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How to Say Goodbye to Old Hard Drives? 337

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the get-creative dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm wondering if anyone else out there has a stack of old hard drives sitting around and doesn't know what to do with them. I always remove the hard drives of my parents' and friends' computers before they recycle them or get a new computer, so now I've got a whole bunch sitting around. One, I'd like to dispose of them and know that whatever data was there is gone, but before that, I'd like to hook them up, one by one, and scan them to make sure there's nothing vital there worth saving. Some are years old and may be totally dead for all I know, but is there a good system for hooking up a hard drive as an additional device, perhaps via USB? And what's a pretty good way to ensure that someone else won't pull them out later on and find usable data?" Well to start with you could always use your hard drives to make electricity or create a decorative wind chime. There are also many different options to ensure that your data doesn't fall into the hands of the enemy. What other suggestions can folks come up with?
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How to Say Goodbye to Old Hard Drives?

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  • Easy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:34PM (#22010678)
    Hire one of those disillusioned young IT workers!
    • by Gerzel (240421)
      Cow magnet, sledge hammer and crowbar. Apply liberally to hard drive.
      Note: use the hammer to get leverage for the bar to get the metal casing off, apply magnet when platters are visible.
      • Re:Easy... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:38AM (#22011878) Journal
        All you need to do with the platters is hit them with the sledgehammer a few times. The interesting thing is the rare earth magnets inside... you can have all sorts of fun with those puppies. Don't put them on opposite sides of your finger webbing unless you're looking for a piercing.
        • Re:Easy... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:40AM (#22012168) Homepage Journal
          No longer are the rare-earth magnets in hard drives that powerful. In the past year I've disassembled many laptop and desktop hard drives (I turn the platters into throwing stars) and the magnets aren't very strong at all, nor are they as large as they used to be. They barely even phase CRT monitors, even when placed flat against the very back of the electron beam emitter.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pretenda (1217974)
          I used to use the sledgehammer method, until i found a more fun way. Mix 1 part aluminium oxide to 2 parts iron oxide, put in a hard disk sized container, and place on a stack a disks. Shove a sparkler in the top of the mixture, light, and run :D instant glob of metal on the ground! Yay for thermite!
          • Re:Easy... (Score:4, Informative)

            by 0xygen (595606) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:02PM (#22015518)
            I think you mean 1 part aluminium powder with 2 parts iron oxide.

            The aluminium takes the oxygen from the iron oxide, releasing the sigificant amount of energy and leaving the unoxidised iron.
            If the aluminium was already oxidised, this would not happen.

            Otherwise, yes - excellent idea. I even have a broken HDD I need to wipe, thanks!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hamsterdan (815291)
      Use two IBM Deathstars in RAID-0 on a Highpoint controller. It will take care of that by itself :) (Maxtors will do the same by themselves too)
  • by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:34PM (#22010680) Homepage
    At work, its well known that all past warranty dead drives go to me, as well as ones that work but are too slow and small to be useful. And I make sure the drive in question is definitely wiped :)

    For the curious, it usually takes a hot 357 magnum to penetrate and clear most modern drives. 9mm and 45acp either bounce off, or don't exit the drive.
    • by gnutoo (1154137) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:43PM (#22010772) Journal

      A drill bit is cheaper and easier. It also avoids those awkward ricochets and overshoots that put holes in people. This makes it difficult for all but the most determined people to read.

      Dropping it in salt water is a sure way to destroy the data but this takes longer.

      As for buried date treasure, don't bother. If you did not find it when you put the drive down and have not missed it, you don't need it.

      • holes (Score:5, Funny)

        by commodoresloat (172735) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:09AM (#22011014)

        put holes in people. This makes it difficult for all but the most determined people to read.
        Yes, putting holes in people makes it difficult for them to read, if your aim is good, but I think the poster wanted a way to make the hard drive unreadable by anyone, not just by the people it was convenient to put holes in.
        • just unscrew the case - you'll be looking right at the drive platters. If you're lazy, you'll just take the screw driver and stab/bend/scrape the platters which will make them unreadable. The platters are easy to turn. Who do you know, has the technology to read a disk with a giant gouge/crack in it - the FBI? - Why would they read my hard drive?

