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5 Hard Drive Disposal Tips to Make Your Life Easier

5 Hard Drive Disposal Tips to Make Your Life Easier

by Nationalcws.com on Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:00

Hard drive disposal is definitely something you need to do perfectly. Here are 5 hard drive disposal tips you can use to make sure you get the job done right!

Your hard drive holds everything about your business, and we do mean everything. From every document you've ever written to all of the future projects you plan on carrying out, and maybe even some of the biggest company secrets - it's all there.

Hard drives are good at holding all of those things and keeping them safe from prying eyes. They carry out their job well, and they can keep going for many years.

Like with all things, however, hard drives can only last for so long before you have to replace them. But you already knew that. In fact, you had plans to buy a new one in a few weeks and chuck the old one on the trash. No big, right?

Actually, yes big.

Here's the thing. When you dispose of your old hard drive, it takes a lot more than just tossing it in the bin. Computers are very good at holding on to information, and the last thing you need is for that info to fall into the wrong hands.

So what are your options? When it comes to hard drive disposal, you actually have quite a few of them.

Some Hard Drive Disposal Tips You Need to Use

Here are just a few tips that you can use to dispose of your hard drive properly. Keep reading to find out what you can do to make sure your data doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

The Recycle Bin Is Not Your Friend

Has anyone ever told you that you can just throw your files in the recycle bin and be good to go? Have you often thought that way yourself?

Well, here's a little bit of advice: don't do it.

You cannot use the recycle bin as a means of deleting your files, because the recycle bin is not made for permanent file removal. Instead, it's supposed to do exactly what its name implies: Hold your files to potentially reuse at a later time.

Let's put it this way: if it's easy for you to access your files, it's easy for anyone else to access them, too.

Dumping your files in the recycle bin will do nothing but make your files more accessible to any information thieves out there. Don't give them easy access to your important files.

As a side note, simply deleting them still won't be enough. The files are still harbored on your computer in the form of trace files, which can easily be recovered by any trained hacker. There are better options for deleting your files.

Overwriting Your Hard Drive Can Help

Overwriting your hard drive could very well be the solution to your data wiping problems.

In essence, the process of overwriting the hard drive doesn't really involve destroying the drive itself; it has to do with covering the material on the drive.

To do this, you have to have a program specifically designed to overwrite the files. There are a number of programs available to help with this process; you'll download the program to your computer, and it will overwrite the files.

Specifically, the program will go through each file and "write over" the document by creating code that the computer cannot recognize. Eventually, it will write enough nonsensical coding so that the computer cannot read the file at all.

When you overwrite your hard drive, you have to go through a series of processes to make sure each file is successfully erased. In fact, it requires that you go through the process multiple times.

This method has its advantages and disadvantages. For starters, by overwriting your files, you clear up space on your hard drive, which allows you to continue using the drive for other business matters if it still has a useful life.

The downside is that the files are never truly destroyed. This puts your files in danger of being discovered by a professional hacker if they are able to somehow get past the overwriting that you placed on the hard drive.

At the end of the day, overwriting does a pretty good job but know about the risks before you go through with it.

Don't Smash It with a Hammer

"So," you say, "If discarding of my files virtually won't do the job, then maybe discarding of the hard drive physically will do the trick, right?"

Well, yes and no. While it's true that the physical destruction of the drive is the best way to go, it depends on how exactly you go about destroying the drive. Improper destruction could still leave your files open to any information thieves.

That's exactly why destroying the hard drive with a hammer is a bad idea. Such a crude way of destroying the drive may feel good (because who doesn't like to hit stuff with a hammer?) but it most likely won't do the job right.

The key to physically destroying a hard drive is to break up the disk itself. It's the disk in the hard drive that holds all of the information you've built up over the years while working with your company, so only breaking the disk will do the job.

The problem is, it can be difficult to actually get to the disk in the hard drive. Its located deep within the drive itself, and you have to be able to get past all of the hard drive "coverings" before you can smash the disk.

Even if you manage to hit through the hard drive to the actual disk, and even if you manage to land a few solid hits to the disk, you still run the risk of being detected.

This is because the disk hasn't been wiped, which makes it easy for a thief to retrieve at least a portion of the data - and a portion is really all they need to access the secrets of your business.

In short, hammers most likely won't be enough; only a professional can discard the hard drive correctly to protect your files.

Make Sure to Get Rid of Your Backups, Too

Most of the time, companies only think to erase the files on their main hard drive. What they fail to realize is that they also have to get rid of the saved documents on their backup drives as well.

It's not uncommon that companies back up their important files. After all, you want to make sure that if you do happen to lose your files on the main drive, you'll still be able to access them on your backup drives should you need to.

That's a very smart plan, for sure. The problem is that it can work against you when you're trying to destroy the files.

Leaving your backups untouched means that you'll leave yourself open to predators who can get their hands on your stuff. This is especially true if your files are all stored on the same server, or worse, saved to a cloud program.

To make sure this problem doesn't happen to you, make sure to label each backup to sync with the saves on your hard drive. When the time comes to remove the data, you can destroy the files on both the hard drive and backup simultaneously.

When in Doubt, Degauss

Knowing how to handle your files can be difficult. It's clear that overwriting the files is only helpful to a certain degree, and destroying them with a hammer is a risky maneuver. So what's a company to do with their private files?

The answer? Degauss them.

Degaussing is a way of destroying your files by demagnetizing the hard drive. Computers run off of two major things: electricity and magnetism. When you save data, your computer uses a magnetized system to store the files.

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that one of the best ways to get rid of the magnetically-saved data is to demagnetize it.

Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds. You can't just grab a magnet from off of the refrigerator and run it across your computer a couple of times. Hard drives are too strong for such a simple thing to destroy them.

To have your hard drive degaussed properly, you'll have to have the work professionally done. Professional data destroyers have powerful magnets that can bring on site to completely wipe out the entire hard drive.

And we do mean all of it. Once your hard drive has been degaussed, it completely loses the ability to save files, which means it's done for good.

Make sure you think carefully about whether you ever want to use the hard drive in the future before you go through with the degaussing process.

When It Comes to Your Data, We've Got You Covered

Now that you know the importance of hard drive disposal, you can safely handle the data on your hard drive. However, there may be times when these basic measures are not enough, and you need to do more to protect your data.

That's where we come in.

We make protecting your data our number one priority. Our company offers a number of services, including server relocation, hard drive shredding, green electronics recycling, DC cleaning, and much more.

If you have any comments or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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