Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Drilling a hard drive will certainly destroy it! Your data should be safe from most recovery efforts.
Can I just go ahead and drill my hard disk platter without first running the DBan software? My floppy disc drive and CD drive is not usable because I don't have a floppy disc, and my CD drive isn't working. Will I be safe by doing this before donating my old computer?
In this excerpt from Answercast #16, I look at the damage that can be done to a hard drive with an electric drill; it's pretty extensive.
Absolutely! Drill away!
You don't need to run any software on the hard drive before physically destroying it in that manner. I mean - you can if it makes you feel better.
Ultimately, drilling holes through the hard drive, through the hard disk platters, is gonna cause several kinds of problems.
Unless you're really, really concerned about, like, national security agency kind of data recovery techniques, where they've got thousands of our dollars ready to focus on a problem like this, drilling the hole through the disk is absolutely going to render it effectively useless.
After you've done that. one of the things I might suggest you do before donating the machine is remove the hard drive and leave it out of the machine. Then donate the machine without a hard drive. Or, if you're feeling charitable, buy an inexpensive replacement hard drive that's empty and put it in there.
But remove the hard drive; drill some holes in it; run it through electronics recycling (so that you're not polluting a landfill somewhere) and you'll be just fine.
Next from Answercast #16 - Will deleting games free up more space on my hard drive?