Had an external hard drive fail, do I smash it or just recycle it?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the drive uses full-disk encryption, one ought to be able to toss it without any further action.

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Yes to the extent that your paranoia will let you, encryption is really on as secure as computers are slow.

Thus with unlimited access to your drive and an infinite amount of time you can break any encryption. Does it matter to you if in thirty years some bloke with a quantum computer could potentially decipher the drive, maybe.

I and I think many others don’t want to even take the risk that there might be something we don’t want stored in it and will go to extream lengths to destroy drives.

Most people don’t really care and don’t do anything when they end of life a drive beyond throwing it in the trash

Living on an island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, I just wipe them and get a bucket of sea (salt) water and soak them for awhile.

If the drive is stil accessible: wiping one is enough. I use dd with random data.

If not: I shred them.

An other bad day for failing hard drives…


Today’s casualties…



I tried that once. Gave up after I snapped two general-purpose bits. I suppose with a drill press, a suitable bit, and a solid clamp it’s doable but holding the drive down to a workbench with a C-clamp and using a hand-held drill didn’t go well for me.

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… they just drill a few holes straight through the drive casing, no messing with weird star-shaped screwdrivers.

And that is exactly how I do it. I hate it trying to get inside the drive casing. Drilling a few holes through the casing and the platters is just the easiest way as far as I am concerned.

I used my Bosch Rotary Hammer in combination with a nice steel drill.

Business expense: 1 Chiappa Rhino 60DS hard-drive deletion and data-protection kit


Love it.

Actually, if you are a farm with livestock, firearms ARE a business expense. We use them to protect our stock from predators when the fences and guard dogs are not enough. Even fruit growers can claim a shotgun as a business expense because they use them to shoot cracker shells to scare birds away from the fruit.

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Has to be the “Hulk Smash” option, Sledgehammer in the shed.

Actually, having NSA or someone else spend a processor-century (2018 processor) decrypting my disk only to find my family pictures, pedestrian email, and documents pulled from the web makes me grin.
More seriously, when we have to dispose of SSDs, encryption may be the only reliable method. It also makes it much easier when you get rid of an entire computer.

Love the Chiappa Rhino!

SSD 's can be easily shredded in a blender :wink:

Pfff. I’ll take that sucker to the range and ventilate it with my Sig 9mm! :smiley:

l don’t like clean up after… the members seem to like paper and steels better.

I regret throwing out a hard drive that had an issue. If i saved it I could have recovered a huge chunk of my digital life when funds were more available. But I was young and dumb. 3.5” drives don’t take up much space unless your saving dozens.

But in this case just wack it a couple times.

Quick work with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
I doubt anyone would easily recover data from this drive.


Be extremely careful with those rare earth magnets. They have been known to cause painful injuries, which usually involve pinching the user’s fingers.