          You could also BBQ them
          Sledghammer
          Axe
          throw them in a pond
          bury them

          But to be honest - most peoplewould not even spen the effort to do anything with them if you th
          • But to be honest - most peoplewould not even spen the effort to do anything with them if you threw it out in the trash with some stinky chicken carcass and rotten milk. - Would you? People recover, or try to recover stuff from hard drives from companies, because there might be useful info on them. How much useful info can you get from some schmuck down the street, and would it be useful/worth your time? - Probably not.

            Are you kidding? You know how much pr0n the average home user has, compared to the average work machine?

      • by Khaed (544779)
        As to the cheaper point, if you already have a firearm, bullets are very cheap, and shooting is pretty satisfying.

        As to the second, while I've never shot a hard drive and can't attest to ricochets, the four basic rules of shooting include knowing what's behind your target. I'd like to think anyone reading /. would be smart enough not to handle firearms without caution. (Though if the racists ACs blow a toe off, that works, too.)
    • by Xzzy (111297) <sether@nOspAM.tru7h.org> on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:43PM (#22010774) Homepage
      I take a different approach.. I'm the resident hard drive collector as well, except I take them apart and extract the magnets. The older they are the better, drives from the late 90's seem to have the best ones. Modern desktop drives have pussy magnets. :( Seagate 73 gig fiber channel disks have the best magnets I've ever pulled.

      Of course, the hard part is doing something productive with them. They're really not good for much, except for marveling how cool magnetism is. Eddy currents are a good crowd pleaser.. made a pendulum type device with a led wired up to a coil, as it swung past a magnet the led would flicker.

      Also, this:

      http://xzzy.org/files/geek/eddy/eddy.avi [xzzy.org]

      Know a guy who would make such projects and donate them to schools as educational toys.. schools are always glad for stuff like that.
      • by NixieBunny (859050) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:46AM (#22011294) Homepage
        The magnets are excellent for opening rental and library DVD cases...

        like this [nixiebunny.com]

        • by pla (258480) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:16AM (#22013614) Journal
          The magnets are excellent for opening rental and library DVD cases...

          They also work wonderfully on those annoying "inventory control" dye-pack tags that clerks all too frequently seem to "forget" to remove from your new shirt. Just stick the magnet at the end, you'll hear or feel a subtle click, and the metal pin will pop right out (it should do so easily - If you feel resistance, you don't have it right and will make a mess if you pull too hard).

          You can also use them to deactivate the strips in books and CDs that trigger door alarms (but NOT the RFID ones, which look like a 1.5x1.5" sticker with a slightly thicker center and spiral around the outer edge).


          But remember what the signs always say, these devices exist "for your protection". Not just for laughs from having some minimum-wage-slave frisk you at the door while everyone looks at you like a thief because another minimum-wage-slave couldn't bother to do their job and pass your purchase over the magic pad-o'-deactivation.
      • by mbadolato (105588) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:48AM (#22011312)

        Modern desktop drives have pussy magnets


        They stuff golden retriever puppies inside hard drives???
      • by arminw (717974) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:00AM (#22011376)
        ....Of course, the hard part is doing something productive with them...

        I take the magnets out and use the best ones on our refrigerator. I give the rest to friends for that purpose.

        Before doing this I connect them to a drive dock, specifically this one:

        http://www.wiebetech.com/products/ComboDock.php [wiebetech.com]

        I look at any files worth keeping and copy these to another modern HD. Since HD space is cheap these days, I have several complete DOS drive images on file. After that I let the computer do a multi-pass full data scramble erasure. This can take quite a while on big drives.

        After the magnets are extracted, the left over pieces go to a metal recycler. The cases are usually made from many beer cans worth of aluminum.
      • by longacre (1090157) *
        Modern desktop drives have pussy magnets. This is hard drive that will attract woman with shave down below?
      • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:32AM (#22011554) Journal
        Actually the disks make excellent drop spindle wheels, if you're into spinning thread the old fashioned way. I have friends who do this.
      • by Tmack (593755)

        ...The older they are the better, drives from the late 90's seem to have the best ones. Modern desktop drives have pussy magnets. :( Seagate 73 gig fiber channel disks have the best magnets I've ever pulled.

        I too am a collector of harddrive magnets, they come in handy for all sorts of things. But as for the older the better... I disagree. The older ones are not made as dense as the newer ones. The magnets from an old old IDE (I think it was) I got were almost like the normal black ferromagnetic crap you can get at the store, not the rare-earth type. Half-height 3.5" drives have crappy thin weak magnets too, no matter how old they are. I do agree about the seagate FC drive though, The ones I pulled from a ne

    • For the curious, it usually takes a hot 357 magnum to penetrate and clear most modern drives. 9mm and 45acp either bounce off, or don't exit the drive.

