Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Physical Hard Disk Destruction Methods and the Benefits

Files in the computer as we know today, are causing danger to an individual, a business, or a company. A basic file deletion will just send it to the recycle bin and can be recovered anytime. A brilliant idea is to skip the recycle bin or empty it as soon as sensitive information is deleted. However, if the thief is desperate, he can use advanced tools to get to the permanently deleted file.

What actually happens when a file Is deleted

When a file is fully deleted, they are not actually overwritten. A distinctive mark is set into the file or folder to consider it as a data no longer needed in the disk. The description (meta-data) also remains into the file system waiting to be reused again. Nevertheless, it is rare to see such a file being reused and, it only occurs when a disk space is required.

There is a different file removal method for each file system type. Below are some common files systems and what it does when a file is deleted.

NTFS: When there is nothing written in the disk, after deleting the file, the data are intact.

FAT: The information about where the file fragment is lost immediately. If the file is not fragmented, then you can recover the file in full. The more you change things, the more you add files, the more the disk becomes fragmented.

HFS and HFS+: HFS stores information in a balanced tree structure. Sometimes, when a file is deleted, the entire tree has to be re-balanced resulting in massive change to the file system's structure. Using the tree method in the file system, recovering is unpredictable, and it all depends on how you tried to recover the file.

The only way to make the file unrecoverable is to use software meant to overwrite bits of data in a file. This method won't work at all times specially when the hard drive is beyond functional state. Another procedure of data destruction is to destroy the HDD itself. Below are some drive destruction methods and where these methods are effective.

Hard disk shredder

When we shred paper, we know that our sensitive cannot be recovered any longer because we know nobody can bring a shredded documents back particularly if the shredded paper is extremely thin. That same convenience can be done on HDDs too, only that these are shredders are meant to shred metals as if it were paper.


    Increased data security. A shredded disk cannot be patched up and be functional again.
    Reduce the risk of improperly discarded drives.
    Minimize storage cost.

However, the cost of buying a shredder is truly expensive and, hard disk destruction services are costly too. Hard disk shredders are also bulky in size you will need a specified room for hard disk shredding because not only that it is bulky but; also hard disk shredders are unusually noisy.

Hard Disk Crusher

A device meant to crush the hard disk by putting a large amount of weight into the drive.


    Small and compact. It can be used even in a desktop.
    Silent. The process takes less than 10 seconds.
    Platters are bent. It create ripples that even a hardware recovery method is impossible.
    A quick solution to destroying the hard disk data but not the problem is how you will dispose the crushed drives.

Hard disk degausser

A hard disk destruction machine that has a tremendously powerful magnet in which it can alter the current state of the drive, removing any residual data and also making the drive utterly unusable. Older drives won't get affected by degaussing but modern drives will become inoperable since modern drives have servo tracks inside the platter that can be erased the same way data in the disk are erased.


    Hard disk drives are destroyed within 60 seconds.
    Quick solution if you have multiple drives.

However, the magnet of hard disk degaussers are so strong that not anyone can be capable of degaussing the disk because of a possible magnetic shock.

Why destroy a hard disk drive

Nowadays, because online shopping, social networking, and the internet is a common thing we do in a computer, it is not a surprise that hard disks have sensitive information in it. Because it is not just the data we know we created that we should be aware about, there are also data being automatically stored by your computer or applications that store the information in a hard disk drive without knowing it.


The importance of destroying data in the disk relies on the kind of data you have in it. If your hard disk contains sensitive information like credit card records, social security numbers, and personal information a full hard disk wipe must be implemented.

Arnel Colar is a freelance writer that writes anything that can provide knowledge to the readers around the world. He writes articles ranging from environment preservation, social education, finance and loans, money, and anything that he can think of. With good research, convincing details, and creative insights added with passion, articles can become a masterpiece.

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