How to Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer?

How to Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer

You are planning to recycle or donate your computer. But you can’t just give away your hard drive to someone. You need to know that How to Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer? The hard drive is the main thing in your computer that has all your data over it. It contains all your confidential data. That includes all your logins, social security numbers, and most important the passwords of your credit card numbers,
Thus, it would be best to be sure that the data you have on your drive is permanently gone forever or no one can recover it.
So, you need to destroy the hard drive before recycling the computer. The data is erased or reformatted on the hard drive using data-wiping software. Still, the wiped information is lying there on the hard drive. It makes it more important to destroy the hard drive before recycling.

Before destroying the part, it’s essential to know where the data is stored.

Where the Data Store:

The hard drive contains a silver-like disk which is called a platter. Platters are the disks that resemble DVDs. And all your data is stored on it. A circuit board acts on a platter using the write/read arm. The platters are composed of concentric magnetic rings that record and store data when rotating at high speed. These disks come in different sizes and ages, which makes their performance vary. For example, 2.5″ hard drives platters are made of glass. If we talk about 3.5″ hard drive platters, they are made of aluminum.

Methods to destroy the hard drive before recycling computer:

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #1


Before destroying the hard drive, make sure to back up all your data. Data backups are an important step in ensuring that you can restore your data on your new computer.
One option is to use a USB external hard drive . These drives can be plugged into any computer and have the ability to store a lot of information on them. Another option is to use a cloud-based storage. Cloud storage services are great for backing up your personal files and documents. Cloud Storage is a very convenient and easy way to back up personal information such as photos, videos, and contacts. It is also a very good way to store important documents or something that you have made for yourself or another person for later reference.

Wiping the Hard Drive:

Before destroying the hard drive, it’s a good idea to make a backup of it and then wipe it out with software. There are tons of software available to do this.
There are some free of them and paid one too. Using the software, wipe out all the data on the hard drive. It’s not a secure option because there is ghost memory in which some deleted data are lay in there. But, this is a good practice to wipe it out first. Also, if you want to reuse this particular hard drive, it will be suitable to use.

Removing the Drive:

For this, you will need a set of screwdrivers that containers all sizes and shapes. This is necessary in order to take the hard drive out of the computer and open the case.
Use the screwdriver that can easily open the case of your computer. Open it up and remove the case. Now try to locate the hard drive. Specifically, it will be a rectangular, slim metal box. Once you discover the hard disk, remove it from the computer carefully.

Opening the Drive and Accessing the Internal Components:

Once the hard drive is successfully removed from the computer. Now it’s time to open it up. You can access the platters and circuit board by opening the metal casing. This is a crucial part to access the platters to destroy the hard drives before recycling a computer.
Use the correct screwdriver for opening check the screws that are used in the hard drive casing. Remove the screws, and after that, remove the metal casing to see the internal drive.

Scratching the Platters:

After removing the hard drive case and revealing the internal components, it’s time to destroy the hard drive. All the data is stored over the platters and read/written through the arm that is above it.
Using the screwdriver, open the screw and detach the arm and take out the platters. Start scratching the platters with the screwdriver. In this way, it destroys the hard drive before recycling the computer.
To be on the safe side. You can take a step further and destroy the circuit board also because all the operations on the drive are performed by the board. It’s better to destroy it too completely.

So, the platters can’t be accessed for sure.

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #2

Shred-it into a million bits:

The best and the fast way of destroying the hard drive is to shred it into millions of pieces. You can take it to someone who has the shredded, or you can also avail it on rent if any is available around you. Put the hard drive into it and see the hard drive turning into pieces.

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #3


Bashing with a hammer is also a good option available. Remove the hard drive, Take a hammer hit it on the hard disk repeatedly. Bashed it to the point that the platter is wholly destroyed. This way, the hard drive will not be usable.

bashing with hammer,

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #4


You can also try the nail with the hammer. Put the steel nail on it and hit the hammer on it on different sides with different angles. Make sure to hit every inch of it. Because data is spread all over the platters, even a small division may contain the data.

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #5


There is an alternative to the nail and hammer, which is drilling. Take a drill and start making holes on a platter. This is a faster way than a traditional nail and hammer.

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #6


For destroying the hard drive before recycling a computer, you can also use acid, which is dangerous. For this, you need proper space with ventilation, where you can do this. Don’t try it at home. Along with it, masks, gloves, and clothing to be safe. Because ventilation and apparel are essential, you need chemicals like hydrochloric or muriatic acid. Which can be purchased or maybe you can find at your home.

Destroy Hard Drive Before Recycling Computer Method #7

Service Providers:

Now a days,  service providers are available for destroying the hard drive before recycling the computer. They will ruin the hard drive securely and discard it. You can avail of their services for this purpose. You can find it there with a simple google search “hard drive destruction services” near me or destroy hard drive service provider.

Not a Recommended Methods:

Heating the Hard Drive:

Heating up the hard drive or melting it is also an option. But it is not recommended. It requires a lot of high heat to melt down the hard drive. Also, the fumes which come out from it are intoxicated and impaired for your health. For destroying the hard drive and information on it, The heat you need is about 1,500 °C or 2,732 °F.


Some people may suggest microwaving it, but this is also a terrible idea. Also, the heat produced by the microwaves is not enough to melt down the information on platters. It will just ruin the microwave.
Next is to recycle your computer or laptop.


Your data is too necessary; it contains all your logins, passwords, credit card details, and much more. Hard drive recycling should ideally need to be done with caution before recycling your computer.
Better to be on the safer side and proctor your data on the hard drive from all kinds of thefts. So, it can’t be accessible or recovered. For this, you have to make sure that the hard drive is destroyed at the point that it becomes useless and saves you from all troubles.
Please make sure you consult with the recycling companies for computers, so it also saves the environment.

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