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Why You Should Destroy Old Hard Drives

So your computer has served you faithfully for many years, but now age has finally caught up to it. Starting the computer used to take seconds, now it takes minutes. Opening and closing programs happened with immediateness, now the computer has to think about it first. It’s time for an upgrade, but you need to be careful with your old parts. Old hard drives need to be destroyed, and there are some important reasons why that is.

a broken hard drive

3 Reasons To Destroy Old Hard Drives

Ensure Data Destruction

First thing’s first. Your data is still vulnerable on a hard drive after you have deleted it. Many people don’t understand how deletion works. The assumption, and one can’t be blamed for believing this considering the definition of the word “delete,” is that your data is destroyed. This is not the case at all.

Data in your hard drive is stored in a specific spot that is reserved only for it. When it gets deleted the data is merely flagged as available to be overwritten, and the links pointing to it are removed. That’s it! Eventually, as new data is created and saved, that old piece will get overwritten, but what happens if you don’t create anymore? The old stuff will be sitting there still, waiting and vulnerable.

This is why complete physical destruction of the hard drive is so essential. A dedicated person with some software and a little time can recover what was deleted. Preventing this is as simple as ensuring there is nothing available for recovery. As you may guess the way to do that is by not leaving a hard drive behind for someone to try to use it. By utterly destroying the devices there is nothing left to be recovered, which protects any data you left behind.

Keeping With Compliance

Another reason for destroying hard drives comes down to legal requirements. There are various State and Federal laws that require the safe and proper handling of information. Two specific examples of laws are HIPAA for medical information, and FACTA for other areas. Failing to be in compliance will result in fines for businesses, and a loss of trust from your clients.

Environmental Impact

Another issue to keep in mind is putting electronics in the landfill negatively impacts the environment. There are toxic materials in electronics like various heavy metals. When allowed to deteriorate, leak toxins into the air, soil, and water. Those toxins will eventually find their way into all aspects of the ecosystem, including plants and animals that consume them. Eventually of course they find their way into humans, as we eat, drink, and breathe all the same things as the other animals.

Additionally there’s the issue of landfills filling in faster this way. The sooner a landfill reaches capacity, the sooner we have to open more. And then more and more will follow after it. Proper destruction takes the decimated components and sends them away for proper recycling. Toxic materials are handled properly, and the rest is turned into new products, lowering our overall impact.

In The End

So there we have it, 3 reasons why you should be destroying your hard drives when their time has come. It all comes down to doing what’s best for your data privacy, your legal responsibilities, and helping out the environment. Don’t take any chances, do it right from the beginning.