If you've got data stored on a standard hard drive (and who doesn't) at some time, you're going to want to destroy the information on it. This is true even of private individuals - a lot of your personal data is on there! For businesses, it's even more vital, given the regulations surrounding data retention. Many choose to hire a hard disk destruction service like Hot Shred, rather than deal with it personally.
Still, there are a lot of ways to destroy a hard drive - some can even be a fun project. Here are a few ideas.
Five Ways to Destroy That Hard Drive
Fundamentally, destroying a hard drive means destroying the platter at its core, which is a silver disc that looks somewhat like a CD/DVD. That's where the data is held. Everything else is casing and read/write technology.
1 - The teardown
This is simple, basic, and a little boring. Get yourself a set of screwdrivers, and get to work tearing the hard drive apart piece by piece until you reach the platter. One warning: you'll find a very strong magnet inside the case. Be careful with this! It's not the sort of magnet you want to leave lying around, as it could easily damage fingers. Or pets. Or children.
2 - Sledgehammer!
This is possibly the most fun option: take that hard drive to a hard surface, like a concrete driveway, get a large hammer, and go to town. Play some gangster rap while you're at it. Don't forget to wear gloves and eye protection!
3 - Target practice
Like #2, but with more firepower. If sidearms or shotguns are your thing, one or two good shots are guaranteed to render the platter unreadable. As always, follow proper weapons safety procedures and do this far away from any bystanders.
4 - Demagnetization
Despite the presence of a magnet in the case, hard drives are susceptible to magnetic fields. If you wanted to ruin the data, without damaging the drive physically, a strong rare earth-style magnet would do the trick. A hard disk destruction service may prefer this option.
5 - The Full Press
Finally, if you want total destruction and have access to a pneumatic or hydraulic machine press, it's guaranteed to absolutely ruin the drive - and leave you with a neat souvenir suitable for framing.