mail and we can discuss.
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The Mapp gas looks just like any blow torch.
You should post the disks to yourself via the Royal Mail and label them as fragile. They will arrive "properly destroyed".
Adam
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ARWadworth wrote:

When you are right, you are right LOL
Dave
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We used to drop the platters into acid which dissolved the iron oxide. That was about the fastest way of doing a lot. Not sure if current disks are still suitable for this, but I think they still use iron oxide.
In practice, once you've lost the centering of the platters by releasing them from the spindle, no one without megabucks of resources is going to be able to re-centre the existing tracks such that anything can read them. That was already impossible 20 years ago when track-to-track distances were much larger than they are today.

You only have to go above the Curie point, I think? You can probably do that on a gas hob.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:
<snip>

This is true. But you don't even need to remove the platters; just take the cover off the drive and use a large screwdriver to bend the platters(s) up. - job done.
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The point of the video I would guess was how to destroy it in a satisfying manner. Bet it still doesn't get rid of AOL files.
mark
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On 2008-01-01 14:16:57 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) said:

So considering brick acid as relatively easily available, do you think that that would do it?

That I didn't know.

Sounds right.

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Hardly counts as an orgasmic experience, though, does it ?
--
geoff

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Stick them in the post labelled 'Social Security Data Urgent'?
--
*Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Yes. I place them on a hard surface and hit them several times with a big hammer. Easier, cheaper and quicker than ...

--
"Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain
and presumptuous desire for a second one."
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Well.......
In the end I did go for the Mapp gas approach and spent a happy half hour in the garden with a small brick hearth blasting away.
I didn't realise from the video that the metal actually melts but it certainly does. There are some quite pretty colours as well. Perhaps I could sell the results as art.
Thinking about the responses to this topic and the different ideas, I am wondering whether the chosen methods are a throwback to childhood and the classical elements of earth, water, wind and fire.
When I was a kid, I used to enjoy playing with water and liked to watch bonfires. I wasn't that interested in digging or flying kites.
Water wasn't really going to work for the destruction exercise, unless one stretches a point and considers acid.
Interacting with earth in the broadest sense often involves hitting it in some way, so I wonder whether those who suggested submitting the platters to a bashing liked digging etc. as kids.
Equally, I could be talking bollocks, but trick cyclists get paid a lot for this type of thing.
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thus

If their fecking Maxtors they'll self-DISTRUCT given time!..
Otherwise a gas torch will unsolder the chips in seconds:)
--
Tony Sayer



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Andy Hall wrote:

Not quite as satisfying, but a firm wallop with a club hammer (that deforms the top of the drive and all the platters) will put the data well beyond reach of all but the most determined data recovery specialists.
--
Cheers,

John.

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specialists.
That's what I was going to suggest, not as much fun as blowing then up but just as effective. Ive got a 50ton press, which flattens them to about 4mm so they are FUBAR.
-
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Is that a form of data compression?
--
*Do they ever shut up on your planet?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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John Rumm wrote:

My mum used to work as a secretary for the Local Education Authority. Apparently the occasional session of hard drive bashing in the car park came under "other duties as assigned" - there was a hammer in the office for the purpose.
Pete
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I'd be tempted to experiment with an (old) microwave oven, turn the lights off for maximum satisfaction
--
Keith

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