Bryley Basics: Fixed-disk drive recycling and destruction

Fixed-disk drives are located in most personal computers, servers, and even some copiers and printers; they store business data and confidential information.  When retired, they require special handling and recycling to ensure that this information is not available to others.  In addition, compliance and military standards dictate specific procedures regarding erasure and destruction.

Most fixed-disk drives house spinning disks within a metal enclosure; a read/write head passes over these disks to retrieve/record information.  Erasing the spinning disks is a good first step; physically destroying the spinning disks is also good since it then renders these disks unusable.  (Of course, someone can always try to put a disk back together, but the complexity and cost of this effort makes it extremely difficult and unlikely.)

When we recycle personal computers and servers, we take these steps to obliterate the contents of all fixed-disk drives:

  • When mounted within a computer, we run a multiple-pass cleanup utility that not only erases existing data, but also rewrites nonsense data back onto the drive to overlay previous data.
  • We then smash the drive into insignificant pieces using our Manual Disk Drive Crusher from Pure Leverage.

Our Manual Disk Drive Crusher quickly and easily destroys fixed-disk drives by crushing them in half.  The remnants are then recycled with confidence.