Today’s Question: Further to topic of hard drive failure, how do you recommend disposing of failed drives?
Tim’s Quick Answer: I recommend using a hard drive recycling service that will both ensure destruction of any data left behind on the drive, and recycle the components that can be salvaged from the drive. Best of all, you can recycle a drive at no cost to you.
More Detail: When a hard drive fails and you have replaced it with a new hard drive (hopefully recovering from a good backup in the process) simply throwing the drive away doesn’t guarantee that someone couldn’t access the data on the drive. So if the privacy of that data is important to you, you’ll want to make sure the drive is damaged to the point that no data can be recovered.
You could conceivably destroy the drive yourself, but this is not without risk of injury since it can take quite a bit of force to significantly damage a hard drive. Therefore, I recommend using a hard drive recycling service instead. This offers the additional advantage of having some of the materials from the drive recycled so they can be used again.
You’ll obviously want to choose a reputable service for this hard drive recycling. One service I have used in the past and feel confident in the certified provider they use for the hard drive recycling is Western Digital.
The recycling program from Western Digital is free, and you can recycle any brand of hard drive with their service. Even better, they are currently offering a special where you’ll get a coupon for 15% off any purchase over $50 from the Western Digital Store.
You can learn more about the hard drive recycling program from Western Digital here: