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
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
I found this video, where the guy does the job using a Mapp gas torch
and it seems to be an effective solution.
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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?
Reply to
Andy Hall
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!
Reply to
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".
Reply to
In article , Andy Hall writes:
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.
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
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.
Reply to
Yes. I place them on a hard surface and hit them several times with a big hammer. Easier, cheaper and quicker than ...
Reply to
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.
Reply to
Andy Hall
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.
Reply to
On 2008-01-01 14:16:57 +0000, (Andrew
So considering brick acid as relatively easily available, do you think that that would do it?
That I didn't know.
Sounds right.
Reply to
Andy Hall
In article , Andy Hall scribeth thus
If their fecking Maxtors they'll self-DISTRUCT given time!..
Otherwise a gas torch will unsolder the chips in seconds:)
Reply to
tony sayer
In message , Andrew Gabriel writes
Hardly counts as an orgasmic experience, though, does it ?
Reply to
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.
Reply to
John Rumm
In message , Andy Hall writes
I'd be tempted to experiment with an (old) microwave oven, turn the lights off for maximum satisfaction
Reply to
I usually take the cover off and bend the platters, which renders the data beyond all reasonable recovery.
While you're in there, it is worth retrieving the neodymium magnets. They make great wall mounted tool holders.
I've used MAPP for brazing, and it is quite a lot hotter than propane.
Reply to
Whereabouts are the magnets located, or is that obvious once I get the cover off and start moving a screwdriver around?
Reply to
Andy Hall
They are part of the head scanning mechanism, and are located at one end of the drive. There are 2 kidney shaped magnets about 35-40mm wide facing each other, with a coil between them. You can't miss them. Be careful, they snap!
Reply to

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