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I have an hard drive that still mechanically "works", but it can't be recognized by Windows. The disk starts up and it dies and it keeps cycling over and over and it is never recognized. I'm not trying to salvage the disk, but I want to recycle it by giving it to Best Buy recycle program and would like to play it safe and REALLY delete all the info by writing 0s to it.

How can I do so if Windows is not able to recognize it?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A hammer. The metal will still be recyclable but if you rupture the the physical media the disc will be unreadable by anyone save the CIA if they are on a mission. Better yet, throw the insides out seperately and return just the case of the drive to be recycled. This could be done with just a screwdriver... but a hammer is more fun.

PS- Total serious, I have done this with a couple dead drives.

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hitting it with a hammer really was fun :) –  Jonas Stawski Apr 1 '11 at 20:10
1  
I always liked keeping the disk platters. They are so shiny and act as an excellent boss-mirror on my work desk. –  music2myear Apr 1 '11 at 20:27

It's really a matter of how paranoid you want to be. I wouldn't trust any software utility at that point, so your best bet at this point is to mechanically ensure it's erased. We have a policy at work that every drive gets physically destroyed, which usually means we take sandpaper to the platters. Not sure that Best Buy would take it back after that. You could always check.

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I think i'm going to do this, i'm not planning on getting a refund, i just want to recycle it properly instead of throwing it to the garbage. Thanks... –  Jonas Stawski Apr 1 '11 at 19:45

The only way to do this is with strong magnetic fields.

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