Erasing Hard Drives With Magnets

Are you getting rid of a computer? Make sure that before you part ways with your device, you wipe the hard drive, as it removes any personal or sensitive data that might be stored on the device.

Contrary to what you may think, clearing your web browsing history or emptying your recycling bin doesn’t permanently remove sensitive information from your computer. To permanently remove this information, you need to erase the laptop or computer’s hard drive.

In the past, magnets were used to destroy data stored on hard drives. But is this method actually effective? And are there better ways to permanently erase hard drive data? 

Let’s take a closer look.

Do Magnets Actually Corrupt Hard Drive Data?

In theory, yes, magnets can corrupt a hard drive. However, to erase a hard drive with a magnet, you will need a very strong one. In other words, you can’t just grab your favorite magnet off the refrigerator, give it a quick pass over your hard drive, and expect that to do the trick. You’ll need an industrial magnet (think: the type of magnet used to lift entire vehicles in scrap yards). Refrigerator magnets, and even some of the larger ones that contractors carry to pick up nails and metal screws, simply won’t get the job done.

Do Magnets Harm Electronics?

Again, yes, but it’s more of an issue with older electronics than the types we use today. When televisions and radios were introduced decades ago, they were susceptible to damage from magnetic fields. However, today’s devices are typically unharmed by magnets. As technology has improved, their susceptibility to magnetic fields has been essentially engineered out of these products.

Are Magnets Actually Effective at Hard Drive Destruction?

As we mentioned previously, today’s electronics are essentially impervious to magnets, so you’ll need a large, industrial-strength magnet for it to have any effect on electronics (and even that may not do the trick). And even if the magnets damage the hard drive, they’re not necessarily going to wipe away all the data. In other words, industrial magnets might destroy the hard drive itself to the extent that it might not function properly, but any data on it may still be recoverable. This fact is why we don’t suggest attempting to erase a hard drive with a magnet.

The better data destruction method is degaussing. In fact, many professional degaussing machines use Department of Defense-compliant software to ensure that any data is securely erased.

Where to Find Hard Drive Recycling & Data Destruction Services in Michigan

Don’t take your chances and attempt to erase your hard drive with a magnet—it’s best to leave data destruction to the experts at High Tech Recycling.

Founded in 2011, we provide electronic waste recycling and data destruction services to residents in the metro Detroit, MI, area. We utilize degaussing machines and Department of Defense 5220.22 M-compliant software to wipe data from all hardware. 

Contact us today to learn more about our data destruction services or to schedule an equipment pickup. We’re standing by and ready to serve you.

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