How to dispose of a hard drive securely on a Wednesday afternoon in Berlin

I’m doing some long due consolidation of my data and decided to get rid of some old firewire hard disks. I’m not that comfortable throwing away personal storage media though. So this is how I disposed of them.

First I erased all content by writing zeros on the whole disk, which takes several hours.

Then I started the mechanical destruction of the hard disks.

This is what it looked like under the cover, a regular 3.5 inch disk. A bit like an old record player, which basically is what a hard drive is:


I started by drilling on the disk, which was a bit tricky since it started to rotate:




Then I tried to hammer nails through the disk, but it proved too hard:


So I turned the hammer around and scratched the disk instead:


Then I looked more closely and realised that there were four reading heads and two disks that had data on both sides:


So I took out the disks and repeated the procedure on each side of them:


Last of all I biked to the recycling place to throw away the stuff in the right container:



Ah, it feels good to be two hard disks lighter!

2 Responses to How to dispose of a hard drive securely on a Wednesday afternoon in Berlin

  1. chris January 8, 2014 at 20:19 #

    Did you save the magnets? Best fridge magnets ever. But put a string in them or they could be hard to remove from the fridge…

    • Karl January 8, 2014 at 20:30 #

      I threw away everything, but I wonder which parts were the magnets…

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