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Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the ten-is-better-than-one dept.

Security 289

Barence writes "Following his blog last week about the homemade hard disk destroyer, Bustadrive, Mike Jennings was deluged with comments from readers, both on the blog and here on Slashdot. Most seemed to like the product, but also offered up far more innovative and madcap methods of hard disk destruction, with a wide range of implements used — household and otherwise. In this follow-up post, he rounds up the best of an imaginative bunch of hard disk destruction methods."

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Missing option (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149101)

Install Vista on it?

Re:Missing option (1)

ashtophoenix (929197) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149681)

I had an Windows XP Professional and Ubuntu Desktop (dual boot) on my Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop and the hard disk started making funny sounds. Eventually it crashed.
Since the machine was old, I thought this could be normal wear and tear. I bought a second hard disk and reinstalled Ubuntu only this time (no windows). The second one started making the same sounds in about 15 days and crashed soon after.
I bought a new Thinkpad after that with Windows Vista. Then I dual boot installed Ubuntu (8.9 I think). The hard disk started making the same sound and then I started researching and learned that with the LAPTOP MODE Enabled on that particular Ubuntu release, the hard disk could crash due to excessive parking. I upgraded to the next Ubuntu release and turned off LAPTOP MODE (I think) and that fixed it.

Just to clarify, I am a Linux guy.

Re:Missing option (1)

andre_pl (1607319) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150059)

"Just to clarify, I am a Linux guy."

I call BS. A "Linux Guy" would know that 8.9 is not a valid ubuntu version number.

Re:Missing option (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150089)

The "laptop mode" issue was, however, a real one...

Linux isn't that great, and Ubuntu isn't that friendly. It just happens to be the only choice for many people, for various reasons.

How about: Write zeros to the disk? (5, Insightful)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149103)

Write zeros. Once. Problem solved. Then you can sell the disk.

Physical destruction is only necessary if the disk is already broken, and you can't erase it properly.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149207)

A good forensic IT guy can recover data from something that has merely been written once with zeros.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (3, Interesting)

gobbligook (465653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149265)

Not too sure about this one anymore. Back in the day certainly.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149283)

Now who the hell is going to trust a post from an NPC. Damn DM is trying to fool us again.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (0)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149291)

Exactly. Not to mention that with hard drive sizes these days, securely deleting the data would take hours or days per drive. That might not be a big deal if you are getting rid of a handful of drives and have a couple spare computers but if you are getting rid of dozens of drives or more, just destroying them saves a lot of time.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149343)

No he can not. There is not a single data recovery company in the whole wide world advertising this capability and there isn't a single lawsuit in which data from an overwritten disk has been used as evidence. Data recovery from overwritten hard disks is BULLSHIT.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (2, Insightful)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149361)

He has a less chance to recover any data than if it was shot with a shotgun, as suggested by the article. I'm unconvinced that data can be retrieved back after the drive has been written with zeroes ones, much less that there are much people on Slashdot who would ever work with a hard drive that will end up at the good forensic IT guy, but for them there are better erasing programs. Certainly better than a shotgun, which might leave huge parts of the plates intact, if you don't shoot it enough times.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (4, Funny)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149593)

After shooting a hard drive with a shotgun once, I'm pretty sure you going to want to keep shooting it.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149507)

Who the hell modded this informative?

It's perpetuating a myth.

Even Guttman says that with modern hard disks it's impossible to retrieve data once overwritten.

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html [auckland.ac.nz]

Epilogue
In the time since this paper was published, some people have treated the 35-pass overwrite technique described in it more as a kind of voodoo incantation to banish evil spirits than the result of a technical analysis of drive encoding techniques. As a result, they advocate applying the voodoo to PRML and EPRML drives even though it will have no more effect than a simple scrubbing with random data. In fact performing the full 35-pass overwrite is pointless for any drive since it targets a blend of scenarios involving all types of (normally-used) encoding technology, which covers everything back to 30+-year-old MFM methods (if you don't understand that statement, re-read the paper). If you're using a drive which uses encoding technology X, you only need to perform the passes specific to X, and you never need to perform all 35 passes. For any modern PRML/EPRML drive, a few passes of random scrubbing is the best you can do. As the paper says, "A good scrubbing with random data will do about as well as can be expected". This was true in 1996, and is still true now.

