Several months ago my very geriatric laptop (a Christmas present back in 2010) stopped working. When I turned it on I could hear the computer start, but the screen remained black. At its age I decided it wasn't worth trying to repair it.
I rarely saved files on the laptop (preferring to network to the desktop computer in the kitchen, so everything was in one place). To the best of my recollection all that was the dead unit were a few clip arts. However, on the off chance I was wrong I didn't want to just recycle the computer as it was, and decided to remove and destroy the hard drive.
I asked Son Donald if he knew anything about the insides of laptops. He didn't, but was happy to take on the job of researching and completing the removal project. It took him 15 minutes, and at the end of it he handed me the small rectangular hard drive. While I was trying to figure out what the next step should be I set the hard drive on the kitchen island. After a couple of days it got buried by some papers. Today I moved those papers and saw the hard drive anew and decided it would be a good day to finish the project.
The WikiHow article How to Destroy a Hard Drive was a fun combination of practical (how to wipe the data) and witty (shooting the drive at a firing range) information. I wanted a fast and easy approach, so I choose the article's second method, which was Hammering the Hard Drive.
I took the drive and a hammer outside to the back patio, then started pounding vigorously on the cover. After several blows Donald, who had come out with me, decided he wanted to get involved, too. I watched him have fun banging on the drive until the cover separated into two pieces. He removed the magnet and gave the shiny platter a couple more whacks until it was completely shattered into small pieces.
The final step of the project was to clean up all the tiny shards that had flown to all corners of the patio and throw them away, knowing that my information was safe.
Five years ago today: Have Helmet Will Travel