Getting rid of data

I had to get rid of an old, partially-functional, memory stick.


Deleting all the data, formatting the drive and overwriting the free space is a good start, but any sensible user knows that data is never really gone. The best option is to physically destroy the device.

Major  companies use large physical shredders that chop hard disks into pieces, but that wasn’t an option for me.


However, a short trip in the microwave seemed to do the trick. When the microwave is running charge builds up on metal parts; if the difference in charge between two points becomes large enough a spark will jump across the gap.

A spark carries a large amount of energy in a small amount of space, and this release of energy will cause physical damage to both charged points. A memory stick contains many tiny metal parts and many tiny sparks will damage the drive to the extent that data is unrecoverable.


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