Looking at this from the other point of view, with the ever-increasing data density on disk platters and a corresponding reduction in feature size and use of exotic techniques to record data on the medium, it's unlikely that anything can be recovered from any recent drive except perhaps a single level via basic error-cancelling techniques. In particular the drives in use at the time that this paper was originally written have mostly fallen out of use, so the methods that applied specifically to the older, lower-density technology don't apply any more. Conversely, with modern high-density drives, even if you've got 10KB of sensitive data on a drive and can't erase it with 100% certainty, the chances of an adversary being able to find the erased traces of that 10KB in 80GB of other erased traces are close to zero.

Also:

http://sansforensics.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/overwriting-hard-drive-data/ [wordpress.com]

What this means

The other overwrite patterns actually produced results as low as 36.08% (+/- 0.24). Being that the distribution is based on a binomial choice, the chance of guessing the prior value is 50%. That is, if you toss a coin, you have a 50% chance of correctly choosing the value. In many instances, using a MFM to determine the prior value written to the hard drive was less successful than a simple coin toss.

The purpose of this paper was a categorical settlement to the controversy surrounding the misconceptions involving the belief that data can be recovered following a wipe procedure. This study has demonstrated that correctly wiped data cannot reasonably be retrieved even if it is of a small size or found only over small parts of the hard drive. Not even with the use of a MFM or other known methods. The belief that a tool can be developed to retrieve gigabytes or terabytes of information from a wiped drive is in error.

--
BMO

I need to shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149631)

I'm feeling a stream of liquid shit that wants to flow into a bowl...

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (2, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149969)

Thanks for posting this. I posted one of these links last time something like this came up on Slashdot, and I was too lazy to find them again.
 
It's just silly to believe that a device with such a wide margin of error on "normal" data leaves any room for recovery on a wiped drive.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (4, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149583)

Using this logic, all hard drives are capable of infinite capacity.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149951)

citation needed

really this is a bullshit myth

where is adam and jamie ???

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150269)

Oh, really. You should have one of those good forensic guys go here [hostjury.com] and accept the challenge on that page; it would be pretty financially lucrative, if what you say is true. But it isn't true; such a recovery is impossible until proven otherwise.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (0)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149437)

You can still recover the data with an electron microscope because the drive doesn't write the data in exactly the same place every time. If you look round the edges of the blob of zero on the disk, you will see what was there before.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (5, Insightful)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149499)

Citation?

I don't think there is a single legitimate source that has proved this is possible.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (3, Funny)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149995)

Absolutely true.... there is an easy way to avoid that problem in two simple steps. Either one will work:
1. Don't do anything that will raise the ire of someone with access to an appropriate microsocope.
2. If you can't do one, then stop using hard drives from the 1980s. Dude, where do you even find disk controllers for them that work in modern machines?

-Steve

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29150027)

This is probably the reason that 'proper' data wiping requires seven writes of random data.

Though seriously, unless you are the CIA or NSA, or have them on your tail, once is plenty.

Still a good FDE drive that allows for a cryptographic erase will do the job in no time (seriously, it takes very little time as all it has to do is overwrite the encryption key seven times, rather than the whole drive).

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (1)

SBrach (1073190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150221)

Obligatory xkcd. [xkcd.com]

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (4, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150033)

Maybe YOU can, with your handy electron microscope, but mine is still on layaway.

Also, suppose you were trying to recover a specific file from my disk, and you had to use an electron microscope to recover every single bit. There are 1,889,785,610,240 bits on my 220gb hard disk. Assuming one-tenth of a second per bit to scan, you'd still spend about 6,000 years reading the drive to collect all the data. Trust me: the value of that data will have long expired by then.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (2, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150145)

you'd still spend about 6,000 years reading the drive to collect all the data. Trust me: the value of that data will have long expired by then.

