Hard Drive Destruction Options


In today’s digital-focused society having a process for managing your electronic waste is critical. It’s especially important if the waste you manage contains proprietary or personally identifiable information. For business IT managers, knowing and understanding your options is key. 

When it comes to digital data destruction, there are three primary options when it comes to removing data from your devices and it’s important to find the one that offers you, your data, and your end-users the most protection. 


When it comes to discarding or recycling your end-of-use electronic devices, there are three primary options available. These are Destruction, Formatting, and Degaussing.

Each of these options is effective in masking or removing some of the data on your devices to prevent retrieval. Here’s a closer look at how each one works. 


Devices that are formatted are wiped of information. Many people believe that formatting a drive means the information has been removed. However, formatting is considered internal disposal and the potential for data recovery still exists.  

While the chances of recovering the data from a formatted hard drive are low, with the correct knowledge and software, recovery is still possible.


Think of degaussing as a more intense form of formatting. Hard drives are read/write devices that use magnetic disks to record and store information. The process of degaussing actually neutralizes the disks using powerful magnetic fields. Doing this scrambles the recorded data into an unreadable format. 

This is great news for protecting the information stored on the discs, but it also renders the device unusable. Those companies looking for an extra barrier of protection sometimes opt shred hard drives after they have been degaussed.  


Secure hard drive destruction is the act of physically shredded electronic devices at the end of their useful life. This process completely obliterates the data and the device into unsalvageable pieces. As a result, there is zero chance for data recovery.

In addition to ensuring zero recovery potential, hard drive destruction also offers a more cost-effective solution than reformatting or degaussing your hard drives. Shredded hard drives can often be recycled, lowering the environmental impact of outdated electronic devices. 


Choosing which destruction method suits your needs depends on your plans for the devices afterwards. Shredding offers complete peace of mind as it tears the device apart and recycles the fragments. Formatting is a great choice if you plan on using the device for something else, but keep in mind the data still exists until it’s written over. Degaussing scrambles data with powerful magnets, rendering the device unusable. An excellent choice if you’re looking for a new paper-weight, albeit a tad expensive (and not as eco-friendly as recycling). At the end of the day, shredding proves to be the most popular method for complete destruction of data due to its low cost and irrecoverable form.


When you’re ready to securely destroy confidential end-of-life electronic devices, Augusta Data Storage offers on-site and off-site destruction for your convenience. Our on-site facility is equipped with the new Ameri-Shred Corp HDS-1000 Hard Drive Shredder, guaranteed to rip your devices to bits. 

Simply call to let us know you’d like to drop off your electronics and we’ll start preparing. If you’re uneasy about your devices leaving company property, we offer pick-up with a secure chain of custody, recording the serial number of each electronic on its way to destruction. No matter which option you choose, Augusta Data Storage maintains NAID AAA Certified standards, making sure you get a detailed Certificate of Destruction for your records.