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Secure Drive Disposal

IMPORTANT CLOSURE NOTICE: Due to the closure of the Sansom West building during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secure Drive Disposal service is suspended until further notice. When we have information on the safe re-opening of Sansom West, we will update this page. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

ISC Client Care provides equipment to facilitate the secure and environmentally sustainable disposal of computer hard drives. IT staff can schedule time to make use of a degausser and hard drive "crusher" to dispose of hard drives with the confidence that any data previously stored on them is no longer retrievable.

The recommended approach is to first expose the hard drive to the degausser, which makes the hard drive completely unusable while damaging its storage system. The hard drive crusher is then used to break and mangle the drive, rendering it completely unrecoverable.

Drive remains can be placed in recycling bins located adjacent to the equipment and are recycled by Elemental, Inc., an e-waste recycling company that is fully licensed and permitted by the PA Department of Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

These services are provided to the IT community free of charge. IT staff can reserve time with the equipment by contacting ISC Client Care. Staff interested in using the service should review the HD Disposal FAQ prior to making an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a limit to the number or type of media I can bring?

While we don't place an explicit limit on the number of drives, on average you will only be able to process 60-70 drives per hour. If you are planning on bringing more than 60-70 drives, please let us know so we can schedule your appointment length accordingly.  Large numbers of drives can be destroyed for a fee through University Archives.

What types of media can degaussed?

Degaussing is effective for most magnetic storage media, but is not effective for Optical Media (CDs and DVDs),Key Tape, USB Thumb Drives, and Compact Flash drives.

What types of media can be destroyed in the "crusher"?

The hard drive crusher is designed for computer hard drives only. Attempting to destroy other types of media or devices can damage the equipment and/or void the University's warranty. Do not use the drive crusher for anything other than computer hard drives.

Is there any prep work that should be done in advance of my appointment?

Hard drives should be removed from equipment, including drive sleds, in advance of your arrival.

Are there any precautions I should take prior to using the equipment?

The degausser produces a strong magnetic field. While the majority of the field is contained within the equipment, enough escapes to warrant that the following precautions be observed when using the equipment:

  • Individuals with pacemakers should avoid coming within 15 feet of the device when it's in operation.

  • Credit cards, key fobs, watches, and handheld devices like cellphones, smart phones, and iPods should not come in direct contact with the degausser. However, placing such items in your back pants pocket should provide adequate protection to prevent them from being damaged.

  • Metal tools like screw drivers can be magnetized and should not be brought into the area where the equipment is housed.

Crushing can produce shards and sharp fragments. Gloves are available and should be worn when operating the equipment.