Is scratching the platter good enough to destroy the hard drive?

hajime

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Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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Hello, I was able to take out the platters of most old hard drives. I do not have an electric drill nor a cutting machine. Is scratching the surface of the platters good enough to prevent somebody to access the data in it?
 

rigormortis

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Jun 11, 2009
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Hello, I was able to take out the platters of most old hard drives. I do not have an electric drill nor a cutting machine. Is scratching the surface of the platters good enough to prevent somebody to access the data in it?
man, from what i heard just breathing on the platter would destroy it.

some hard drives manufactured before 2006 may contain lead.

for $3 each you can send hard disks to cyber crunch recycling to be destroyed as long as you pay for postage, and do not ask for other services, like a proof of destruction video or letter

im sending them some drives in a flat rate box
[doublepost=1461928256][/doublepost]apple believes we should leave this planet better for the next generation, and you should to. please donate your unused hard disk or please dispose of your hard disks responsibly.
 
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hajime

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Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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I heard that dust could damage the hard drive but from the net, some companies could recover at least some data even if the HD is scratched or has holes on it. I guess breaking into two pieces would do.
 

rigormortis

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Jun 11, 2009
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i dunno why you guys want to breathe in lead so much, we removed lead from gasoline , over 99 % of car batteries are recycled now. but for some strange reason we have people exposing themselves to it by smashing their drives and don't want to spend the $3 to dispose of it

use the hammer when the cops show up with a search warrant
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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i dunno why you guys want to breath in lead so much,
some hard drives manufactured before 2006 may contain lead.
Who says the drive has lead in it, you yourself mention that some makers 10+ years have used it. I'd hazard a guess and say that most hard drives in use today are newer then 10 years and the OP's not asking to destroy a 10 year old drive.

Smash it with a hammer and be done with it. Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?
 
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rigormortis

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Jun 11, 2009
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Who says the drive has lead in it, you yourself mention that some makers 10+ years have used it. I'd hazard a guess and say that most hard drives in use today are newer then 10 years and the OP's not asking to destroy a 10 year old drive.

Smash it with a hammer and be done with it. Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?

I'm just repeating what apple says. everyone gets all bent out shape about keurig pods, but if question
the practice of smashing a drive to bits and throwing it in the garbage, i get picked on and yelled at



its already a mountain. I'm not making anything of it


[doublepost=1461933272][/doublepost]google says the 500 GB Toshiba Canvio Slim II Portable External HDD manufactured in 2015 contains lead. it has a prop 65 warning. so there
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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but if question
the practice of smashing a drive to bits and throwing it in the garbage, i get picked on and yelled at
You're moving the goal posts, you were having issue with lead poisoning, which I refuted as a non-issue for most in 2016
i dunno why you guys want to breathe in lead so much
The OP has a series of recommendations, he can choose what works best for him.
 

Mernak

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2006
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Kirkland, WA
There are three pretty easy ways to make it pretty unreadable that wouldn't be too hard. It won't be at the level of some of the professional disk destruction machines, but would be pretty hard to recover without a lot of dedication.

<EDIT> 0) Encypt your hard drive and secure erase (I think 3 times is a reasonably considered sufficient even against dedicated attacks with some of the newer tests) - Make it so that any data they do recover should be more or less unusable (I'm guessing it might be too late to do this in your case, but for future reference)
1) Magnet on the platter - Good first pass, still possible to recover with some analysis on the magnetic portions
2) Scratch the platter - I don't actually remember quite what this does, but I know it is suggested
3) Bending the platter - This makes it difficult for most machines to read since it has to basically exactly follow the drive in 3 dimensions instead of 2, while maintaining a steady distance and angle to the platter. You can basically take 2 wrenches on opposite side of the platters and bend, then rotate a bit and bend the other way (I think 2-3 pairs of bending is usually good, ideally you won't have flat areas where some data could still be read relatively easy)
 
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Mr. Buzzcut

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Jul 25, 2011
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I'm just repeating what apple says. everyone gets all bent out shape about keurig pods, but if question
the practice of smashing a drive to bits and throwing it in the garbage, i get picked on and yelled at



its already a mountain. I'm not making anything of it


[doublepost=1461933272][/doublepost]google says the 500 GB Toshiba Canvio Slim II Portable External HDD manufactured in 2015 contains lead. it has a prop 65 warning. so there
A little OT but ALL electronics have contained lead depending on if / when they changed to lead free solder. And ALL electronics should be disposed of properly. This thread is regarding data destruction / privacy.

OP, how important is the data? Simply removing the platters is enough to prevent someone not extremely motivated from recovering the data. Beat them up a bit and take to electronics recycler. Done.
 

RootBeerMan

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Jan 3, 2016
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I take mine apart and hammer the platter. Kids get the magnets. And everything then goes in the trash. Hammers are very effective, as others have said.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
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What are you trying to protect yourself again? There are scavengers that take hard drives out of computers in the dumpster and try to read them. Bend all the contacts, or open the case and destroy the read heads if you are paranoid, and no normal criminal is going to read it.

If you are afraid of the NSA or some foreign nation state, remove the platters, then type "will it blend" into Google and follow the instructions. Except for the bit where they say "don't try this at home".
 

Mcmeowmers

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2015
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i dunno why you guys want to breathe in lead so much, we removed lead from gasoline , over 99 % of car batteries are recycled now. but for some strange reason we have people exposing themselves to it by smashing their drives and don't want to spend the $3 to dispose of it

use the hammer when the cops show up with a search warrant

And be charged with destruction of evidence?! But I didn't do anything illegal! My privacy rights must be exercised!! I'm not crazy! I know my rights!!