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I Wipe Hard Drives

I've always been willing to wipe my clients' computer information before recycling their computers, but now I've decided to really do this actively. I bought a drive wiping machine and learned how to take drives apart fairly quickly so I can destroy the platters if electronic wiping is infeasible.

This is what a platter looks like after my 6 step physical destruction process.
  1. Remove the physical platters from the drive
  2. Run a powerful magnet over the platters to scramble all data
  3. Sandpaper the platter
  4. Bend the platter
  5. Cut the platter
  6. Recycle the parts

I prefer doing a simple electronic wipe, where I write a random character over the entire drive, then the complement of that character, then another random character. This makes data recovery impossible. After this I recycle the drives.

The cost for this service is:
  • $25 for a hard drive, wiped and recycled
  • $45 for a computer with the hard drive inside it. (I'll remove the drive, wipe it, and return it to the case if possible). Includes recycling the computer.
  • $25 for a USB external drive that I can wipe electronically, $45 if I have to take it apart. I will recycle these as well.
In general I recommend keeping the backup USB drives instead of doing anything with them.

What if You want to give the computer to someone?

If you want to give the computer to a relative or friend and leave Windows and some software on it, but remove your personal files, then we need to securely delete your data. A good tool for this is Tweaknow's Secure Delete.
It uses a 3 step process:
  • Securely wipe all the files and folders you want to remove
  • Securely wipe the recycle bin
  • Clear the Page File
The one thing it doesn't do that I like to have done is also wipe the empty space. An extra measure of security can be performed with BleachBit Cleaner to wipe the empty space on the drive. I'll be glad to help you with this if you like.

Date: February 2014

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