      That's why I prefer a 12 gauge slug at fairly close range. The impact can be best described as "glorious". Wear eye protection, I like to use a full face dirtbike helmet since bits of metal go everywhere.

      BTW, the slugs do wonders on an old washing machine too :-)
    • Drill through the drill with a large drills 1cm or 1/2 inch or better

      At least one hole through the disks, and one hole through the circuit board.

      Then put it inside a bucket filled with salt water for a month or so

      That should freeze the bearings and corrode the plates enough to make recovery a royal pain.

      of course, if you want disassemble and retrieve the magnets first, that's cool. You can then pull the plates, and then bend/twist them into ashtrays.
    • guns are pretty effective but have you ever tried thermite? 3,000 degrees of molten hot metal cures any data security problems as well as putting on quite a show at the same time :)
    • by Z00L00K (682162)
      I would put up a stack of them on top of a large pile of firewood and put them into their final resting in flames.

      But you can always extract the disks themselves and use them for target practice or build something funny. Use the disks as wheels for toys for children maybe?

      Anyway - it also depends on how old the drives are. If they are using the old ST412/ST506 interface (One narrow and one wide flat cable on a 5.25" disk) they are normally having really good stepper motors and a lot of other goodies in

  • by Mike_ya (911105) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:35PM (#22010688) Homepage
    http://dban.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    To 'clean' the drives.

    Sledgehammer works good too.
    We always take them apart. The magnets are fun to play with.
    • The problem with DBAN is that the drive has to be functional. Great for when you're selling hardware, but not so great when you're trying to destroy data on an otherwise worthless drive.

      Sledgehammers are fun, but I prefer taking a grinder to the platters.
    • by mlts (1038732) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:31AM (#22011188)
      There is a low level drive utility,

      http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml [ucsd.edu]

      which erases on the ATA command level. To my knowledge, this will zap data that DBAN misses, because DBAN can't access the hard disk's sector relocation tables (sectors that were about to go bad, so were remapped), and this low level utility is able to.

      DBAN plus this utility should be OK for most things, however as always if the drive had relatively sensitive data on it, don't give it away, and destroy it physically (lots of creative methods. For drives I want to be sure that are decommissioned, I personally pull the platters apart, run over them with a vehicle, then chuck each platter in a separate garbage bin.)
  • by Deimos24601 (904979) * on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:35PM (#22010696)
    Will it blend?
  • Easy... (Score:3, Informative)

    by the_humeister (922869) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:35PM (#22010700)

    ...but is there a good system for hooking up a hard drive as an additional device, perhaps via USB?


    Yes. Go buy yourself a harddrive enclosure that has a USB interface.

    And what's a pretty good way to ensure that someone else won't pull them out later on and find usable data?


    Smash the things into itty-bitty pieces. Very (very very) strong magnets work well too.
    • Re:Easy... (Score:5, Informative)

      by phil reed (626) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:47PM (#22010822) Homepage
      This [cyberguys.com] is a handy thing for temporarily hooking an IDE or SATA drive up to a USB port for a quick salvage job. (I'm just a satisfied customer.)

      As far as disposal: open up the drives, take out the platters and use them for decorations or melt them, salvage the armature magnets for your refrigerator, recycle the metal.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by adolf (21054)
        Good stuff. I routinely use a similar adapter for data recovery on failing drives. The concept seems to work just fine.

        The same Vantec unit is also available from Newegg, but far cheaper. [newegg.com]

        Or, if one is feeling adventurous and/or wants lots of these adapters without going going broke, there's always Ebay [tinyurl.com], via which I've always had fantastic good luck ordering insanely inexpensive electronics like this directly from Hong Kong.

        So far, importing things from Hong Kong only takes about as long to get here (Ohio)
      • Back in highschool, my girlfriend and I used to have a ball making various crafts out of hard drive platters. I think she still has the large wall art "thing" (not sure what else to call it) we made. If nothing else, they make great objects to throw discus-style at the endless numbers of people trying to hit on your hot geeky girlfriend. (They learn will quick after a platter or two to the forehead.)

