How to Destroy Old Hard Drive (HDD/SSD/USB Storage Device Included)?



updated on February 14, 2024 to Hard Drive Solutions

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Your important and sensitive data, like financial documents, security numbers and passwords, are stored in a hard drive. This data can easily be stolen or used against you. So, if you ever plan to sell or donate your computer, you must remove your data for good first. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry.

There are several easy ways to destroy old hard drives, including data-wiping software, milling, incineration, magnetic destruction, shredding, drilling holes, etc. If you want to learn about them, stay here and learn how to destroy old hard drives!

Why Destroy Old Hard Drive?

Your desktop computer or laptop contains your personal information, such as bank account numbers, security numbers, and credit card numbers. It also contains your important passwords. The information will still be there even if you try to erase it. It means the data can be restored.

So, you should destroy the hard drive to remove the data permanently before selling or donating the computer. The data will become inaccessible. If you want to keep your data like photos or music, transfer it to another device before destruction.

Ways to Destroy Old Hard Drive

Are you worried about your old hard drive? Don't worry; we are here for you. There are different ways to destroy your old hard drive. Here, we will discuss some of the best solutions to your problem.

Physical Destruction:

One method to destroy your old hard drive is the physical method. You can do this by pulling down the physical components of your hard drive. No one can see or use your data when you break the device. This method ensures that the hard drive cannot be used on another computer and is safest for you. Here are some physical methods:

Magnetic Destruction:

Magnetic destruction is a useful physical method to tear down your old hard drive. Are you wondering how to do it? Let us tell you that you must use a degausser tool for this method. It scrambles the hard drive by using the magnetic field. No one can recover your data after the magnetic destruction of the hard drive.


Shredding is a famous way to destroy your old hard drive. In this method, special shredders are used. These shredders are specially designed for the destruction of media. They convert your data into small shreds, just like shredding paper. You can recycle the shredded components or dispose of them. Like other methods, this method also ensures the safety of your data so that it can't be recovered.


Incineration means to burn your device. You can do this using industrial incinerators. These types of incinerators are specially designed to destroy electronic media. It is obvious that when you burn the device, the data completely vanishes. It cannot be recovered in any way after that. You can also seek help from some data destruction services for a safe incineration process.


Milling involves crushing the hard drive. There are special machines for this purpose. These machines crush and grind the media devices into little components. Crushing the device means the data has been removed permanently. There is no way to retrieve your data back after milling.

Drilling Holes:

Drilling holes is another physical method that can try to destroy your hardware. You have to drill the holes in the platters. You can do this by using a drill or hammer. This way, the stored data on your hard drive will become illegible.

Puncturing the Hard Drive:

You can also puncture your hard drive using metal pins or a knife. Place the knife or pins on the hard drive and push them inside. Doing this will puncture the drive and make it unusable. The data will be removed forever.

destroy old hard drive

Data Wiping Software:

Other than crushing and shredding the device, you can use data-wiping software. Some user-friendly software to erase your data is available on the internet. You can download it on your computer and choose a pattern to wipe out the data. Magoshare AweEraser is one of those helpful software.

AweEraser - Data Eraser

  • Once your data is erased by AweEraser, the data is lost forever, can’t be recovered by any method.
  • No physical damage! After erasure, you can reuse or resell the old hard drive or give it to other people.
  • Certified data erasure standards including Peter Gutmann, U.S. Army AR380-19, DoD 5220.22-M ECE.

AweEraser can help you wipe Windows hard drive, Mac hard drive, external HDD/SSD, USB flash drive, memory card, etc. Make a backup before wiping your old hard drive because once the data is wiped by AweEraser, the data is gone forever, no way to recover it.

Now, follow the steps below to destroy all data from an old hard drive permanently:

Step 1. Download and install AweEraser on your computer, then open it.

Step 2. Choose Erase Hard Drive mode, then select the target old hard drive.

Wipe old hard drive

Step 3. Click on Erase Now button to wipe the old hard drive. All data including existing data, deleted/lost data will be permanently erased from the old hard drive.

Wipe old hard drive

Once the process gets finished, all data is gone forever.

Wipe old hard drive


As technology advances, there are more chances of data theft. So be careful about it. The best way to erase your data permanently from a hard drive is to destroy the drive. You can do it in several ways, including physical methods and software. Try popular methods like incineration, drilling holes, magnetic destruction, shredding, milling, and puncturing. You won't be disappointed, and your problem will be solved.

If you want to resell or donate your old hard drive or just want to recycle an used disk, just use AweEraser to help you wipe the hard drive and permanently erase all data from it. It will not damage your SSD/HDD, 100% safe.