Not if it's porn!

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149487)

I'm surprised they only had a list of ten. There must be 50 ways to wipe your platters.

Just give it a whack, Jack.
Smash it with a van, Stan.
Shoot it to destroy, Roy.
Just listen to me.
Soak it till it rusts, Gus.
You don't need to discuss much.
Toss it in the sea, Lee
And get yourself free.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (1, Funny)

Whyte Panther (868438) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149911)

Obligatory XKCD:

50 Ways [xkcd.com]

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150139)

fucking brilliant.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149683)

This way you could record the serial number and a log, and print out a nice little certificate saying that this has happened. None of the ways mentioned in the article help with things like this.
The article should be called Ten Ways to Physically Damage Something.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (1)

tha_toadman (1266560) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149857)

If the D.O.D. (5220.22-M) recommends 3 passes and the NSA recommends 7 passes, then why should anyone believe this statement?

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (2, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149985)

They don't take chances. They don't research. They just do what it takes to be SURE. That doesn't mean that they aren't overly paranoid.

Re:How about: Write zeros to the disk? (3, Insightful)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150107)

Its like this: one close-range shotgun shot to the head kills a man. Wanna be sure the guy is dead? How many bullets do you have?

Spot Welder? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149125)

The average welding torch, meanwhile, is a fully paid-up member of the "life-threatening but enormously enjoyable" club - and there's no denying that a 3,000-degree flame would reduce the average hard disk platter to a pool of reflective liquid quicker than you could say "data protection". It's a superb suggestion from Steve, who also put forward the angle grinder for consideration. We're worried about him.

A not as messy method might be a spot welder [wikipedia.org] . They go by different names but my dad's shop used to have a nice adjustable Miller spot welder that would function great for sheet metal work. Anyway, I can envision a homemade spot welder [youtube.com] (very trivial to make) with a stand around it and two wooden 2' by 2' pieces of plywood with a handle grip sticking up and two hard drive holes counter sunk with a quarter inch lip to hold each drive (for 3.5" and 2.5" drives). Place the hard drive in the selected hole and clamp your spot welder on it and go to town. Mark your initials in it and you should have a pretty solid drive with no mess, no metal shreds laying around, no flying debris or sparks and probably easier to store/recycle/transport. Man, I wish I didn't live in the city and had a wood and metal machine shop.

Re:Spot Welder? (2, Funny)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149317)

Homemade spot-welder is cool, but I think the truly epic way of destroying a hard drive must involve the Flaming Bacon Lance of Death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9dskxN10N0 [youtube.com]

Re:Spot Welder? (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149401)

I used to be a blacksmith, and I still have my forge and tools. My favourite treatment is to heat the whole HDD assembly up to a nice orange/red colour (which is more than sufficient to demagnetise any media), then give it a few wallops with my 300 pound power hammer. The drive comes out about 1 millimetre thick, and I challenge even the most serious boffin to get any data off it after that.

Re:Spot Welder? (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149933)

I've made a couple of spotwelders in my time. It's difficult to homebuild a spotwelder that has sufficient amperage to fry a hard disc for at least the following reasons: the power from a 110V, 20A outlet is unlikely to be sufficient to destroy a hard drive. Transformers for a DIY spotwelder, that can handle over 2kW, get breathtakingly expensive even if you're just talking raw materials to wind your own (which I did) so even if you have a 220V, 30A outlet. Aluminum, from which hard drive cases are made, is *very* difficult to destroy with a spotwelder because it's so conductive, so you have to do semi-exotic tricks with semi-exotic metals for your contacts, rather than standard Miller copper-beryllium electrode tips.

If you want to DIY, make your own plasma cutter and slice the thing up. It's a lot easier, if a bit more dangerous.

You only need one (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149127)

Run bit torrent on a hard drive continuously until it dies. Works every time.