        If you want to ensure no data will ever come off of the platters, blowtorches work wonders.
  • Get yourself one of these. [youtube.com]
  • Try this: (Score:4, Informative)

    by XanC (644172) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:36PM (#22010716)
    Neat little device [outpost.com]
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaI-7FBjr1Q [youtube.com]

    Someone narrate that in a cheesy Australian accent please.

  • My kids love the magnets inside, and the copper-goldish platters are cool too.
    • by r00t (33219) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:26AM (#22011140) Journal
      Glass platters look just like aluminum ones. It's hard to tell the difference until they break. When they do break, zillions of ultra-sharp slivers of glass go flying everywhere. It's way worse than breaking typical glass.

      • by fluffy99 (870997)
        I'll say. Usually when I destroy a hard drive, I'd rip out the magnets, bend the platters and throw it in the trash. I found out the hard way about the glass platters when one shattered instead of bending. Pulling that chunk out of my thumb hurt like hell and bled like crazy. Worst part was having to dig around and make sure all the pieces were out. Now I whack the platters to see if they shatter first. If they dent instead then it's safe to fold them up like a taco.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by slittle (4150)
        For glass platters, remove the screws holding them to the spindle, replace the cover and spin up the drive. There should be enough torque that the platters will remain stationary while the spindle gets to full speed, at which point you tilt the drive, the platters catch the spindle and they explode, internally.

        All done.
  • by holophrastic (221104) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:38PM (#22010728)
    These things are great:
    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1945393&Sku=S457-1104 [tigerdirect.ca]

    they work, they're simple, when closed they're virtually indestructible, when open, you can swap drives in seconds, hot-swapped and everything. IDE and SATA. I've used multiple brands, they're all the same. Some have a power switch if you care.
    • If you don't want to bother with the whole enclosure, ngear makes a thing that is more of a quick tool.

      http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17275&vpn=NG-RDRIVE-USB&manufacture=nGear%20Technologies%20Inc [ncix.com].

      As you can see here: http://img.ncix.com/images/17275_All.jpg [ncix.com] It just plugs into the back of a 2.5 or 3.5 ATA hard drive, and gives you USB. Also comes with a molex connectorized power supply. I've found it handy in my computer testing.
    • My wife recently took my home machine to Staples (without asking me, of course) in order to have it "fixed" so the brand new printer she bought (again, without asking me) would work. I don't know WTF they did, but all the data which had been saved under "my" XP user account is now inaccessible.

      So ... I just bought a 500GB HD with an external USB case and tried to copy the entire drive over to the new external drive. But it keeps giving me "Access Denied" errors for certain otherwise innocuous files no goo

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by geekboybt (866398)
        A Linux livecd (http://www.ubuntu.com, for example) usually has drivers to read (and write, if you have ntfs-3g enabled) NTFS formatted drives. Linux NTFS drivers ignore the Access Control Lists in NTFS, so permissions are not a problem. I've used it in similar scenarios, when Windows would give me headaches. Alternatively, if you are administrator of the machine, you can reset the permissions of a directory (and its contents) from within Windows, though I can't say I can recall how to do so offhand.
        • by triclipse (702209)
          Dude, thank you so much for your time. I will take the Linux option. Even though I have admistrator privileges on the machine, there is nothing I can do to reset the permissions. Again, thank you. I am going to take your advice.
  • by teslatug (543527)
    Get an external USB enclosure, hook up the drive and connect it to a PC, get a Live CD of some sort, write over the drive with alternations from /dev/null and /dev/urandom a couple of times, and you're done. Rinse, rather, repeat for other drives.
  • A handy USB device (Score:4, Informative)

    by petard (117521) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:41PM (#22010750) Homepage
    If the drives are IDE/ATA/SATA, this [newertech.com] works well and is a better idea than rotating them through an enclosure. (I find that the captive cables in USB drive enclosures are not very robust. This does not share that problem.)
  • Plugging them in... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hpa (7948) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:41PM (#22010754) Homepage
    I have one of these for situations like this. It's pretty handy; it also comes in really great for harddrive upgrades:

    http://www.coolmaxusa.com/productDetails.asp?item=CD-350-COMBO&details=features&subcategory=converter&category=converter [coolmaxusa.com]
  • by sphix42 (144155) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:42PM (#22010766) Homepage
    Rip them open, pull the platters out one by one, and make a high definition mirror, knowing every time you look at yourself you're doing it on several levels.
  • Personally I just use a straight IDE-to-USB 2.0 cable. It seems so wrong having a hard drive out in the open while it's running - it's probably not good for the drive in the longterm vibration-wise, but if you're just doing this to check the drives out before you dump them that's no big deal.

