Secure Hard Drive Format

In case you didn’t know, when you ‘format’ a computer’s hard drive (or delete a file for that matter), it doesn’t necessarily remove the data properly, it just marks those sectors as being available to write over in the future. If you don’t actually write anything over them, then there is a distinct chance that someone can recover that data, using an excellent program such as R-STUDIO (which I bought a copy of, to recover data off my broken laptop, as described in this post).

So anyway, there are a number of ways that you can go about deleting something permanently, but I figured that the best approach was a physical one. I had an old drive that I was retiring (well, it retired itself on account of a hardware failure), so I decided that now was the chance to test my procedure, here’s how it all went down;

  1. Remove drive from host machine
  2. Remove PCB board from the bottom of the drive (you can just lever it off with a screwdriver if you don’t have the right type of screwdriver for the screws… you won’t be needing it again 🙂
  3. Place the drive so that the side where the PCB board was is *down*, and one end is supported on a small ledge (a doorstep works nicely)
  4. Place pressure (i.e. stand) in the middle of the drive, angling your foot to ensure that the blade of your foot is applying the pressure to the drive
  5. Continue standing/jumping on the drive until you hear a snapping sound, and then hopefully a pleasant little ‘tinkle’
  6. Review the situation: you should have broken the aluminium framing of the drive, which in turn allowed you to shatter the disk platters, which will now be on the ground and inside the drive.

You can now clean up the pieces of drive platter, and if you’re really paranoid, dispose of them separately. Otherwise, throw them all in the bin and you can be pretty confident that your drive is very permanently erased.

NOTE: I take no responsibility whatsoever for the damage of your drives, their proceeding uselessness, or any potential recovery of the data that may or may not have been on the drive!