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Old 05-02-2012, 12:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hard Drive question

I have an external hard drive that has died. I don't think there is any personal info on it but just in case how do I ensure the data is un recoverable before I get rid of the drive?
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How "unrecoverable" do you want it?

Turning it into ash is fairly fool-proof.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Also are you sure it's the drive as opposed to the usb to ide/sata adapter inside the case?

But very strong magnetic fields should work if it's a platter type, another way is to pop to top off and use sand paper on all the platers as it spins.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It takes a hell of an magnetic field to have any impact on a drive. I even tested a huge magnet that looks like a chunk of I-beam. It would grab a drive from about 6" away. I tried about a dozen different drives, flipping them around, leaving them on it, moving them around..etc. It had no affect and all were still completely readable.

If you can't wipe it with software the next easiest way is to just drill some holes through it. Some data might be recoverable but not by an average joe and the people who can do it aren't gonna care about it. Generally, I take them apart. Lots of good scrap there (the boards especially), the magnets are fun and if you don't enjoy playing around with the platters (they're a nice lightweight mirror) you can just destroy them and toss em in the bin.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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take the drive apart, use the platters for coasters
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It takes a hell of an magnetic field to have any impact on a drive.
Indeed, I believe it's on the order of 1.3 Tesla. Only way to get that sort of strength is from (BIG) RE magnets and electromagnets.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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take the drive apart, use the platters for coasters
This ^^^

They make pretty slick coasters.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I destroy drives for clients all the time. Sometimes, intentionally. I use a 1/8 inch drill bit and go through the casing into the platters. I'll make a few holes with that method and then toss it into the trash can.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Also are you sure it's the drive as opposed to the usb to ide/sata adapter inside the case?
I'd check that, as I've had more enclosures die on me than drives...
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