    You could get an external drive caddy but if you've got a lot of drives to go through then it's probably not worth the hassle of having to switch them in and out.
  • If you're really worried about losing some data that might be needed, why not just buy a 500GB drive for $100 and copy everything from all the drives to it? I seriously doubt that even with a large stack that you really have more than a few tens of gigs of data, given that most of those drives are probably only a few gigs in size anyway. It would also be a lot quicker just to copy everything than to sit and go through the files on each drive to determine what needs saving. A cheaper alternative might be
  • Turbine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by VanderJagt (833197)
    Plenty of people have fooled around with hard drive platters as bladeless Tesla turbines...though the new base materials shatter more easily than the old.

    -Benjamin Vander Jagt
  • You can make metal roses [imageshack.us] out of the platters.

    Having a hard time finding a howto though.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:49PM (#22010832) Homepage
    ...go fishing for blackmail material. You'll find that Christmas 2008 will be much better for you than Christmas 2007.
  • Enemy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:51PM (#22010866) Journal
    How paranoid must one really be?

    Hit the drives hard with a decent size hammer, a couple of times on each side, just so that anyone can plainly see that the drives are toast and totally useless as computer parts.

    After the smashing, just toss 'em in a bucket. When the bucket fills up, take it down to your friendly neighborhood scrap yard. If you're lucky, they'll pay a "dirty aluminum" rate for it. If you're unlucky, they'll pay a miscellaneous scrap rate, which will be considerably lower (around a nickel per pound, here).

    Or if you're really adventurous/thrifty, you can break them down into their different constituent metals (keep it simple and just sort into piles of aluminum, zinc, magnetic steel, and nonmagnetic stainless), which will maximize the amount of cash you'll be paid.

    Honestly: Nobody wants to invest the time, effort, money, and energy into trying to scavenge data from a physically broken hard drive at the bottom of a scrap hopper without knowing, in advance, what is contained therein.

    But if you're really paranoid, you can always yank the platters and melt them into little aluminum ingots first. It just doesn't seem worth the effort for household data . . .

    In any event, you can be sure that the drives will, at some point, be recycled into something new.

    • by deniable (76198)
      That's almost what we used to do at work, except I hit them with a block splitter [1] and dropped the waste in the steel bin. Using the splitter made sure that there were big breaks in the platters and didn't kick back like an ax would. The workshop crew wanted to try a 9 inch angle grinder but I don't think they ever did.

      [1] Like an ax, but with a smaller wider head and a straight handle. Good for splitting blocks of firewood.
  • by LordSnooty (853791) on Friday January 11, 2008 @11:51PM (#22010868)
    Will it blend?

    A: I would imagine so.
  • When I worked for the Canadian military for a summer, the procedure we had was to open 'em up, pull out the platters, and gouge the crap out of them with a screw driver.

    Sometimes low-tech just works.
  • A 1/8 inch high-speed drill bit in the drill press does wonders. Punch through the top cover, platters, base, circuit board. Repeat in a second location if desired. Quick and effective, particularly on glass platters (and the sticker on the drive says "rattling noise is normal").
  • Take a big hammer to them. The drive magnets you get out of them are kind of fun to play with.
  • My co-worker has a sledge hammer at home for just such a purpose.
  • I'm of the opinion that the best option is physical destruction. So...
    Take your drives down to the local rifle range. Arrange as desired, and work on your marksmanship.
    Once done, clean up the junk and dispose of properly.
  • hard drive art! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RainbowSix (105550) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:13AM (#22011038) Homepage
    I made some contemporary art out of my old hard drives:
    http://polynomial.org/disc_wall2.jpg [polynomial.org]
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:17AM (#22011072) Journal
    All electronics that fail me suffer the same fate.

    Smash, apply ethanol, burn, smash, apply ethanol, burn ... until its no longer fun to do either one.
    • by FSWKU (551325)

      ...until its no longer fun to do either one.

