Hard Drive Disposal

I have a dozen old hard drives. Last time I tried to hook them up, I couldn’t get any of them to read - but that may or may not have been the cable. As far as I’m aware none of them have anything even remotely “confidential” on them - but I’d also prefer to dispose of them in such a way that the average Curious Joe can’t recover things from them.

Shredding is prohibitively expensive ($15 a drive or so around here), so not keen on going that route.

How would y’all dispose of them?

Bash ‘em with a sledgehammer.


I drill a hole through them (through the platters), then as @jec0047 said, bash them with a hammer.


I give them to my son (18), who enjoys beating them with a crowbar.

He says it’s very therapeutic.


There’a a lot of different options :scream::stuck_out_tongue:

Take it to the gun range :slight_smile:


Do you use a drill press?

I’ve actually done this with my dad. Great bonding experience. I didn’t inherit his marksmanship (he’s incredible), but I am confident that no data will ever be read off those platters!


I take them apart and retrieve the magnets. Very strong and useful. The scratch the platters and toss.

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I fall into the drill ‘em full of holes group. Actually only a couple of 3/8 inch normally.

Most USB drives these days have glass platters so one hit with a hammer is enough, so start with that. If you hear the pieces rattling around when you shake it you’re done, if not see above.

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Nope, just a cordless drill.

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Any particular bit type? Hardness, material, … ?

Thermite. It’s the only way to be sure.


Really any twist bit should work. The top cover appears to be thin stainless, and the platters are aluminum or perhaps glass.

So many good suggestions here so I’ll just echo my top ones

targets - bonus if you can actually hit the hole in the middle :sunglasses:
thermite - but not if you are in an area that is dry or at risk of wildfire
sledgehammer - great for reducing anger but watch out for flying pieces and wear eye protection BTDT you don’t really want to know the whole story
drill holes - see above re sledgehammer also BTDT

And good points for destroying them yourself. You may not think there is any critical data on them but you never know.

I honestly think that you’d be hard pressed to find a drive that doesn’t have more sensitive data on it than you think (at least any drive used as a system drive).

This is also a reason that I encrypt every drive that I use except for those that exist to share data with non-Macs.

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Speaking of, I bought a used Beige-G3 at a local computer fix-it shop. Booted it up and OS-9 was there, poked around and found a spread sheet from a local school system with over a thousand students’ information; name, address, birthdate, social security number.

Most of these were external storage, but yeah - I agree 100%. When I’m talking about “sensitive data” I’m more talking about stuff where there would be either highly confidential financial information, or something that I’d have to take extra care with per some sort of law.

None of that - just the normal level of “sensitive”. :smiley:

Just make sure there aren’t any bitcoinz in there :joy: man throws $100 million USD in bitcoins to trash

It’s stories like this that make me feel better when I screw up. :smile:

At least Mr. Howells was careless. Let us not forget Ronald Wayne who sold a 10% share of Apple for $800 on purpose.

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