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DoD 5220.22-M specifies the following methods for destruction of hard drives with classified data:

  • Disintegrate
  • Incinerate
  • Pulverize
  • Shred
  • Melt

I've seen shredders of the type that might be used on a hard drive, and can probably imagine what incineration is like. But the options of "Disinitegrate", "Pulverize", and "Melt" seem... particularly fascinating.

Are there facilities that actually offer each of these as an option? If so, how exactly is each done?

(Bonus points for YouTube links.)

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I never get tired of watching this thing operate:!modal/4 – tylerl Feb 2 '12 at 20:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are facilities that provide this service. The facilities are often contracted in for facility-wide "shred-days." In house, the military has Defense Re-utilization and Marketing Office (DRMO.) This office attempts to re-sell, or re-utilize equipment safe for use, or is often used in disposition.

Here's what Ive found:


Basically, this is a hammer mill that rotates. Centrifigul force pushes metal "planks" out that shmammer-the-heck out of the hard disk, until it is reduced in size enough to pass through the holes in the filter part of the chamber.

Watch hard drives being Pulverized @ YouTube


Basically, Disintegrating is shredding, but designed for use primarily on plastics such as CDs. This works in a very similar manner to a hammer mill, however it uses blades to cut/shred the items.

Watch paper, plastic, and a CD being disintegrated @ YouTube


Certain hard drives components are melted, such as the aluminum chassis, AFTER the disk has been destroyed through other means.

Watch hard drive melting @ YouTube

I hope this helps!

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Thanks for the vids... I have to say that when he stuck his hand in the disintegrator, I was nervous. Pulverizing vid was awesome. – Jeff Feb 4 '12 at 12:59

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