Published 24th of May 2021

Unsure on what to do with an old hard drive and wonder what’s the safest way to protect your data? Here’s the correct way to destroy an old hard drive, including what not to do.

Why you should destroy your old hard drives

A business/home desktop computer or laptop hard drive can contain various sensitive information including, credit card numbers, customer details, bank account numbers and passwords. This information can remain on the hard drive even if it’s erased or reformatted by wiping it clean. If it’s not correctly destroyed, sensitive information could still be recovered and used with detrimental consequences.

Before getting rid of your computer, you need to totally remove all data from the hard drive. This ensures anything sensitive will be gone forever and untraceable by data thieves. It is important to back anything personal up on a different hard drive before proceeding with the destruction service.

WEEE Environmental policy

The policy promotes the re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in order to reduce the number of electronic waste that ends up in landfill.

Common mistakes made when disposing hard drives

Using a hammer: many people will attempt to bash an old hard drive with a hammer. This can be a dangerous method as it causes bits of glass or metal to fly everywhere.

Placing in a recycling bin: Although this method has good intentions, simply placing a hard drive in a recycling bin doesn’t stop someone from removing it from the recycling bin. This can lead to information theft and a serious data breach.

Deleting all the data: When you delete a file from your computer, it does not simply disappear, not right away anyway. Even if you immediately empty your recycling bin, until another file or application comes along to make use of that room, the old data will remain.

How to dispose of hard drives

Hard drives should always be treated separately from the rest of the computer because of the large volumes of data present on them. When disposing an old hard drive, there is really only one method to securely erase the information, this is by destroying the magnetic disk (also known as a platter) inside.

It is best to outsource the job to a reputable document destruction company that can destroy hard drives beyond repair, giving you the peace of mind that it has been handled correctly.

Shredall SDS Group specialise in destroying hard drives by shredding them into small, unidentifiable pieces. The process we use completely destroys the drive mechanisms, platters and electronic complements, rendering the data unrecoverable.

Businesses also get a peace of mind with chain of custody, end to end tracking technology to ensure the hard drives are tracked throughout their journey. Our end-to-end tracking system makes use of barcode scanning at every stage as well as tracked vehicles.

Once the process is complete, you will receive a certificate of destruction showing the weight and details of the collection as proof. All hard drives that are securely shredded are sent to a UK WEEE-approved partner for recycling.