Drilling hole make data unrecoverable
Does drilling a hole into a hard drive suffice to make its data unrecoverable?
Serverfault user asked a question about the hard drive, saying if we drill a hole into the hard drive, will data on it be recoverable or not, what he says is like this:
We have a lot of PCs in the company and nobody wants to wipe a multitude of hard drives. We also have many apprentice toolmakers who really want to destroy things. Thus, every couple of months, our apprentices receive two heavy baskets of hard drives to drill through.
Some of my coworkers believe that this is absolutely overkill. I, however, believe that not wiping the drives before drilling through them might make some data recoverable.
How about drilling a hole?
In fact, it’s the platter in the hard drive that matters, if the hole you drilled is not on the platter, then data on it can still be recovered if professional agencies take the it out and run it in a reasonable environment, which might be difficult for software-based recovery methods, but not for hardware-based recovering.
And another user from the same forum shared his answer to us, with more info, here’s what he said:
Drilling a hole in the drive enclosure which passes through all the platters will make it impossible to run the drive.
Then he explained what modern Hard drives inside look like, and we also have some screenshots here showing what’s the inside and how’s it working, we titlted this page to Will magnet erase data on the hard drive? You can click on to learn more. Let’s check more about what the user shared:
Most modern HDDs don't have air inside the enclosure, and you've let what was in there escape. You've filled the cavity with tiny pieces of drill swarf, which will be on everything including the platters, and will crash the heads if someone tries to lower them onto the rotating platters. You've also unbalanced the platters, though I don't have an estimate for whether this will be fatal. The drill bit will likely pass through the controller board on the way, which though not fatal will certainly not help anyone trying to hook the drive up.
You have not prevented someone from putting the platter under a magnetic force microscope and reading most of the data off that way. We can be fairly sure this is possible, because the SANS paper linked from the linked SF article demonstrates that you can't recover data from a platter with an MFM after a single overwriting pass, and such a test would be completely meaningless if you couldn't recover non-overwritten data using the same procedure.
And finally, here’s the conclusion, like I said above, what matters is the platter inside instead of other parts of the hard drive.
So drilling through the platters will very likely prevent data from being read off the HDD by normal means. It won't prevent much of the data being recoverable by a determined, well-funded opponent.
Here’s the source link of the question, at the end of the answer, this user also gave us some useful tips about data security, you can click on if you’re interested.
Besides the physically destroying hard drive, we’d like to recommend the software method to wipe data first before the Electric drill, ByebyeData Eraser is the data sanitation program we’d use before getting rid of mechanical hard drives. It has the following features:
Erase files and folder; Erase free space; Erase entire drive; Erase entire disk and the ability to create bootable media, which makes erasing the system disk or drive possible.
In the above we mentioned, I think two features of our program can help to make data clean, yes, the software can wipe data clean before you drilling a hole into the disk. Two features are: Creating bootable media and Erase entire disk.
Here’s is the complete guide on how to erase everything with screenshots and text tutorials.