      So you're still at it I assume? I know I would be........... What? Why does everyone keep looking at me like I'm crazy?
      • At some point you're jsut burning a dark spot of ash in the parking lot,your body runs out of caffeine and your fingers start twitching from the lack of programming.
  • by magarity (164372) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:18AM (#22011080)
    I used to work at a nonprofit agency that took (among other things) computers that were then handed out to community centers, senior centers, churches, etc. People were always donating computers sans hard drives because they didn't want anyone to steal their info. So the warehouse had literally hundreds of unusable computers. PLEASE use the commercial or free open source package of your choice to wipe the thing then donate it! Nonprofits that deal in second hand computers are in dire need of spare hard drives of even modest capacity. And no, the lady who wants to print up the church newsletter is not some 133t h4x0r who is going to recover the wiped data and steal your identity.
    • I had a similar job, sometimes we got to see hard drives explode when they were plugged into a system we were working on or a workstation :P Old harddrives can be fun.
  • by blueadept1 (844312) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:22AM (#22011116)
    http://www.geekstuff4u.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=630 [geekstuff4u.com] Eject the hard drives like they are a tape.
  • I mean "aggregate" as a noun, not a verb. A couple of years ago I was building a two foot high concrete border wall around my patio. After pouring about half of the concrete, I threw in a bunch of old hard disks and other computer parts, and then topped it off with the remaining concrete. Flagstone went on top, and the finished border looks quite stylish. No one ever suspects that there are computer parts buried inside. :)
  • you can always practice your data recovery skills using a torx screwdriver, and some very careful hands. I'm in the process of swapping platters between some identical drives just for the hell of it.

    Outside of that umm.....there are always some really fun magnets to be pulled from old drives.
  • I hook them into an old pc, wipe them with BCWipe [jetico.com], and then dispose of them. My preferred method is to put them in old machines, install Linux, and give them to Goodwill.

  • by Ren Hoak (1217024) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:59AM (#22011368)
    This is a personal problem. There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable use of high explosives. This is not one of those exceptions.
  • No one has ever demonstrably retrieved data from hard drive platters that have been zeroed out (to my knowledge--please correct me if I'm wrong--I know there have been theories suggesting it might be possible, but I've never heard of any means for actually doing so). None have recovered data from smashed platters without a lab in clean room conditions. Anyone with access to that is unlikely to be dumpster diving for old drives to see what might be recoverable just for kicks.

    If the drive works and is mod

    • by Slugster (635830)
      Couple points:

      ....I had a comp sci college prof who (before teaching) worked for the gov't for many years. One story he told us was about how paranoid people thought that simply wiping a drive wasn't good enough. After projects, extra computers got put into storage, and often re-used--but as newer better desktop computers came out, the older ones got sold off as surplus--so they had one guy there who would run wiping programs on the drives, and then run another program to verify the drives had been wiped.
  • Gut the hard drive but take care to make sure the outside looks fairly untampered. If there were multiple platters you can end up with a lot of internal space where the drive used to be. Then put stuff into the gutted harddrive that you want to keep secret. Screw top back on, and for best results, stick in extra computer. The best part is, not only is the harddrive and unsuspecting location, but on top of that even if someone did suspect something they can't just open it because opening a harddrive is destr
  • Bathroom Mirror. I kid you not.

    --Pathway
  • Here is a great drive bay panel that lets you plug in drives easily: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811997006 [newegg.com]
  • Mousetraps (Score:3, Funny)

    by SlappyBastard (961143) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:50AM (#22012230) Homepage
    Prop the HD up with a tooth pick. Put a piece of cheese right next to the toothpick. If you use one of the really old heavy as fuck HDs, you'll be having mouse pizza for breakfast.
  • Horizontal Saw (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:48AM (#22012512)
    I took one out last week with a horizontal saw with a fine pitch blade for cutting hard metal.

    I sawed directly through the middle of the platter, cutting through the motor. It made a very neat cutaway study. Might make some art with it, dunno. It was also fun to watch.
  • by tonywestonuk (261622) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:56AM (#22012540)
    I guess this is pretty secure!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQYPCPB1g3o [youtube.com]
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:05AM (#22013896) Homepage Journal
    not for security, although you could, say, scour the platters with sandpaper if that's your concern.

    I take them apart to admire the incredible workmanship that goes into them; the mirror polished platters and the wonderfully light head mechanisms that float so incredibly close over them.

    Hard disks may be mass produced and cheap, but the care and perfection that goes into them would set most jewelers to shame. They are really works of beauty.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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