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How to safely/securely dispose of an old pc? watch

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    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    The hard drive(s) are the only things that will retain sensitive information.

    There are various IT tools that will delete the information, and various IT tools that can recover information that has been deleted. Ultimately, the most secure option is to tenderise the hard drive with a sledgehammer.

    The rest of the PC can be recycled at a council dump (well, it can where I live). You could also offer it on Freecycle.
    You're going to want to overwrite the drive before you sledgehammer it. Also, disassembling the drive and extracting the platters before sledgehammering will make sure you're actually mangling the platters and not just denting the chassis.

    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    A long long time ago, government agencies actually did put their disks through a (physical) shredder :eek:
    Still do. It's common industry practice in government and commercial environments handling PII or otherwise classified data. Again, the drives will be overwritten before they go through this process.

    (Original post by Lukev)
    Unless it is a large HDD that will make some money by selling it on, I use DBAN and then the most appropriate tool - a hammer.
    If you have 10 minutes and some hex keys take it apart, they are fascinating inside, and once you disassemble it, nobody is getting that info back!
    They are pretty awesome. Worth noting that you should never take apart a hard drive that you actually want to use outside of a proper clean room environment, but disassembling one and smashing up the platters is a sure fire way to limit the ability to recover data.

    (Original post by mfaxford)
    good luck finding a strong enough magnet to do that. The strongest magnets I've come across are from inside a harddrive I took apart.

    I did come across a device to destroy hard drives with magnetic force once. It came with warnings about not being operated by anyone with a pace maker and to leave any electronics and metallic jewellery several meters away (or it could also get destroyed).

    For most people DBAN really would be good enough it also means you can recycle the drive rather than sending it to landfill.
    Degaussers are awesome. 2-4T is pretty standard these days and that's generally enough to completely destroy the low level formatting on hard drives, rendering the drive useless and destroying the data.

    (Original post by danny111)
    You can go to a metal disposal area. You know where they trash cars for example. I imagine those are strong enough.
    Nearly. Wrecking yard electromagnets have a flux density of about 1T. Nearly enough to reliably degauss a modern hard drive.

    (Original post by rmhumphries)
    This. The only way to recover data after software like DBAN has been ran on the drive is hardware data forensics; so yes, if you have something on the drive which someone might want to spends 10s of thousands of pounds on recovering, trash the drive with a hammer or whatever. Otherwise, DBAN will do just fine.
    Even then, it's a lost cause. A single overwrite of the drive (let alone a DoD standard multi-pass wipe) will be enough to prevent you from doing any reliable and repeatable forensics on a drive with techniques like MFM.

    (Original post by jackbirdy412)
    Petrol + match - boom.

    Problem solved.
    To be super secure, you're going to want to leave it burning in a bucket of petrol for some time to ensure the drive's platters exceed the curie temperature - the point at which the platters lose all their magnetic properties - which for a typical drive is about 1500F (~800C). Petrol has a maximum burning temperature of about 1600F, so you're going to want to leave it for some time to incinerate, or you're going to want to find something hotter, if cremation is your chosen demise for your poor hard drive.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)


    Nearly. Wrecking yard electromagnets have a flux density of about 1T. Nearly enough to reliably degauss a modern hard drive.
    Wow! Then I did some poor research, I saw on some TV show or film or whatever that you can destroy it with a magnet and I googled it and it said it is possible. I guess That was more theoretically? Are there actually any magnets that can do this?
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    (Original post by danny111)
    Wow! Then I did some poor research, I saw on some TV show or film or whatever that you can destroy it with a magnet and I googled it and it said it is possible. I guess That was more theoretically? Are there actually any magnets that can do this?
    I mean, it's probable that a lot of the data would be corrupted if you picked up some hard disk platters with that kind of electromagnet, but could I guarantee that you couldn't recover anything meaningful from the drive? Not at those levels of flux - I can only go by what the NSA publish. They have a list of approved degausser machines that are designed for the job.
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    (Original post by bloomblaze)
    I have an old pc I no longer use and I want rid of it. Obviously I wouldnt just chuck it in the bin(sensitive stuff is on the pc)

    Can anyone tell me the most secure way to get rid of it?

    Should I burn the Hard drive and ram sticks? Would that be enough to stop someone accessing stuff on the pc?


    Thanks for any info
    If the hard drive still works, it may be easier to remove the hard drive and keep it as an external or spare, then dispose of the rest of the PC.
 
 
 
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