March 24

If you have a computer that you are getting rid of you need to take special care of the data you have stored inside it. Whatever information you have saved on the hard drive inside: photos, documents, financial files, passwords, emails — personal information, does not simply go away if you hit delete or drop stuff in the Recycle Bin. To ensure that your data is safe and prevent it falling into the wrong hands you have to destroy the data.

Ben Popken at NBC did a video showing some low-tech solutions to this problem. He trashes hard drives with everything from hammers and baseball bats, to submerging in water and burning with fire. The truth of the matter, as we well know around CBL Data Recovery labs, is that in a few of these cases, such as water and fire damage, the data is still recoverable!

Ben Popken breaks out the tools of destruction to show you how it’s done, then sends the hard drive carcasses to a testing lab to see which method worked best.

While it looks fun (and perhaps stress-relieving), physically destroying a drive using the methods on display here can be avoided with a more logical solution. Logical, both in terms of a smarter, less messy strategy, and as in the digital software interface of the hard drive, versus the physical electronics and mechanical parts.

Using a specialized software tool to wipe a drive using established standards you can securely erase data off a drive. Deleting data in this more intense and thorough manner makes sure the erasure is permanent. Since this general threat to users’ data is out there, CBL has a free app you can download to do this very job – CBL Data Shredder.

While we focus on recovering lost data most of the time, preserving data privacy when old tech is being disposed of is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only does it protect you, but making a drive re-usable instead of throwing it out and contributing to an ever growing e-waste problem helps the planet out too!

Category: helpful hints

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