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Hard Drive Shredding

Posted on 25 February 2010 by Total Secure Shredding

Hard Drive DestructionHey Folks,

The information held on your hard drive is every “Bit”…

Get it… “Bit”… as in “Bits & Bytes”…. As in the Digital Language encoding all that information held on your hard drive?

Well, maybe not… but I’ll get a little more to that a “Bit” later.

Sorry, not any funnier the second time.

Anyway… the information held on your hard drive is every bit as important as the critical information that is held on paper documents.

The real question is: How do I get rid of those hard drives now that you’ve upgraded to a new computer?

Before we get into how to get rid of hard drives, maybe we should look a little further into how hard drives work and how exactly that information is stored.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to get that technical…

After all, you don’t have to be a computer engineer to know how to use a computer and you definitely don’t have to be an engineer to know how to destroy one.

So without further ado, put on your propeller hat and let’s get a little technical

First off, hard drives are very precision pieces of machinery.

All that information on your computer, believe it or not, is held on thin round metal plates that spin upwards of 7,200 rpm’s per minute. That’s pretty fast!

Every keystroke produces strings  of “1’s” and “0’s” (Those are the “Bits” referred to previously. Bytes are a packet of 8 Bits.) that are transferred and stored magnetically to these highly polished hard drive plates, also known as platters.

There are two very important things to remember from that last sentence:

  1. Magnetically Transferred
  2. Highly Polished Plates

So remember these two tidbits for when we get further along in the destruction process.

Well I think that’s all we need to know with regard to how hard drives work…

And actually, that’s about all I know when it comes to how hard drives works… see, I said you didn’t need to know much!

Now on to how we get rid of these hard drives…

There are basically three ways to commonly used to get rid of hard drives, or at least the information held on them.

The first is “Wiping the Entire Hard Drive”. This is the method of simply “overwriting” all your old information with new useless information – for example, writing 0’s over the entire hard drive.

One item of note is that “Wiping” IS NOT the same as “Reformatting” a hard drive or “Deleting” files on your hard drive. Also, the “Wiping” needs to be performed on the entire hard drive not just segments of the hard drive.

Special software is required to perform the “Wiping”.

Another method is called Degaussing. This is when powerful magnets are used to jumble up all those “1’s” and “0’s”.

Remember that fact about how information is transferred and stored magnetically on the hard drive.

There are machines on the market that perform this degaussing function.

However, the magnets hanging on your home refrigerator won’t cut it! You will need some heavy duty magnets or an actual degaussing device.

The third and final method for getting rid of hard drives is Physical Destruction. And as you might have guessed, this involves getting physical with your drive!

I’ve researched a few different ways. Some seem extremely stupid and hazardous to your health; Some seem potentially practical.

First some of the ridiculous:

Dissolve your hard drive in Hydrochloric Acid. This might work very well, but if you’re like me, you don’t have hydrochloric acid just laying around and moreover, like me, don’t know where in the world to get enough to dissolve an entire hard drive

Even if you had some around the house just waiting to get used, how do you get rid of it when you’re done?

But most important, do you really want to be messing around with acid?

Burn your hard drive with Thermite:  Why anyone would even recommend this is ridiculous. Again, this might work well for destroying a hard drive but if in the process you kill yourself, someone else, or burn down the entire neighborhood in the process – is it worth it? (That’s a rhetorical question by the way!)

Along with burning it with Thermite, I pretty much also include using a welder, blow torch, or plasma cutter. That’s great if you have one of those things and know how to use it, but for the rest of us…

Now we get to various other tools that include: Sledge Hammers, Hacksaws, Drills, & Grinders.

All these things would seem to work once you put on your safety gloves and goggles and invest enough elbow grease.

Here’s the thing, like I said before, hard drives are really sensitive. Remember the highly polished platter part.

Typically things that are not out in the open for people to see but nonetheless are highly polished – trust me it’s like that for a reason. Just a little bit of dust or putting one deep scratch on the surface could really foul things up.

So if you have the time and desire, grinding hard drive platters down to dust will do the trick.

Using a hack saw to cut the platters into pieces would also seem to work and along with drilling holes into them, beating them with sledge hammers and other forms of mutilation.

You might lose a finger or put out an eye in the process, but I guess that’s better than the potential outcome from mishandling hydrochloric acid or thermite.

