Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Compute this

On February 15, Best Buy launched an in-store e-cycling program in all of their US locations, and one of the many items they accept are old computers. Recently, my coworker got a new MacBookPro and chose to bring his old desktop PC in for e-cycling. However, before taking it, Best Buy told him to destroy his hard drive. The store had numerous reasons but their main one was that they did not want to be liable for the information on the disk. Fortunately, destroying a hard drive is an extremely easy process if it is less than five years old and a little more difficult if your computer is more than five years old, which my coworker's hard drive was, so he asked for my assistance. Also by destroying his hard drive, it reassures him to know that no one will be able to access the information in the future.

Generally, hard drives newer than five years have glass disks that a simple pound of a hammer will shatter, but hard drives that are more than five years old have metal disks that demand more extreme measures. Here is my coworker's ancient (in technology terms) 8-year-old 60GB Maxtor hard drive.

As you can see, it is pretty solid. So, to destroy this hard drive, I used my power drill to core a hole right through the area that the disks are in. My plan was to drill on each end of the drive to guarantee that the disk was thoroughly demolished.

After choosing my drill bit and making sure my safety goggles (my glasses) where in place, I got to it.

Justin wasn't home at the time, so while I held it down with one hand, my other hand held my power drill as it bore a hole in the drive.

Within a few minutes, I had successfully impaled the drive on one end.

And a short while later, the other end had a piercing to match.

I got a little drill happy and started a third, but it seemed my bit was exhausted and snapped in two. I took that as a sign to stop.

If you are still at a loss for how to disassemble and destroy your hard drive before recycling it, watch this video created by a few of Best Buy's Geek Squad agents.

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