What Is Degaussing and Why Should You Do It?

Whether you are running a business or are just a private individual, you want to protect information about yourself. There are a whole host of reasons you might not want information about you to get into the wrong hands, whether they are sensitive secrets, scripts you never want published or simply personal information someone could use to steal your identity. Even destroying the hard drive with a hammer might not be enough to completely destroy the information inside, but fortunately, there is a way to completely erase your hard drive. You will need to degauss the hard drive.

What Is Degaussing?

To understand how degaussing a hard drive works, you first need to know about magnetic information storage. Magnetic storage has been used for nearly a century now; you might be familiar with VHS or cassette tapes that had a magnetic strip to store music of videos. A degausser would basically emit an even stronger magnetic signal, completely cancelling out the signal on the strip before. Though no tapes are involved, the spinning metal discs that form the core of hard drives also store information magnetically on a much larger and more complex scale. A powerful enough degausser can do to the hard drive what a more simple one can do to the tape, completely erase the information by flattening out the magnetic signature with a larger one. When you degauss a hard drive, this is absolute; you might be able to re-record music on a wiped tape, but a wiped hard drive loses everything, including startup data, at which point it’s just an expensive brick.

Never simply throw out a hard drive with sensitive information. Even if you can’t use it and need to get rid of it, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t be capable of pulling at least partial information from it. Make sure to properly degauss any hard drive you need to get rid of.

If you need to degauss a hard drive, contact EPE Components today.

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