After all, dropping a nuclear bomb on a hard drive might do the job also but let’s think about the collateral damage for a second!

The absolute safest, fastest, affordable, and most secure method of destroying hard drives I have found, by far, is shredding.

What I mean by this is simply throw your hard drive into one end of the machine and at the other end you get pieces.

That’s it – no hammers, explosives, acid, or anything else…

And if you could do that quickly, let’s say in about 30 seconds, so you could watch everything take place while you wait…

Ding, Ding, Ding… I think we have a winner!

The only thing about this method is that, well, the hard drive is done. Goodbye. No More Work.

With the “Wiping” and “Degaussing” methods mentioned above, you can use the hard drives again.

But in reality, who’s getting rid of great hard drives?

The hard drive that was great three years ago is no longer big enough to run the latest version of windows much less anything else.

So who wants your old hard drives, not many… Especially when you consider how affordable new ones are.

So I went out looking for a shredding solution where the proof of destruction was irrefutable.

I didn’t want a machine that worked some sort of “degaussing” or “wiping” magic on your hard drive.

You want proof! You want your hard drive reduced to pieces!

Once your hard drive, especially those platters, is in pieces, it is virtually impossible to pull information off the pieces.

It would literally take upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 dollars, an electron microscope, and hundreds of painstaking hours to pull information off a hard drive platter that is in multiple pieces.

But before you get too excited… I do have one piece of bad news…

Although my hard drive shredder is on order, it won’t be here until March 22nd. As of writing this, that’s just less than four weeks away.

So please, I beg you, put away the hydrochloric acid, the thermite, or any other dangerous technique you’ve devised to obliterate your hard drive.

Four weeks really isn’t that long – I PROMISE!

While we’re waiting for the new hard drive shredder to arrive, feel free to check out the new Total Secure Shredding, Inc. Hard Drive Web Page and let me know what you think.

It’s under construction; nothing is final (including prices). So what you see today could be completely different by March 22nd.

I look forward to your comments.

Until Next Time,

Keep Totally Secure,

Mike

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Job Well Done!

Posted on 13 January 2010 by Total Secure Shredding

welldone

Hey Folks,

I do get unsolicited emails from time to time but this one (posted below) takes the cake!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post it along with the other testimonials or do something special.

Well, this was  so good and gave such a great testament to how good of a job some of my staff have been doing that I had to post it on the blog.

Juan even jokingly said that it should go on the front page – but joking aside – I agree it should.

Total Secure Shredding, Inc. is definitely not a one man show and it takes committed and talented employees to keep this show running smoothly.

Thank you Juan & Vanessa for keeping up the great work – I truly appreciate it!!!

Until next time…

Keep Totally Secure,

Mike

Subject: Service Feedback

RE: Ticket # 4004910  - 01/13/2010

Just a quick note to compliment your organization on outstanding
customer service.

On the phone, Vanessa made it very easy for me to give our business for the second year in a row. I mentioned to her that you were my first call for securing a quote and she quickly and astutely responded with a slightly lower per box rate versus last year and a return customer discount. I appreciated that from her and scheduled the pick-up right then. I don’t think the call even lasted 10 minutes and I didn’t have to spend time calling around for other quotes. I also appreciated her follow up call yesterday, confirming today’s arrival time. Good job.

This morning, Juan was very accommodating, courteous and pleasant to work with. His professionalism was evident from our initial introduction. You are very fortunate to have Juan as the front man / face of your organization out in the field.

Please let both Vanessa and Juan know that their efforts were noticed and appreciated.

Thanks, Doug

Doug D.
Anderson Daymon Worldwide, LLC
Associate Regional Manager – San Diego & Mexico

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Happy New Year… Good Riddance 2009!

Posted on 31 December 2009 by Total Secure Shredding

New Year 2010

Hey Folks,

I’ve got to be completely honest and say that 2009 has been a tough year, as it probably has for most of you.

Tonight I think I’ll be celebrating not so much the New Year as much as I’ll be celebrating the end of the old year!

So in honor of this celebration we will be closed Friday, January 1st, and Saturday January 2nd.

We will see you all ready and eager to serve again on Monday.

I know I personally have rededicated myself to making Total Secure Shredding, Inc. the finest “One-of-a-Kind” Shredding Company in the world!