Magnesium (5, Informative)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149131)

If you have the harddisk out of the shell, buy 1 package of sparklers, if it's inside it, get around 4-5 packages (the metal sticks with grayshit on them)

Strip the grayshit (magnesium normally, if its something else it probably wont work as well through the case) and crush it into a powder off of all sparklers but 1, you can strip the last one down to about an inch or so from the tip. Pile it all on the harddisk/shell, light the sparkler tip that's left, insert into the pile, and other than it appearing as though the sun is arm's length in front of you for 5-10 seconds, anything underneath shall be melted/vaporized due to the white hot heat released. I've melted through steel grills at my local beach at night this way before, around 11pm 1 package of sparklers prepared this way lit up the local beach on long island sound for about a mile in all directions as if it was daytime.

Re:Magnesium (5, Funny)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149225)

And when you win a Darwin award, here I'll be able to say, "I knew him when..."

Re:Magnesium (2, Informative)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149287)

How exactly would I get a darwin award for something which is nonexplosive? Magnesium merely burns white hot until it's all gone.

Re:Magnesium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149469)

Stop spoiling our gory fantasies!

Re:Magnesium (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150129)

It may not be explosive, but you're still playing with fire [darwinawards.com] .

(only fire-related Darwin Award I could find in my brief search)

Re:Magnesium (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149903)

Solidox welding rods are more effective then your "empty a bunch of fireworks\shotgun shells\pour on lighter fluid" methods. Geez I thought every geek read the cookbook...

Re:Magnesium (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150051)

I've melted through steel grills at my local beach at night this way before, around 11pm

May I be the first to ask....why??

Duh: use a WIll It Blend blender. (5, Funny)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149155)

Use a "Will it Blend?" [willitblend.com] blender.
(Yes I know it's a BlendTec blender, but everyone is much more familiar with the catch phrase Will It Blend)

Re:Duh: use a WIll It Blend blender. (3, Funny)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149251)

And after you shred the disk with the blender, don't forget to try to return it to get your money back [willitblend.com] .

the best way to render a hard drive useless (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149197)

install Windows ME

Re:the best way to render a hard drive useless (3, Funny)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149821)

I can't believe this is marked Funny instead of INSIGHTFUL.

/. Participation (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149203)

I think the next list he needs to run is the top 10 stories that generated the most response from /. members. I bet a large majority of them involve coming up with creative ways to destroy things, including hard drives.

Re:/. Participation (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149289)

Somebody already beat you [slashdot.org] to that idea....

Re:/. Participation (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149301)

Well....damn

The most fun... (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149205)

Is to slowly destroy them physically. Back in the day we convinced our clueless boss that all drives had to be completely disassembled to prevent data theft; so we sat around when we were bored taking apart drives. We used the magnets, well, as magnets. But the electric motors were awesome! You can hook them up directly to power for a full on motor, or you can try to keep the drive in tact enough to still hook it up to the computer. Combined with some software (can't remember now) we were able to control the rpms and spin up of the disks. Made a great desk fan (ok actually you could buy a better one for 5 bucks than our hacked up version) or simply a good way to scare the crap out of someone when they sit on your desk.

Re:The most fun... (2, Informative)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149579)

Trying to destruct a drive while the plates are spinning and the disk is open can be dangerous. I've done it a few times, but recently there are some manufacturers that make the plates from glass, and the glass can easily be crused if you do something to the plates while they're spinning, or you spin them too fast. I knew a kid who had been injured by hitting a glass plate of a hard drive while it was spinning.

Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149211)

1) .45 caliber 1911 style handgun (gets the job done)

2) .357 magnum revolver (gets the job done with a louder bang)

3) 10mm auto handgun (gets the job done and lets you pretend to be Ted Nugent)

4) .44 magnum revolver (gets the job done and lets you pretend to be Clint Eastwood)

5) 9mm handgun (gets the job done and lets you pretend that you have a real gun ;)

6) 12 gauge shotgun (gets the job done and looks/sounds really cool)

7) .30-06 rifle (REALLY gets the job done)

8) .50BMG rifle (useful if you run into a hard drive with armor plate)

9) .22LR plinking rifle (gets the job done in a cost effective manner)

10) .223 fired from an AR-15 (gets the job done while scaring the crap out of any nearby big city types that assume any black rifle with a pistol grip is a weapon of mass destruction)

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149259)

the list projectiles.

