How To Destroy, Dispose, or Damage a Hard Drive?

10 minutes read

In today’s digital day and age, protecting and safeguarding your sensitive data is non-negotiable. Properly disposing of your old hard drive is absolutely necessary in order to maintain privacy and security.
This write-up explains you all the essential solutions to help you safely and securely destroy any hard drive, making sure your sensitive remains protected.

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Our computers and storage devices, like the Hard Drive, are storehouses of data and personal information, including personal information, work documents, financial records, family photos and videos, proprietary business data, and other vital yet confidential information and sensitive data. 

Since hard drives store our files, folders, and other vital data. Simply throwing it away or dumping or trashing it would be disasterous and have severe consequences. Exposing individuals and organizations to privacy or data breaches, theft of identity, corporate espionage, compromised data security and might also invite legal liabilities in certain cases. 

Additionally, a few of you might think of deleting the files or formatting the drive to safeguard your data. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea. Since anyone who gets his hands on your Hard Drive, might be able to employ several sophisticated data recovery techniques to recover the deleted, lost, or even formatted data. This poses a massive risk. 

You might wonder what to do in such cases and how you can ensure your device won’t fall into the wrong hands. The answer is to destroy your Hard Drive so that reassembling it and recovering data from it becomes impossible.

This article will show you how to destroy computer hard drives and other external hard drives completely, as well as explain to you how to properly dispose of your files and data beyond recovery.

Before you proceed to damage your drive. Let's take a minute and explore backups. Since the data that is saved in the drive you are about to damage will be lost forever. 

Backups are essentially a copy of your files that are saved on a seperate drive. You can take a backup of the data and save it on any other encrypted drive or Cloud. 

How to Destroy Hard Drive?

You need to be very clear about whether you want to completely destroy your drive or safely dispose of your data.

This can be done in two ways: Soft Destruction and Hard Destruction.

Soft Destruction refers to the process of disposing of your confidential data and sensitive information in a safe manner, where the chance of recovering them is absolutely zero. This ensures complete data protection.

Hard Destruction refers to the process of physically damaging or destroying and dismantling the hard drive, which makes reassembling it and accessing the data unthinkable.

This section explains both of these solutions and guides you through various ways to do it.

Method 1: Destroying Hard Drive Data Using Soft Destruction Techniques

If the user wants to delete a file, the best way is to wipe or erase the drive; one can also shred the files or even corrupt them instead of destroying the drive. These are known as Soft Hard Drive Destruction techniques.

Solution 1: Completely Wipe your Drive:

Remo Drive Wipe is a specialized software designed to securely erase data from various storage devices, including Hard Drives. 

Remo uses advanced algorithms and wiping techniques that are approved and used by various governments and law enforcement agencies across the world.

  1. Fast Zero Overwrite
  2. Random Overwrite
  3. DOD Standard 5220.22.M
  4. NAVSO – RLL
  5. NATO standard
  6. VSITR standard
  7. DOD Standard 5220.28.M STD
  8. Peter Gutmann Method
  9. DoD 5220.22-M + Peter Gutmann Method

All of these techniques overwrite the existing data multiple times to ensure the old data can never be recovered. 

Download the tool by clicking on the above button and start wiping your hard disk beyond recovery.

The next solution is to corrupt your files, making them inaccessible and unusable to you and anyone else. 

Solution 2: Corrupt A File:

Corrupt a File is Remo Software’s newest product. Unlike other products that are ready for download, it is a web application designed to intentionally corrupt files and make them unreadable and unusable.

corrupt your files before you destroy a hard drive

You just need to upload your file(s) by clicking on the Add File button and start the process of corrupting files by clicking on the Corrupt option. 

Once the process is complete, you need to download the files.

Solution 3: Degaussing:

Degaussing machines are specialized devices that are designed to generate a strong magnetic field that can erase data on magnetic storage devices such as Hard drives. 

For this solution, you need to choose a degausser machine that is appropriate for and compatible with the hard drive you intend to destroy.

