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How to Destroy Old Hard Drives

The massive volumes of sensitive data that most regular computer users retain on their hard drives are never realised. You should know how to trash an old hard disc if you own a computer. Many people throw caution to the wind when it comes to getting rid of old hard drives.

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Updated by Tracy King on Jan 04, 2024
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Wipe or destroy old hard drive

Your social security number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and internet logins and passwords can all be found on a standard home desktop computer or laptop hard disc. Even if the hard disc is "erased" or reformatted with a data-wiping application, this information can stay on it.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Data-Wiping Software Step 1. Run EaseUS BitWiper. Click the "Wipe Disk" tab. Step 2. Select the targeted HDD...Full steps
2. Brute Force Employing brutal force to destroy your hard disc should be simple....Full steps
3. Hole Drilling Drilling holes in the platters are an excellent way to make them illegible...Full steps
4. Do not overwrite Overwritten files, even if no one can read them anymore, do not sit well...Full steps
5. Fire/Heat You can use a blowtorch or a conventional bonfire for this...Full steps

You must completely erase or remove the hard drives before donating or discarding your computer. You'll ensure that the data on the hard discs is entirely deleted and untraceable by data thieves if you do it this way. It's also worth noting that if your hard drive contains music, personal images, or anything else of sentimental importance, you should back it up to a different hard drive before beginning with the destruction procedure.

1. Data-Wiping Software

Image of EaseUS BitWiper

Later versions of software, such as Windows 10 and 8.1, will have their own update and recovery functions that will not only restart your computer but also destroy all of your data. However, if you want to be absolutely certain, you can use data-wiping software.

EaseUS BitWiper is a simple-to-use programme. Simply run the software downloaded from the internet, or create a bootable environment with a USB flash drive and run the programme from there. When choosing an erasing pattern and number of passes, remember that the more passes you have, the longer it will take for the wipe to finish. However, this will also result in improved erasure.

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Our recommendation is to use EaseUS Bitwiper.

Step 1. Run EaseUS BitWiper. Click the "Wipe Disk" tab.

wipe disk 1

Step 2. Select the targeted HDD or SSD to wipe.

Notice: Please make sure you have chosen the correct HDD or SSD. Once the wiping starts, your data is irrecoverable.

wipe disk 2

Step 3. Choose Wiping Method and click "Next."

Choose a suitable wiping method. Recommend EaseUS Secure Erase!

wipe disk 3

Step 4. Check the warning message and click "Wipe" to confirm.

wipe disk 4

Step 5. Wait for wiping finish and click "Done."

wipe disk 5

2. Brute Force

Force break old hard drive

Do you need to let go of some bottled-up rage? Then employing brutal force to destroy your hard disc should be simple. Please be aware that little flying debris and perhaps scattered pieces will be present. Wear protective gear, such as gloves and/or eyewear, to keep yourself safe.

Increase the severity of the harm. Experts can read information from scratched or cracked aluminium platters in desktop computers, for example. All of this is possible thanks to modern forensic laboratories. Some labs can even retrieve your data without spinning the platters.

3. Hole Drilling

Break old hard drive with drill

Drilling holes in the platters are an excellent way to make them illegible. You can use a drill or the traditional hammer and nail method to accomplish this. Another option is to disassemble the hard disc and grind and/or sand the platters' surfaces instead of drilling holes. If you don't already own a drill, this could be a good incentive to purchase one.

4. Do not overwrite

Overwrite capabilities in Windows and Mac OS X software can help you secure data. The disadvantage is that it may leave 'ghost' traces that can be recovered by other programmes or specialists. Overwritten files, even if no one can read them anymore, do not sit well with the jury if your hard disc is involved in a lawsuit. This is because it makes you appear guilty, even if you aren't.

5. Fire/Heat

Break old hard drive with fire

Most people will tell you that you should burn or melt your hard disc. This can be difficult because their magnetic characteristics normally necessitate a lot of heat. Not to mention that the fumes that will be released are hazardous to your health. This procedure is effective, but it is not encouraged.

You can use a blowtorch or a conventional bonfire for this. If you have a kiln, you may put it in there because most kilns create roughly 1,500 °C (2,732 °F) of heat, which is enough to permanently disintegrate your sensitive data.

Microwaves are used by some people, yet they can be dangerous. Even if it is effective at melting the platter's surface, it may take some time because microwaves are not particularly hot. Furthermore, you risk destroying the kitchen equipment rather than the hard disc.

6. Alkaline

What is the most effective method? Wipe the hard drive with a programme before physically destroying it, preferably with acid to make any data inaccessible. Keep in mind that this could produce dangerous gases, so take precautions. Wear protective clothing and perform this outside where there is adequate airflow. Diluted hydrochloric or muriatic acid, for example, should accomplish the task perfectly.

After that, recycle the old components of your computer or laptop (or gift them, if there are usable components). You may or may not have the proper facilities for disposing of/recycling electronic garbage, or e-waste, depending on where you live. Coordinate with authorities for more information so you can properly dispose of your electronics.

Destroying Old Hard Disks Data

If you want to get rid of your old hard drives without leaving any trace, this is the way to go. The software for you is EaseUS BitWiper.

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Dispose of old hard drives without leaving a trace

It may wipe data from partitions, delete the entire disc, and even clean up computer files.

EaseUS BitWiper is more than just a data or hard disc wiper. It has extensive features that allow you to shred files and protect your personal data in addition to the data wipe feature. This utility can be used by any Windows user to reset their hard drive to its original condition.


  • Wipe HDD/SSD, external hard drive, USB, SD card, and other devices for free.
  • Shred any files or folders you don't need.
Pros Cons
  • A variety of disc wiping algorithms
  • Wipe partition data. • Wipe disc data on HDD/SSD, external USB, and other storage devices.
  • Erased data is irreversibly lost.
  • Some complex wiping methods do not come without a cost.

Data Wipe Software Free Download:

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Destroy Old Hard Drives by Attacking Platter

#1. Crushing a hard drive

Crash old hard drive

Crushing a hard drive by driving over it with a car is ineffective. It's like rolling a steamroller over it. Who, on the other hand, has a steamroller at home?

Crushing a hard drive at home has been done with hydraulic presses capable of producing tone’s of force. Not everyone has one, but if they had a friend who worked on automobiles frequently, they could have used it.

A good old 5 pound sledge hammer has also been utilised if a press isn't available. This sends a slew of sharp objects flying. Some folks have put the hard drive in a thick cloth bag before pretending to be Thor to assist prevent this.

#2. Smash the platters and disassemble the hard drive

Smash old hard drive

Some people have a T7x50mm screwdriver and have removed the screws from the hard drive case with it. They then pried the case apart with a hammer and a small pry bar, tapping the pry bar into cracks in the case.

They would take the platters out of the case and pound them or step on them and scuff them across a hard surface, scratching them to the point of being worthless.


Hard drive disposal can be done in a variety of ways. You can wipe your hard drive without causing any physical damage if you want to reuse it. If it's no longer useful, you can physically destroy it so that no one can access your files.

However, seeing the insides of a hard drive is fascinating, and there are some powerful rare earth magnets inner that are exciting to play with but potentially dangerous.

You can never be too cautious when it comes to data security and privacy. Don't forget to wipe your data clean before getting rid of your electronics, whether you're getting rid of them because you got new goods or selling them.