I mean, your list is only 1 way to destroy the disk. Changing the speed and mass of the projectile isn't changing the method.

Basically your post is a poor attempt to wave you penis around.

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (-1, Flamebait)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149391)

Basically your post is a poor attempt to wave you penis around.

Basically your post is a extremely effective attempt at demonstrating that you have absolutely no sense of humor ;)

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149979)

Basically your post is a poor attempt to wave you penis around.

Basically your post is a extremely effective attempt at demonstrating that you have absolutely no sense of humor ;)

Perhaps both

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150047)

Basically your posts suck. Just give it up already.

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (1)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149715)

Basically your post is a way to let me **WHOOOSHH** you.

Nuke it from orbit! (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149399)

That's the only way to be sure.

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (2, Funny)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149661)

Hey, I think I saw this guy at a healthcare townhall meeting!

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149739)

Anyone who needs more than a .25 cal is a spray 'n pray whoose ;)

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149769)

I have a .223 that sends 40 gr moly-coated Vmax bullets out at about 3700 fps. Punching holes in a hard drive is nothing. I want to see what really fast, highly frangible bullets do to a spinning hard drive. I have a stack of old drives, an old AT power supply, a 12v battery, and a DC inverter (it's 100 yards down to the impact area - that's a lot of extension cord to roll up when done). Now I just need to scare up a video camera that is up to the task of documenting the drives' demise.

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29150061)

Shooting with a .223 can have other interesting effects as well (at least that's the one I noticed this on). I used a hypervelocity varmint load, light bullet, real fast, like 3800 fps, in a good rifle that can take that kind of overload. This was a plastic tip thing designed to more or less explode on contact -- even a piece of cardboard will make it go fragmented.

In shooting a floppy drive, one that really deserved it, I managed to hit the magnet for the drive motor, and powder it. The sudden disappearance of the field while still inside the windings made a high voltage pulse, a flash of lightning about 2 feet in diameter, and plastic parts flew 50 yards, and were burnt when recovered. As that drive had caused us no end of trouble, there was cheering all around.

Regardless of what you believe about being able to get things back from the part they *let* you write on....this just has to be more fun than that. Too bad for you city guys who can't experience this firsthand like us country boys with a legal shooting range on the back 40.

Next time we'll try Tannerite....heh.

Re:Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150099)

Also, ten reasons to love the Second Amendment.

Leverage the spinning platters to your advantage (5, Interesting)

bugg (65930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149219)

Everyone knows drives are most vulnerable when the heads are engaged, and the spinning platters should cause a single destructive action to potentially spread to the entire circumference. Why not do a write operation to the entire disk and hit it with a hammer during the write? Do that properly and the heads should go flying off in pieces into the platters, and the platters spinning with the loose head material should ensure nothing survives.

Re:Leverage the spinning platters to your advantag (3, Funny)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149339)

I can confirm that this works.

...

Even if destroying the drive wasn't intentional. Sigh.

When you're done... (1)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149233)

You can turn them into art. I was at a local monthly thing that has booths where various types of hippies sell art or make you sign petitions to legalize marijuana, and someone was selling disc drives that had been shot, warped, or half-melted. He had turned them into clocks and other forms of useful art. It was really cool, and it allowed me to see the kind of damage some of the things on this list would do.

Re:When you're done... (1)

iansmith (444117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149909)

Yes, turning hard drives into clocks can be fun... :-)

http://www.ian.org/HD-Clock/ [ian.org]

Re:When you're done... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150045)

Dirty Hippie!

Death by locomotive (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149241)

I think it's hard to beat death by locomotive for unusabilitification...

I have a friend whose brother is a locomotive engineer, so whenever I have a bunch of drives to destroy, we head for the railroad yard when the brother works the night shift (no bosses at that time), and we merrily lay down the drives on the track, and the brother brings along his engine we watch the crunch crunch crunch crunch action. His brother can enjoy the action too, as the engines are remote controlled (like toy cars)...

