Adventures in Formatting

With help from Marc, Dan and Lee, I learned a really bad – albeit effective – way to format a hard drive yesterday:

Formatting by Ellen

It turns out that:

  • It’s a lot easier than you’d expect to snap hard disks.
  • They break into many, many little pieces that fly everywhere.
  • And the pieces are extremely sharp.

If you’re wondering whether we take our data security seriously, yes, we do. That’s my personal blood on the disc pieces and the desk.

I don’t recommend trying this.

7 thoughts on “Adventures in Formatting

  1. Dave Beauvais

    As you discovered, many drive platters are actually made of glass rather than metal. Glass is lighter weight than metal and easier to polish to a virtually perfectly smooth surface. I’m glad nobody was seriously injured! At my last job, we had a user who dropped her laptop down a set of concrete stairs, shattering the platters inside the drive into what sounded like thousands of tiny glass shards. On the up side, she had a nice maraca to play at the talent show.

  2. Marc

    As the guy who thought the drive was metal and gave it a bend, I’ll agree that this goes onto the list of “bad ideas.” Seriously, the thing exploded like a frag grenade. I got a sliver in one of my fingers and there were little knife shaped fragments EVERYWHERE in my office.

    Now I won’t say that it wasn’t cool :). That would be a lie. I mean it EXPLODED – how cool is that? But I wouldn’t do it again without some protective gear (goggles and gloves mainly.)

  3. Joe McConnell

    A tech whose opinion I trust says that the safe way to render a hard drive unreadable (which is, I assume, what you were trying to do) is to donate an old drill bit you don’t care about any more to the effort, and pop a hole right through case and all with an electric drill — or preferably a drill press. I’ll be giving that a try soon with a couple of old drives.

  4. taco

    Good bye Ilium. After using your software for years I am leaving because I’m tired of waiting for the ewallet for mac software to come out. I’m buying a competitors version today.

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