Follow the instructions in the instruction manual. The most common instructions include placing the hard drive in the machine, starting the data or drive degaussing process, verifying the success of the process, and discarding the hard drive.

This section talks about destroying your data beyond recovery. But if you want to destroy or get rid of your drive, you can follow the solutions mentioned below.

Method 2: Physically Destroy Hard Drive Using Hard Destruction Techniques

Hard Destruction techniques mean physically damaging the hard drive, ensuring it can’t be reused.

There are various ways to do that. You can drill the drive using a drilling machine, hammer it, or puncture it using sharp objects. You can also use industrial-grade tools like a hard drive shredder and bender.

Step 1: Remove the Hard Drive from the Computer

Before you go ahead, discard and destroy your hard disk. You first need to remove your disk from the computer, which allows you to access it directly.

Step 2: Remove the External Casing

Once you have removed your drive from your computer, the next step is to remove the external enclosure or casing surrounding it. These days, many hard drives come with a protective layer or enclosure, also known as a drive case. Removing this external case is vital to accessing the hard drive and its components.  

Now that you have your hard drive with you. It's time to destroy and discard it completely.

Do note: use special protective gear like glasses and gloves before you proceed further. 

Step 3: Physically Destroy the Hard Disk

Users have several options to physically destroy the device, including:

- Hammering: As the name suggests, you need to use a heavy-duty hammer to try this technique. Continuously strike the hard drive, focusing on the disk platters and other internal components.

- Drilling: The next solution on this list is to use a drilling machine or drill press to drill several holes in the hard drive. Ensure the disk is completely punctured and cannot be reused.

- Blending: This solution can be fun. All you need is a powerful blender. Just throw your Hard Drive that you want to destroy or dispose of into the blender and blend it. Once done, you will see small pieces of your destroyed drive.

- Incinerate: In simple terms, burn your hard drive to destroy it. This is a sure-fire (pun intended) way to ensure that your hard disk is destroyed completely. You can also contact a professional digital data or electronic drive destruction service to help you with data destruction.

These were the DIY techniques that any hard drive user in any part of the world can use for free. If you are looking for more complicated techniques, you can try the ones mentioned below.

Specialized techniques:

- Shredding: Similar to shredding paper, professional shredder tools can physically shred the hard drive into small pieces, ensuring the complete destruction of your drive components.

- Hard Drive Destroyer: In addition to the hard drive shredder tools, you can also use Hard Drive Destroyer tools by Garner, Proton Data, Phiston Technologies, etc., to quickly destroy your Hard Drive or any other storage device beyond repair or recovery.

Do note that these machines are really expensive. So, if you are a single user, I suggest you contact specialized Hard Drive destruction services such as PROSHRED® near you, or you can destroy your hard drive by yourself using the first four solutions mentioned above.

Step 4: Disposal of the Debris or the Remnants

Collect the remaining parts of the destroyed hard drive and dispose of them in accordance with the local laws and regulations, or you can also send the remains to the recycling centers.

I am sure that after using these steps, you were able to destroy your data and safely dispose of your computer hard drive.


The necessity of securely destroying a hard drive cannot be ignored, especially in this digitally interconnected world. Where compromised data security and data breaches are day-to-day problems.

This is when it becomes extremely important to securely discard your outdated devices at the same time safeguarding your sensitive information and also ensuring compliance with data protection and security regulations.

In this article, we have answered one of the most commonly asked questions on the internet, “How to destroy a hard disk drive?” We also explained to you “how to dispose of old hard drives and” as well as explained you “how to physically destroy a hard drive.” Where solutions like Wiping the Drive with sophisticated data sanitization methods and corrupting the file intentionally are explained as solutions to safeguard your confidential data, and physically damaging the drive is encouraged as a way to discard and dispose of your drive in a safe manner.

About the Author: Hamid Imtiaz

Hamid Imtiaz is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Remo Software, where he leads the charge in developing cutting-edge solutions in the fields of data recovery, data security, and data forensics. With a strong engineering background, Hamid has a keen eye for detail and a meticulous approach to his work. His expertise spans a wide…