Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Slashdot Deals: Prep for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Save 95% on the CompTIA IT Certification Bundle ×
Hardware

How to Say Goodbye to Old Hard Drives? 337

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?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How to Say Goodbye to Old Hard Drives?

Comments Filter:
  • Easy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:34AM (#22010678)
    Hire one of those disillusioned young IT workers!
    • by Gerzel (240421) <{brollyferret} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:15AM (#22011446) Journal
      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 @03:38AM (#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 @04:40AM (#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:Easy... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pretenda (1217974) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:32AM (#22013358)
          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:2, Funny)

      by Hamsterdan (815291) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:34AM (#22011860)
      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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:34AM (#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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:43AM (#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 @01:09AM (#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.
        • by spineboy (22918) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:53AM (#22011340) Journal
          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 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.
          • 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) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:22AM (#22011110)
        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) <`gro.h7urt' `ta' `rehtes'> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:43AM (#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 @01:46AM (#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 @09:16AM (#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 @01:48AM (#22011312)

        Modern desktop drives have pussy magnets


        They stuff golden retriever puppies inside hard drives???
      • by arminw (717974) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:00AM (#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) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:27AM (#22011526) Homepage
        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 @02:32AM (#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) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:39AM (#22011606) Homepage Journal

        ...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 newer (2004+) seagate cheetah SCSI320 drive were a good 3/4" thick, and strong enough that pulling 2 apart involved using a vice, as it actually ripped the magnetic material from the metal backing plate of one of them. I use a few of these to hold a piece of rubber bedmat against the front wall of my pickup's bed. The older/weaker ones I have to find a ridge in the bed to get them to even hold on, while those seagate ones will stick anywhere and hold it up nicely (1/4" rubber/fiber bedmat, which has bumps on the underside to keep it from laying completely against the bed to allow water to escape). These magnets WILL cause damage if you let fingers/other parts near when they come together.

        Other handy uses for such magnets: they have nice holes on the backplate to tie cord/wire to them for use as magnetic retrieval device, superb fridge magnets (hold your whole notebook to the fridge), if one breaks glue a small fragment to a spoke (I used gorilla glue) to replace the big cyclometer magnet for your bike computer, hotglue a few layers of aquarium filter fabric to a pair and use as an aquarium glass cleaner (place one on the outside, one on the inside with the fishes and run it around the glass, good ones can stay together even around the corners).

        Tm

    • by Nick Driver (238034) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:30AM (#22011172)
      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 :-)
    • by Alien54 (180860) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:43AM (#22011272) Journal
      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.
    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:52AM (#22011336) Journal
      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) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:51AM (#22011670) Homepage
      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 them too. You can always low-level format them by booting MS-DOS and in debug enter G=C800:5 (can be a different address on some controller BIOS:es too, so your mileage may vary)

      And if you by old mean that you have 8" or even wider disks (like the RA60) then you should contact your local computer museum instead. Never mind wiping those disks - you will hardly find anyone that's able to do anything with them anyway... The information is surely outdated.

      Or you can drill a hole in the disk, start it and pour in some fine sand and then shake the disk... I wouldn't even consider rescuing such a disk.

  • by Mike_ya (911105) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:35AM (#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.
  • by Deimos24601 (904979) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:35AM (#22010696)
    Will it blend?
  • Easy... (Score:3, Informative)

    by the_humeister (922869) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:35AM (#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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:47AM (#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:Easy... (Score:3, Informative)

        by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:18AM (#22011084) Journal
        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) as stuff does from California, and it's cheaper than UPS.

      • by DreadSpoon (653424) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:07AM (#22011414) Journal
        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.
  • by qengho (54305) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:36AM (#22010704)
    Get yourself one of these. [youtube.com]
  • Try this: (Score:4, Informative)

    by XanC (644172) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:36AM (#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.

