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Destroying Obsolete Backup Data


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#1 OFFLINE   ebrke

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:46 PM

I have found myself with a load of old DVD backups of 2 different personal computer systems. I want to destroy the DVDs for security reasons, but shredding this much media will put a strain on the only shredder I have that can handle a DVD. These were system backups made with proprietary Lenovo backup software.

Any opinions on whether I'd be safe shredding maybe 2 or 3 DVDs out of each backup set of 7 and just throwing the rest away? I've read that the backup is useless if there's a problem with any single DVD, but I'm still a little worried about just tossing the DVDs. I'd just like to avoid shredding every single DVD if I can.
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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 05:05 PM

Just wrap them in plastic wrap and take a hammer to them or drill through them..
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#3 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:45 AM

Hello,

I agree with SecurityBreach.  Breaking them into pieces should be sufficient.

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#4 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:24 AM

Quote

Any opinions on whether I'd be safe shredding maybe 2 or 3 DVDs out of each backup set of 7 and just throwing the rest away?
This will be fine unless you have a demented stalker - that is, a wacko specifically targeting you. But even then, it will be extremely challenging and very time consuming to get any useful information and then it would only be bits and pieces.

Sadly, you didn't tell us how many DVDs you are talking about so we really don't know the magnitude of your problem. Are we talking 100s and 100s of DVDs, or just 20 or 30? Breaking 100s into pieces may take some time - not to mention there is the risk of shrapnel taking out an eye.

If me, I would shred at least the first DVD from each backup set and probably the last DVD too. Shredding the first would destroy the set and most likely create a "sour grapes" scenario for all but the most determined bad guy. Yeah, the data would still be on the remaining disks but no in any coherent, recoverable format without special software, skills and lots of time.

Then I would take an awl, icepick, sharp screwdriver or a big sharp nail to the others and put a couple deep scratches in each. Kids may really enjoy doing this!

I would also mix up (shuffle) the disks from all the sets. Then over the next few weeks, throw some in the trash - that is, not all at once.

Edited by Digerati, 13 September 2017 - 10:29 AM.

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#5 OFFLINE   ebrke

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:42 PM

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Sadly, you didn't tell us how many DVDs you are talking about so we really don't know the magnitude of your problem. Are we talking 100s and 100s of DVDs, or just 20 or 30?
Unfortunately, I'm talking about 100+; I'd just shred 20 or 30. I may use a combination of all techniques suggested (if I can find a drill I haven't seen in the basement for about 10 years!). Thanks everyone.
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#6 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:57 PM

If you can stack them up so none slip out and drill through a whole bunch at once, then a drill seems like a good idea. One hole is probably enough but I would do 2 or 3 holes just to feel better about it. Tin snips work great for one or two at a time. Just grinding the data surface with your foot on the street or sidewalk would scratch it up enough too.
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#7 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:30 AM

Hello,

Do you have a microwave oven?

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#8 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:28 AM

A MW oven will surely work, but the problem with zapping them in a MW oven is there is a metallic layer in the disks made up of aluminum alloys that can/will vaporize, become toxic and hazardous if inhaled. After a few seconds of zapping, a lightning storm will occur (entertaining but not good for the magnetron) then cease, after which the various plastic formulas continue to heat up and will begin to melt releasing more toxic fumes. If zapping, it is recommended you only do a few at a time on a microwave safe plate (that you don't want any more) along side a large container of water you can prop the disks against.

I would not use a microwave oven except outside, with a few CDs/DVDs at a time, and if I had no plans on keeping the oven afterwards.

Since you have so many disks, you might want to look at data destruction services in your area. These are either facilities you take your DVDs, documents and even old hard drives to that have industrial shredders like this one, or monster shredders mounted on big trucks that come to you. These services are bonded, insured and very effective and typically let you witness the destruction.

Edited by Digerati, 14 September 2017 - 09:28 AM.

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#9 OFFLINE   Pete!

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:24 AM

IMHO: Don't use a microwave or a fire. Even if you don't destroy the microwave or poison yourself, the neighbors might complain about the smell. Depending on where you are, local environmental or hazmat officials may feel obliged to interfere.

Wrap them up in a towel or blanket, (to catch the fragments), and use a hammer.

Alternative: Do you shoot skeet?

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Edited by Pete!, 14 September 2017 - 10:37 AM.


#10 OFFLINE   ebrke

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:58 PM

Don't worry, Pete!, I wouldn't have considered fire. Smashing disks wrapped in plastic on the cement garage floor may be what I wind up doing.
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#11 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:20 PM

View Postebrke, on 14 September 2017 - 04:58 PM, said:

Don't worry, Pete!, I wouldn't have considered fire. Smashing disks wrapped in plastic on the cement garage floor may be what I wind up doing.

And the plastic helps to keep the splinters contained. They do sometimes pop and spray plastic everywhere.
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#12 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:31 PM

All you really have to do with CDs or DVDs to keep the average-joe nosy-body from accessing your data on them is to get yourself some course sandpaper and scratch up the data side really well. Or just do like I do... I put mine on the concrete porch out back and just drag 'em back a forth a few times with your foot gently pressing down on them. Scratches 'em up beyond repair. :)

#13 OFFLINE   ebrke

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

Thanks everyone. A combination of shredding, scuffing and hammering will probably get me through these disks.
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#14 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:04 PM

The good news is, destroying things is a good way to relieve stress! ;)
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