Re:Death by locomotive (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149555)

It's a great idea but only if we all have the same hook up to a locomotive engine like you do, otherwise there will be a risk you you getting arrested and possibly be charge with attempting to derail a train.

Easiest Destruction Method (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149261)

Give it to my sister. If her laptop and last five cell phones are any indication, it'll end up with vodka dumped on it after a party or smashed to pieces in the middle of the street or even at the bottom of a toilet in a club. You would never believe how frequently that last one happens.

I swear jean designers are in cahoots with cell phone manufacturers. Just slip your hard drive into the back pocket of a girl in a night club wearing tight jeans ... aw, who am I kidding, this is Slashdot.

Re:Easiest Destruction Method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149603)

Hmmm...I'm now certain we'd all like to meet your sister.

;D

Re:Easiest Destruction Method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149725)

but you'll never get the tuna smell out.

The Actual List ... (5, Informative)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149269)

1 - The classic hammer
2 - "What's wrong with an angle grinder?"
3 - The average welding torch
4 - weaponry, from 12-gauge shotguns to high velocity rifles
5 - Science fans will be pleased to see an electromagnet on the list
6 - use a drill
7 - Hard disk platters are generally made from aluminium, which melts at 660.32C
8 - Electric log splitters
9 - An industrial shredder
10 - Finally, another method that scores valuable points for science: Thermite

Re:The Actual List ... (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149895)

10 seems redundant with 7 (thermite burns at up to 2500C, according to Wikipedia), and I'm not sure why 5 and 10 get science points while 7 doesn't.

Re:The Actual List ... (1)

Tycho (11893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150103)

Yeah, and all of the methods the GP posted are needlessly messy, dangerous, and destructive. Try this instead: http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml [ucsd.edu]
Secure Erase uses ATA commands to tell the drive erase itself using the drive's own built in methods. Using the Secure Erase ATA command will erase parts of the drive that are normally missed by reformatting using the OS, and takes on the order of 20 minutes. Data on an ATA hard drive can be missed by the OS, ATA drives reallocate sectors due to damaged media and do so on the fly. If this happens and an all zero reformat is attempted, the old sectors are left behind, potentially with usable data left behind. The issue is that the ATA command set only exposes logical locations on the drive and not the direct physical addresses. Multiple pass erasing stresses the drive media a large amount, shortening the life of the drive itself. In any case, a secure erase will get the hidden data erased better anyway.

Fastest way (4, Funny)

G-LOC (742078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149309)

1. buy rare earth magnet. 2. play with magnet. 3. place magnet in pocket. 4. sit down and put macbook on lap. 5. call apple support. 6. tell technician "err it no work" 7. write good review of apple support.

thats some high quality H20 (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149325)

Why not just toss them in a bucket of water for a few months?

I like the CIA/NSA method the most (2, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149431)

... which is to grind the device into dust, carried out entirely under supervision with all employees holding top secret clearances. I don't know where the dust then goes, but I doubt it's out of the country.

Re:I like the CIA/NSA method the most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149673)

And now we know where McDonald's milk shakes come from.

Re:I like the CIA/NSA method the most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29150083)

Little known fact: Keith Richards has top secret clearance.

Fridge Magnets (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149439)

1st of all ya gotta salvage the cool and powerful magnets then the platters are pretty easy to destroy.

Become a plumber (5, Interesting)

lttlordfault (1561315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149653)

After reading the parent article, one thing I noticed was that welding torches and angle grinders seem to create a sense of well being within your average geek. I have to say, as a plumber who also has a keen interest in all things technological, there's nothing more satisfying than breaking into something with either a blow torch, angle grinder or a drill. I love my job, that I have to use these tools every day gives me great satisfaction and makes me feel like a real man :D

When going through higher education I was originally aiming for a career in IT but half way through decided I didn't really fancy sitting at a desk all day. Becoming a plumber has definitely been the best decision I ever made, I get to work with really cool tools every day, plus I'm at the top of my profession having started plumbing about 6 years ago. I'm one of only 3 people qualified at my level in Mid Wales, and so am in incredible demand. I mainly work on servicing/maintenance on commercial/industrial heating and ventilation systems and see some incredibly cool tech every day. Sorry to brag, but as a self confessed geek, I have to say, plumbing is freaking awesome!

