What should I do with my tiny old hard drive?

I’ve been reading the recent thread about how to securely wipe data from a hard drive. I have an old hard drive sitting on my desk gathering dust, and I was thinking I should wipe it, just to be sure. Then I took a better look at the sticker on top. This thing is only 1.1 GB! I have a flash drive with more memory than that! My mp3 player has more memory, too. Why am I even bothering with this old drive?

So I turn to the ever brilliant and creative Dopers. What should I do with an old, uselessly small hard drive?

Take it apart for the nifty magnets inside.

Got any fireworks left over from the 4th?


Call your local high school, see if they want it. They probably won’t, but even really small drives can be useful for some things - my old high school had a pc tech class where we built our own machines, for example. They might appreciate old, disposable hard drives.

Or, failing that, go for the magnets. :slight_smile:

Magnets, absolutely. Those suckers can cling to each other through an oak door.

Thirded for those awesomely cool Neodymium magnets, I have a small collection of the things, they’re great for magnetizing screwdrivers…

Scroll down to the “Supermagnet” section, and tell me you wouldn’t want one of them…

Make yourself a turbine out of one! Or you could try downloading some Enzyte onto it to make it bigger! :wink:

Blend it!

You guys have got me curious about those magnets. I tried to disassemble the hard drive, but it’s got unusual screws with star-shaped slots. I think I’ll take it to work tomorrow and see if anything in the shop might fit. Maybe try those things for dealing with stripped screws. Worst comes to worst, I can drill out the screws.

I’ll probably break the hard drive platters, just to make sure the data is unreadable. There’s nothing illegal on there, but the general public doesn’t need to know what sorts of porn fetishes I had five or ten years ago.

Git yer self one o’ these. It’ll take care of 'dem screws.

If it were even a little bigger, I’d suggest something like this hard drive enclosure + card reader. (There are a bunch of manufacturers and a wide range of prices). It basically makes the drive capable of reading and storing the images from a digital camera’s memory card without having to involve a computer.

This is cost effective even with 5-10 GB drives, but in your case a 1GB additional memory card would probably be cheaper than the enclosure. Better go with the magnets.

It’s done. I stopped by the hardware store and bought a set of torx screwdriver bits to take care of the screws, and then I spent a happy hour or so dismantling the hard drive. I used my needle-nosed pliers to twist up the hard drive platters so they’ll be unreadable. (I expected them to shatter, but apparently they’re solid metal.) After much effort I finally found the Neodymium magnets and extracted them. And damn are those suckers powerful! There appears to be two pairs of them, one pair above the reader-arm and one below it. Each pair is glued to a little metal plate.

Currently, one pair is sitting on the bookshelf in my bedroom, while the other pair is on the bottom the shelf. They’re attracting each other thru 3/4 of an inch of wood. That’s a magnet! The rest of the drive went into the trash can. If I ever encounter torx screws again, I’ve now got a complete set of bits to deal with them. (Only cost me about $10.)

Now, what do I do with the magnets? :slight_smile:

I’ll tell you what NOT to do:

  1. Drop them (they shatter).
  2. Pinch a fold of skin between them.
  3. Stick them on a CRT
  4. Bring them on a small plane
  5. Store them with your backup floppy discs.

Stick 'em in your finger!

Stick them on someone’s car when they’re not paying attention? See how long it takes for them to realize it.