  • by jroysdon (201893) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:37AM (#22010720) Homepage
    My kids love the magnets inside, and the copper-goldish platters are cool too.
    • by r00t (33219) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:26AM (#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) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:20AM (#22011812)
        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.
      • by slittle (4150) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @05:03AM (#22012288) Homepage
        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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:38AM (#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.
  • by teslatug (543527) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:41AM (#22010744)
    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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:41AM (#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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:41AM (#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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:42AM (#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.
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:43AM (#22010776) Homepage
    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.
  • by toddestan (632714) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:43AM (#22010780)
    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 to just burn the drives to DVDs, I bet a lot of them aren't even 4.7GB in size and would fit on a single disk.
  • Turbine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by VanderJagt (833197) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:45AM (#22010794)
    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
  • by ODiV (51631) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:47AM (#22010814)
    You can make metal roses [imageshack.us] out of the platters.

    Having a hard time finding a howto though.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:49AM (#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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:51AM (#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) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:09AM (#22011422)
      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 Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:51AM (#22010868)
    Will it blend?

    A: I would imagine so.
  • by Locklin (1074657) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:53AM (#22010882) Homepage
    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.
  • by sillivalley (411349) <sillivalley&comcast,net> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:54AM (#22010892)
    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").
  • by nguy (1207026) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:57AM (#22010918)
    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.
  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:05AM (#22010986) Journal
    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 @01:13AM (#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 @01:17AM (#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 magarity (164372) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:18AM (#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.
  • by blueadept1 (844312) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:22AM (#22011116)
    http://www.geekstuff4u.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=630 [geekstuff4u.com] Eject the hard drives like they are a tape.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:31AM (#22011186) Homepage Journal
    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. :)
  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377&gmail,com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:31AM (#22011192) Homepage
    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.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @01:55AM (#22011356)

    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 @01:59AM (#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.
  • by Orange Crush (934731) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:11AM (#22011436)

    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 modern enough to be connected to a current computer on hand, zero it out--a bootable disk/disc of *nix, g4u, BootItNg, or random hard drive utilities are all free-as-in-beerly available and do the trick quite easily. Otherwise, the sledgehammer is quite effective. Hell, use an axe and split some logs while you're at it.

    Just don't try to resell a working drive without zeroing it out. I've heard rumors of ATM hard drives on ebay that got a quick format and still contained sensitive account information. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/whatever [let simmer till the blinky lights stop] is your friend**.

    **unless the drive is mounted. Or if you're following advice from an IRC channel. Or if there are midgets. Damn the midgets.

    • by Slugster (635830) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:03AM (#22011730)
      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. ....Over time the drives got larger and larger however, and the department heads figured out that it really wasn't economical to pay an engineer to stand there and wipe drives just to protect the data when there was a good chance they wouldn't need to ever use the PC at all, so they started pulling the drives from the computers and using other magnetic methods of erasing them--that also happened to render the drives non-functional. So the rest of the computers got sold off, but now without the drives. ,,,, When buyers at surplus auctions saw that gov't PC's were coming out without the drives, they jumped to the conclusion that "the data can be recovered now!!!" when that was never the case--as the drives storage capacity got larger and larger, it simply became uneconomical to pay a tech with security clearance to do data wipes on the drives.

      ....Lastly--if I thought that I needed to guarantee a hard drive wouldn't be recovered, I would melt the platters into a lump with an oxy-acetylene welding torch (recover this, NSA spooks!). And being a bachelor, I have an oxy-acetylene torch kit (complete with tanks) sitting in the dining room. I generally don't light it inside the house, but if the police were at the door I could fire a couple shots through the ceiling and still have time to blaze through a couple or three hard drives before the SWAT team arrives. Heck, you don't even have to take the platters out, you can just go right through the drive's bottom side.
      ~
  • 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 destruction of property and if they are wrong, then they would get in trouble. The only catch is, I'm not sure what kind of chemicals might be inside the drive. However I've done this before. Yes I know this isn't necessarily a direct answer to the question, but it definitely makes it harder to recover data when the platters are all warped and scratched from being ripped out, and it doesn't waste as much.
  • by Pathway (2111) <pathway@google.com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:19AM (#22011482)
    Bathroom Mirror. I kid you not.

    --Pathway
  • by chromozone (847904) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:43AM (#22011622)
    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 @04:50AM (#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 @05:48AM (#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 @05:56AM (#22012540)
    I guess this is pretty secure!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQYPCPB1g3o [youtube.com]
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @10:05AM (#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.

Related Links Top of the: day, week, month.

Help me, I'm a prisoner in a Fortune cookie file!

Working...