If you have old computers or laptops that you no longer need and are considering donating, recycling or selling them to free up office space, you must deal with the private information contained on the hard drives. From photos and financial data to confidential documents, browser history and passwords, your information is vulnerable if you don’t completely wipe the drive or destroy the disk.

The Risks of Unprotected Data

Cybercriminals are extremely savvy and they’ll go to great lengths to steal personal data, whether it’s social security numbers, credit card information or identification. Not only is there a risk that this information could be sold for criminal purposes, but it could also be used to commit other illegal offences, like fraud, identity theft or extortion.

Hard Drive Shredding is the Best Way to Protect Your Information

When disposing of a computer or hard drive, deleting files or completing a factory reset isn’t enough to safeguard your confidential files since data recovery software can reconstruct information. The easiest and most effective way to protect your privacy is through the process of hard drive shredding.

This form of secure information destruction physically destroys the disk by using a heavy-duty shredding machine that is specifically designed to demolish hard drives, backup tapes and mobile data devices. It works by completely grinding up and destroying every single part of the device into small pieces, so your confidential data can never be recovered, reconstructed or stolen.

What Does It Mean to Wipe a Hard Drive?

Wiping a computer hard drive is different from shredding because it merely erases any stored information while keeping the physical hard drive intact. This is also different from moving documents to the trash or recycle bin because, even though the files are hidden from view, they remain on the device.

In many cases, deleted files can be recovered quite easily since most computer operating systems only erase the links to the data. Regaining access to the erased data is as simple as restoring the deleted links, which can be done with data recovery software.

How to Wipe Your Hard DriveHard drive taken apart on a desk

To successfully wipe a computer hard drive clean, you’ll need to use special data wiping software that permanently erases the contents so your personal files cannot be retrieved. This process can take several hours depending on the size of the drive, how much information is stored on the disk and the type of operating system, such as Windows or Mac OS.

Before wiping your computer’s hard drive, it’s important to back up any files that you want to keep onto an external hard drive, another computer or with a secure cloud storage service. Once the hard drive is wiped, you may not be able to recover this information.

Which Programs Erase Hard Drives?

There are many paid and free programs that you can download to wipe the hard drive on your Windows PC or Mac computer. Most use special formatting that overwrites the deleted files with zeros and other incomprehensible data. This makes it near impossible for data recovery software to restore the erased information.

Regardless of the data wiping software that you use, it’s essential to follow the step-by-step process to ensure you select the specific files or the partition you want to delete. If not done correctly, there is a risk that information can be left behind on the disk, like passwords, search history or personal files.

Don’t Leave Your Confidential Data to Chance

When it comes to hard drive security, physical destruction is the only way to be 100% sure that your confidential information won’t fall into the wrong hands. Erasing, reformatting, wiping or degaussing old hard drives simply isn’t enough to protect your data. When hard drives remain physically intact, there is a risk that your personal information can be recovered by cyber attackers.

Choose Blue-Pencil for Secure Hard Drive Destruction

You can feel confident knowing that your electronic devices are securely shredded and properly disposed of with Blue-Pencil’s on-site, high-speed hard drive shredding services. Our state-of-the-art, professional-grade equipment uses cross-cut shredders, which instantly destroy a hard drive to 5/8-inch pieces to make data recovery 100% impossible. This method also follows NAID AAA certification regulations.

After your on-site service, your organization will receive an official Certificate of Destruction with scanned serial numbers for each hard drive device that was destroyed. All shredded material will then be sent to a secure facility for separation and environmentally responsible disposal. You’ll never have to worry about your computer hard drives or confidential data ending up in the landfill or in the possession of information thieves.

To learn more about Blue-Pencil’s digital media and hard drive destruction services, contact our customer service team for a free quote.