6 Trillion Bytes in the Palm of Your Hand… Almost

I had reason to dispose of a couple of hard drives, but I didn’t want to throw them out with the data they contained. Unfortunately, they had died in such a way that my PC couldn’t recognize them on boot. Which meant I couldn’t use disk wiping software on them. I thought I was going to have to either take the risk of leaving the data on them, or pay a service to dispose of them catastrophically.

But then I had an idea.

Since I didn’t care what condition they ended up in, why not just disassemble them? And wreak havoc on the platters they contain?

So, behold, six trillion bytes of data neatly arranged on my dining room table:

By the way, taking them apart was quick and easy, provided you have the right tools (Torx, I think; the tips look like a Star of David). Only you have to find and undo the One Hidden Screw. Which I didn’t, on my first attempt…but I quickly realized it was there when I bent the metal cover:

Here’s where the One Hidden Screw is, at least on Seagate drives:

Seagate drives are a great investment if you like to disassemble hard disks. They fail relatively quickly, and in my experience generally fairly catastrophically.

After pulling the platters out I ran a magnet over both sides, and then, just because, I heated them up with a blowtorch. Not sure if I managed to reach the material’s Curie temperature, but at least I got to use a blowtorch for the first time in years.

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