I finally feel like I have an extremely capable and talented crew on board for the coming New Year. (I had to make a replacement just this month!)

The final touches have been completed and the application submitted for our entire operation to complete an industry specific certification and audit.

A complete analysis and overhaul of our price structure is under way and has already been partially implemented… (Our competitors will have reason for concern!)

And the missing piece to our operation will be developed and put into place this coming year – SALES. Up to know, we’ve waited for customers to come knocking on our door. In 2010, we’ll begin heading out to see how many folks we can get in front of to let them know we are out here alive and kicking!

Well, that’s all I have for now, and to be honest, is a lot more than I expected to write about…

So we’ll see you on the flip side – Have a Happy, Safe, & Prosperous New Year.

Until Next Time…

Keep Totally Secure,

Mike

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Christmas Paper Shredding Special

Posted on 04 December 2009 by Total Secure Shredding

Xmas Present

Hey Folks,

Hard to believe its almost time to say goodbye to 2009.

The good news for us is that January marks the beginning of the Paper Shredding Busy Season. (Thank You New Years Resolutions!)

The bad news is that usually means we are slow in November & December because of the holidays.

In order to Bring Balance to the Shredding Universe, I am going to make a Ridiculous Offer to everyone on my email list…

Those already on my list, you don’t have to do anything. (Not sure if you’re on my list? I sent out an email yesterday to my list about our Facebook Fan Page. If you didn’t receive that – you’re most likely not on the list.)

To get on the list, all you need to do is put your Email Address in the box provided at the top of the side column over on the right.

The email I will be sending  has already been crafted and is waiting in queue to go out at exactly 12:00 pm on Tuesday December 8, 2009.

On that email, there will be a link to a Secret Web Page outlining all the details for this offer.

Here are a couple of hints: Mobile Shredding, Extremely Limited Time

Only those folks who receive the email will be able to access the offer and get to the Secret Web Page.

Just to recap, in order to receive this offer, you’ll have to:

  1. Make sure you’re on our mailing list.
  2. Open the email next Tuesday to follow the link to the Secret Web Page.
  3. Follow the instruction on the Secret Web Page.

This is a great opportunity to get a head start on your New Year Cleaning and receive an Awesome Discount while you do it.

Look for me in your email in-box next Tuesday Afternoon.

Until Then…

Keep Total Secure,

Mike

P.S. I will only send the email out once so you must be on my email list by Tuesday Morning. Enter your Email Address at the top of the right hand column right now… even if you’re not ready for this offer, you’ll be on the V.I.P List when it comes to Shredding Services.

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We Made It!

Posted on 25 November 2009 by Total Secure Shredding

Hit The Target

Hi Folks,

We made it through this 3 day work week hitting all our Mobile & Pickup Shredding Stops when we were supposed to and I didn’t even have to YELL at anyone!

… And I took another look at the State of California Holiday Schedule and the state is open on Christmas Eve – And so will we! (I’m sure a half day will cover it.) That means we aren’t due for another 3 day work week for at least a little while.

Not only that, I’ve been getting some great feedback on the new web site.

I love it when folks ask who wrote the copy on the web pages and I get to see the shock in their eyes when I say I did. Just a little satisfaction that the two weeks of writing it took (Many days I was at the shop in my office until 8, 9, and even 10 o’clock at night!) to put those pages together was well worth it.

And, to top everything off, we had a customer come all the way down from Orange County to drop-off and witness the shredding of their documents. I think they may have family down here in San Diego – but I’ll keep believing that they came down just for the shredding!

Other than that, I’m heading home to start a well deserved extremely long Thanksgiving Weekend. I hope you all do the same and I be back with you “Bright Tailed and Bushy Eyed on Monday Morning.

That being said, if you need any emergency paper shredding help over the weekend, please feel free to give me a call… I’ll do my best to get you taken care of.

Until Next Time…

Keep Totally Secure,

Mike

P.S. I purchased a High Definition Video Camera, Tripod, and Video Editing Software this week to start making Total Secure Shredding Videos. I have a few cool ideas to get the ball rolling that I think will be extremely helpful to potential new customers. Heck, I may also create a few videos not so helpful but hopefully entertaining – showing the lighter side of shredding. Who knows… I may become the next great film maker of our time! (Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath either!)

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