Why & How We Destroy Hard Drives

Authored by Don Blackburn - BOW Industries, Inc.


There are numerous reasons why hard drives should be destroyed. A few of these are:

  • To prevent identity theft - to protect sensitive company or personnel information.
  • Old equipment is being replaced or has failed and the hard drives contain sensitive company, personnel or customer information.
  • The data has reached the statute of limitations and must be destroyed to avoid any possible litigation.
  • For national security reasons.
  • An emergency situation.


Although “erasing” can enter into the broad picture, we are talking about the total destruction of hard drives and not the erasing of data.

How is total destruction of a hard drive accomplished?  One could:

  • Use a sledgehammer, a drill, an axe or flatten it by pressure like a steamroller
  • Use degaussing (erasure) equipment
  • Use software
  • Use a shredder or a shredding service
  • Use a dedicated hard drive destroyer device

Surely there are other methods that can be used, but which is best and the safest? Lets take a look at each method for comparison. 

Using a sledgehammer, drill, axe or a steam roller, etc., can certainly attain total destruction. It however poses a very real danger to personnel and exposes a very real liability for whoever endorses this method. Common sense would dictate these methods are not on anyone's recommended list.
Although degaussing equipment is commonly used, higher capacity drives in the near future will require a stronger field strength to degauss. In time the degausser purchased will not be sufficient to erase all your hard drives. Also there is no physical evidence the data was completely erased. 
While software can be used, one would have to assure that the data is in fact destroyed. This would not only require a re-test but also checks on the system and personnel to avoid any accidental or intended abuse. There is also the possibility that the data could be recovered by “special” equipment.  If there is an obvious drive malfunction, software is not an option. .
Shredding services normally take the hard drives out of the building for shredding either in a truck or at a facility within driving distance. The problem is that the hard drives leaving the building contain "live" data. For security reasons this is not typically a good idea. This is also quite expensive. Purchase of a shredder is very expensive and typically make a real mess.  

This brings us finally to a designated hard drive destroyer. A portable unit that can be used onsite that provides clear physical evidence that the hard drive is destroyed and the data is un-recoverable.

Here comes the sales pitch:

BOW Industries wishes to introduce two hard drive destroyer units that we feel would suite your requirements. Made in the U.S.A. by BOW Industries. These are the Model MHDD Manual Operated Destroyer and the Model MX2 Motor & Manual Operated Destroyer. Our destroyers, whether fully manual or motor driven, have one unique feature that is far above the rest. Both the MHDD and the MX2 have the manual feature available at all times. This allows both to be fully operational in even an emergency situation when time is of the essence and electricity may have been cut off.

Both cost less, weight less, take up less space, and are very portable. They process drives in less than 10 seconds. Both can be used by those who have an occasional need to destroy hard drives and tough enough to be used in a high production environment. 

All we ask, is take a serious look at our destroyers. We think you will be pleased.  




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Last modified: August 13, 2014