Kinda off topic, sorry about that. I don't often have any connection with anything posted on /. but like to read about it anyway.

How to ensure all data is lost (5, Funny)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149663)

My favorite way to ensure all data is lost on an hard disk is to store the only copy of my Master's thesis on that drive.

One option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149675)

If you still have a copy of Windows ME you could try installing it. It killed a hard disk I had better than a bullet.

Seems to me... (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149733)

It seems to me you really only need one: Mossberg.

And lo it did come to pass that the frustrated IT geek spaketh "Go ahead, make my day", as they prepared to dispense final judgment upon the failing storage device. And there was a joyous noise and the bits and pieces were taken up unto the Lord in his mercy. Amen.

Thus ends the reading from the book of Jobs.

Fun (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149815)

My current manager enjoys dismantling the hard disks after rather stressful meetings. I think anything after that is just fooling around. You would have to be seriously good at figuring out the sector information for that disk to get anything useful and even then its likely been ruined by dust and other platters in the pile.

Circular reasoning (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149941)

So a blog post gets a /. mention. Then the blogger summarizes the /. comments into a top-ten list (and a quick perusal suggests it's just a copy-and-paste job of the +5 comments, no new information added) and submits this summary as another /. story and gets those recycled comments accepted?
A rather cheap way to drive up page hits, IMO.

Sometimes the hammer has drawbacks (4, Interesting)

Erbo (384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149955)

I had some old hard disks I needed to destroy a while back, so I thought I'd just open up the cases and then pound the platters into submission with a hammer. I did this on the kitchen floor.

Unfortunately, the first drive I opened was an old IBM DeskStar. I had forgotten what DeskStar drive platters were made of...

One swing and I had to call a halt to the whole operation while I swept a metric buttload of treacherous fragments of shattered glass up off my kitchen floor.

I conducted the rest of the destruction outside, near the Dumpster.

More industrial shredder video (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29149977)

at http://www.watchitshred.com/ [watchitshred.com] Perhaps the most impressively physical set of videos I've ever seen.

Destroying a hard drive? (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150007)

Apparently, asking the Best Buy staff to install a new video card will work pretty well.

Arrow of time. (1)

hyperion2010 (1587241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150023)

All I can say is that we're lucky the arrow of time only goes one way because the math says that no matter how much you smash the damned thing you can always put it back together. Thus it might be worth investing in a crab or two to eat a couple pieces of it (a cookie of you know the story).

BINARY JOKE (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150105)

10 ways to destroy a hard-drive: 1 - Drill-bit through center plate 10 - Bustadrive

11th Way To Destroy A Hard Disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29150121)

Use Windows [microsoft.com] .

Sincerely,
K. Trout

Very Easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29150125)

Take the hard drive cover plate off exposing the platters. Fill it with a small amount of sand. Not too much or the platters will not turn. Then take it and power it up for an hour or until it quits. The sand will be an abrasive on the platters cleaning them of any data.

coffee

Secure Erase as specified in the ATA Spec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29150169)

Simplest solution, use the internal Secure Erase command in the hard disk itself as specified in the ATA standard,
your drive will take care of everything for you, also erasing any potential blocks that has been marked as bad:
http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml

Awesome (2, Insightful)

otopico (32364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29150219)

Hey, rather than find a way to reuse a complicated piece of tech, lets play like cavemen and come up with awesome ways to break it so no one can do anything with it.

Sure, some data is too valuable to risk, but it is 2009, you would think we would have a non-physically destructive way to securely erase data rather than a hammer.

The scope of the pure wastefulness of this is just sick. Yeah, I'm probably in a minority, but this logic is why our landfills leach out heavy metals into the water table.

America used to be resourceful and frugal.

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