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HOWTO: Dismantle a HDD for data destruction or fridge magnets or...

So, I had a couple of drives that died on me, well one was technically salvageable but there wasn't really anything worth going through the effort for. So I decided I'd take them apart, because I need more fridge magnets, and the platters are really shiny and... that's probably useful.. For something. Also it's a roundabout way to destroy everything on the HDD if you're really concerned about that sort of thing. So, here we go.

 

First off you'll need a couple of things.

 

  • A broken HDD, or a not broken one you want to destroy
  • A TX-8 screwdriver or bit or one of those angled keys,
  • (A TX5 screwdriver or bit or one of those angled keys, not sure about this one, I almost never use torx that small)
  • A pair of needle nosed pliers if you don't have the required TX screwdriver for one of the screws
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • About 10-20 minutes of time

Now secondly this WILL BREAK YOUR HARD DISK DRIVE, do NOT do this unless you're willing to DESTROY the drive.(Unless you for some reason have a clean room and all the required things to avoid permanently breaking a drive that is.)

 

Now, most of the pictures I took are pretty blurry, I didn't put much effort into that, but I've added annotations where necessary, and there will be text to go with each picture.

 

The first step is to remove a bunch of labels and little stickers that hide the bolts, it's a bit manufacture specific but for the most part the screws should be in about the same place as shown here.(Note: two screws are removed, but it's kinda obvious where they go) This is the point of no return, once you've taken off even one of the screws there are no guarantees that your HDD will ever work again.

 

illustrasjon_boltplassering_edited.jpg

 

It's pretty hard to tell from the picture, but all except one of the gray blurs are little TX-8 screws, the only one that isn't a screw is the one that is just below the top right one. Just remove all of these, and the one in the middle has its own explanation.

 

Now, the lid should be ready to pop off, shouldn't be too tricky, just use a flat head screwdriver or a knife or something to help it along, if you can get a good grip you should be able to tear it off with just your hands.

 

demonteretoppdeksel.jpg

 

Now, once that's off you'll be greeted by something like this

 

toppdeksel_av.jpg

 

So yeah, that's what a HDD looks like on the inside. Those platters are real tough things, it might just be a WD thing, but I've shot a couple of similar drives and unless you hit dead center the platters will absorb a shot from a S&W 1911 .45" ACP and .357" magnum shots from a revolver.(Incidentally so will a stock AMD heatsink, well from the Athlon series at least, haven't shot any other heatsinks..)

 

Now the parts I want, the magnets.

 

ovremagnet.jpg

 

You'll, I'd say, definitely need something to pry those suckers loose, afaik they're neodynium magnets and they're damn strong, at least when you stick them together like they are inside a HDD-

 

overmagnet_demontering.jpg

 

Trusty old flathead screwdriver should do the trick.

 

ovremagnet_demontert.jpg

 

Takes a bit of fenangeling but it'll come right off, no screws holding it down. Next up is the end stop for the read/write head. Again the flathead screwdriver comes in handy, or pliers if you prefer that.

 

endestopper_leseskrivehode.jpg

 

Should pop right off enabling you to turn the read/write head far enough to the side to lift it off.

 

lese_skrivehode_demontert.jpg

 

The black connector is loosely glued in place, or just slightly stuck to the rubber grommet/seal. The final magnet is held down by a single screw, in some older drives and maybe some other manufacturers drives it might be glued in place. (I don't know why this picture has the wrong orientation, it just has for some reason no matter what I do, re-uploaded, changing orientation on photobucket.. Just nope)

 

nedre_magnet_skrue_til_opplasting.jpg

 

Now the platters, these are by now completely screwed and unusable for most people without very specialized equipment. So no worries about smearing them with fingerprints and whatnot.

 

The stack is held in place by a central flange which is held down by a bunch of little screws. I think these have a TX size a step down from TX-8, but I managed to get them out by applying a good amount of pressure on the screwdriver.

 

platter_holder_skruer.jpg

 

You're gonna get a lot of fingerprints on the platters now, the easiest way to avoid the whole thing to rotate is to just put your thumb on the outer edge of the platter and then undo the screws. Once you've gotten the hold down flange off you can take the first platter off.

 

platter_holder_demontert.jpg

 

Now, to get the rest of the platters off you need to remove one more screw, this is a TX-8 head screw.. Not really sure what the bits it's holding in place does, I can only assume it's some kind of anti-wobble device(Again, no idea what's up with the orientation on this picture.. .. It only says TX-8 head bolt anyway)

 

antiwobbler_skrue_edited.jpg

 

Just for context:

 

antiwobbler_demontert.jpg

 

Once you've undone that screw you can just turn the entire thing upside down and the platters should come out, it might take a few attempts to get all of them out, but there's nothing holding them in place anymore. Between each platter there's a spacer ring.

 

Now if you're really paranoid you might want to destroy the PCB as well, you can remove this first or last, doesn't really matter, just a few screws holding it in place.

 

pcb_demontering.jpg

 

All the screws undone, just pull the sucker right off.

 

pcb.jpg

 

There. Now you have some really expensive fridge magnets, or a very shiny wind chime, or the option to melt the platters.. Or something, in any case, this is pretty easy and straightforward and anyone can do this if they have the tools for it at least.

 

NOTE: In some drives, (this might just apply to really really old drives not really sure) the platters might be made of glass or ceramics, try not to break them because you'll probably cut yourself real bad and make an incredible mess that will leave you with glass/ceramic shards all over your room for years. AFAIK most modern drives have aluminium platters with a magnetic oxide layer on them, but do be careful.

 

So yeah, the best way to destroy all data on the disk? I'd say take an angle grinder to the platters and grind off all the oxide, or a blowtorch, or ... Something, be creative :D Or you could just tie a string to it and hang it on a frame and use the platters as a wind chime. Do whatever you want.

 

Also, I'm in no way responsible for anything that happens because you opened your HDD. :)

I'm one of the few people I know that tend to repair electronics with a smith's hammer on a regular basis.

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I have just done this to some old drives, need some ideas of what to do with the platters, they are so pretty :)

 

 

Also, I'm in no way responsible for anything that happens because you opened your HDD. :)

I died

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I disclaimer should be added, Also a warning that the Hard drive will be 100% broken as soon as one of those screws comes slightly lose. 

Please quote/tag ( Found by typing @DarrenP) In all posts directed at me. I do not check my current content. 


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I used the flange that holds the platters down for a key chain, the magnet for a screwdriver holder & the platter for a mirror to see who's sneaking up on me at work. :D

 

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I disclaimer should be added, Also a warning that the Hard drive will be 100% broken as soon as one of those screws comes slightly lose. 

 

There is one. It's at the top. The last sentence before the first picture.

I'm one of the few people I know that tend to repair electronics with a smith's hammer on a regular basis.

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What a neat idea, thanks for sharing.  :)

    /\  _   /\

=( ಠ__ಠ )=

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Do you know any good sources of old hard drives or computer scrap in general?

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I used the flange that holds the platters down for a key chain, the magnet for a screwdriver holder & the platter for a mirror to see who's sneaking up on me at work. :D

 

YfNirEPh.jpg

I love the idea for the keychain ring. I also used magnets from mine for a screw driver holder :ph34r:

 

Great tut and you should put a warning of how dangerous the magnets can be if you try to reconnect them in your hands. I gave myself quit the blood blister my first time around :o lol.

"Do not pray for and easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one."

 

"A place where everything and nothing exists, this is my playground."

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