What is the best way to destroy an old internal hard drive?

Ruth Klaus August 24, 2012

Fortunately, I replaced my hard disk drive before it failed completely. I have the “old” disk and want to destroy it. What is the best way?

  1. Sumaiya
    September 9, 2012 at 8:29 am

    try boiling it..

  2. Tom Rodman
    September 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Have to agree with those who suggested drilling. It's amazingly easy (with must drives, it's like drilling through butter, if you have a metal bit), it takes only a moment, and is completely safe (just beware that you'll get "drive dust," for lack of a better term) everywhere, so do it someplace that's easy to clean that up afterwards.

    With holes in the platters (I usually do four or five), the heads will catch in the holes of the platters and destroy themselves when/if the drive is ever powered-on again.

    Seriously, the whole process takes under a minute, and you don't have to worry about burning-down your neighborhood! :-)

    • Ruth Klaus
      September 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks Tom. I'll need to find someone to do the drilling for me. Oh wait, I have a dentist appoint next week!

  3. rama moorthy
    September 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    cut the hard drive in to half .. then first give acid treatment and then burn it .then go to the middle of pacific ocean . tie the 500 kg of rock with the hard disk pieces and then sink it in the ocean .. safely reach the home . and reply me ..!

    • Ruth Klaus
      September 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Rama and other responders ~

      If I followed all of the suggestions, ie: cutting, pounding, drilling, acid washes, burning, shredding, and/or sinking it in the ocean....
      I'd probably kill myself so there wouldn't be any need to protect my data. Also, I don't think anyone would want to take on MY identity. LOL

      I've appreciated all of the humorous helpful hints.

  4. Ruth Klaus
    August 28, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Thanks everyone.

  5. Jeff Taylor
    August 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I would drill holes in it & then heat it for 15-20 minutes (maybe inside a gas grill on high). That should take card of it.

  6. Ben Mordecai
    August 25, 2012 at 2:28 am

    If the drive is bootable, use Darik's Boot and Nuke.

    If the drive is not bootable, drill a hole in it with a power drill.

  7. Paul Pruitt
    August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I just keep mine indefinitely.

  8. jrasulev
    August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

    1st put you hdd on a strong magnet, 2nd put it into water for a night, 3rd put it into the fridge, 4th boil it, 5th pour acid over it, 6th burn it, 7th shredder it. I hope, if you destroy your hdd in the given order, then you will sleep without thinking that you left smth important on your hdd.

    • Achraf52
      September 4, 2012 at 5:10 am

      There is no magnet strong enough to destroy data on Hard Disk but if it were to be it would be able to pull Iron from your blood, fail .

  9. susendeep dutta
    August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Run DBAN bootable disk which will completely wipe out the data present in it -


  10. Dave Parrack
    August 24, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Wow, some of these responses are a little extreme. Drilling holes through it is probably your best bet.

    • Sebastian Hadinata
      August 24, 2012 at 3:52 am

      I agree.. I think drilling holes is the best way. And burn it afterward. You know, just to be sure :P

  11. Edgar Meixueiro
    August 24, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Burn it

  12. Dalsan
    August 24, 2012 at 3:03 am

    For physical destruction to help keep it from being recoverable, use a drill to drill holes through the entire drive, maybe burn it in a fire, and soak it in acid. Drilling holes alone should be fine in most cases.

  13. Bruce Epper
    August 24, 2012 at 2:50 am

    The best way to completely destroy a hard drive is a white phosphorus hand grenade (if you can get your hands on one). Just find a good open area where you don't care if the surrounding area is heat damaged, put the drive there, put the grenade on top of it, pull the pin and step far away from it. Once it cools, there will just be a small puddle of slag. No possible recovery at all.For other less severe methods, you can use DBAN to wipe the contents of the drive and you can also resort to physical destruction of the device depending on your whim. I generally just wipe them and put them in my reuse pile if they are still functional or disassemble and physically destroy the platters otherwise.

    • Tim Brookes
      August 24, 2012 at 6:19 am

      I absolutely love this answer, Bruce. A phosphorus hand grenade... extreme!

      • Alan Wade
        August 24, 2012 at 6:21 am

        Hahaha, I have to try that method Bruce. - Got a spare granade?

      • Alan Wade
        August 24, 2012 at 6:24 am

        Tie it to the side of the next rocket that NASA is going to launch. The heat generated should melt it but if it dosnt it will be lost in space forever.

    • Achraf52
      September 4, 2012 at 5:08 am

      You should have Nuclear Research on that drive to mark it sensitive enough to be destroyed in Grenade way .

  14. April Eum
    August 24, 2012 at 2:07 am

    if there are any important files encrypted, which i'm sure there is if you used the computer by means of home network, you should use a data shredder to get rid of the files completely. there are haphazards to just throwing it away.


    here's some ways to dispose of hard drives in general.

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