How To Take Apart an iMac (and Replace its Hard Drive)

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Overview on wiping a hard drive

It’s common to most users to sell or give away computer or hard drive when they want to dispose of old device or upgrade to new ones. You may have already formatted the hard drive or deleted files on it in order to erase sensitive personal data and avoid becoming the victim of identity theft.

However, the fact is that wiping out a hard drive is not as easy as deleting data or formatting hard disk. Simply deleting files by Shift + Delete or emptying the Recycle Bin does not permanently clear data, as deleted files can easily be recovered by recovery software. Formatting a hard drive does not completely erase data either. Though operating system cannot see deleted or formatted data and the drive looks empty, average users are able to get back lost data easily with the help of hard drive recovery software.

If you view tech forums or comminutes online, you can see lots of users looking for an easy way to clean storage devices, and here is one of them:

“What is the best way to clean the hard drive of my laptop? I’m going to selling it to someone but want to ensure all personal files are securely erased. What I want to do is cleaning hard drive completely and reinstalling Windows 7 (its configurations does not suitable for Windows 10). Everything on the hard disk has been backed up to my external hard drive, I’m hoping one of you here can tell me how to clearing PC step by step? I know how to install Windows from CD but have no idea how to safely wipe hard disk. Many thanks!”

Why deleting and formatting is not the same as erasing hard drive?

Are you one of those who hold the view that deleting a file is similar to erase it? If yes, you should take a fresh look at this issue. We’ll explain reasons in an easier manner.

Hard drive is a kind of storage devices which is used to store digital data. Files are stored on the surface of magnetic and rotating platters in hard disk case. Hard disk changes the magnetic property of platter surface to 1 or 0 when reading or writing data. Thus all data on hard drive will be finally stored in the form of basic binary data, for example, when system saves data like photos, music, etc. on hard drive, rows of zeros and ones are recorded on platters.

When a file is deleted, those ones and zeros of that files stays unaffected, for only a pointer indicating the file is being deleted. Therefore, the recovering deleted files is available before file data gets overwritten or damaged. What about disk formatting? Formatting works in a similar way, as it does not actually wipe data. Formatting disk or partition looks like tearing the contents of a book without disturbing actual chapters of the book. Recovery software is also able to retrieve lost files from formatted disk.

How does hard disk wiping works?

You may wonder how disk wiping works since deletion and formatting does not work on permanently clean hard drive. Apart from physical damage to hard drive, we can completely remove data with disk wiping technology.

As we’ve mentioned above, to completely erase disk, we should remove those binary data, which means overwriting those zeros and ones with new data. Once binary data of a file is replaced and overwritten by new data, it cannot be recovered any more. Some professional disk eraser software is able to filling up disk with zeros or random information sector by sector, ensuring no data can be recovered from a wiped disk.

The Nuclear Option

When nothing less than total destruction will do, just make sure you do it safely. I asked around to see if our team could recommend the best way to bust up your drive. Our Senior Systems Administrator, Tim Lucas, is partial to explosives, but we don’t recommend it. You can wipe an HDD with a magnet, otherwise known as “degaussing,” but a regular old fridge magnet won’t work. You’ll need to open up your PC and get at the hard drive itself, and you’ll need a neodymium magnet—one that’s strong enough to obliterate digits (both the ones on your hard drive and the ones on your hand) in the process. Not the safest way to go, either.

If you’re going to tear apart your PC to get at the HDD anyway, drilling some holes through the platter or giving it an acid bath are better options, as our CEO, Gleb Budman, explained in this Scientific American article. Drilling holes distorts the platter, and acid eats away at its surface. Both render an HDD unreadable.

Finally, we still stand by our claim that the safest and most secure way to destroy an HDD, and the only way we’d recommend physically destroying an SSD, is to shred it. Check with your local electronics recycling center to see if they have a shredder you can use (or if they’ll at least let you watch as giant metal gears chomp down on your drive). Shredding it should be a last resort though. Drives typically last five to 10 years, and millions get shredded every year before the end of their useful life. While blowing up your hard drive is probably a blast, we’re pretty sure you can find something even more fun to do with that old drive.

Still have questions about how to securely erase or destroy your hard drives? Let us know in the comments. And if you’re curious about how to erase a Mac HDD or SSD, read our guide here.

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How to wipe a Windows data drive

If you want to wipe a data drive on your computer — essentially any drive that’s not the “C” drive with Windows installed — Windows doesn’t provide a highly secure way to do that. Your best bet is to use a third-party utility. There are many available, but one of the easiest to use is also free for personal use. We recommend that you download DBAN and follow its instructions for securely wiping your drive.

Part 4. How to Recover Lost Files

Hard Drive Data Recovery is a task that is to be undertaken by professionals. This task is mostly undertaken in cleanrooms to make sure no impurities such as dirt come upon the hard drive during the repair process. Other ways can be used to repair a hard drive, whether you refer to it as SSD or HDD repair or having to fix the external hard drive, it will all be referred to as fixing a hard drive and one can even repair drive windows 10. Some things to note are that one may need to know what is a hard drive? As well as how it works.

So, to clearly and simply put it, hard drive data recovery is a process that will get back the data lost from a hard drive, either due to unfortunate circumstances such as a crash, data corruption, or due to a hard drive failure. It is possible to get back this data. In the rarest circumstances that the hard drive is severely damaged, data recovery may almost be impossible and that is usually up to a data recovery professional to determine.

1. What Is Hard Drive Recovery?

As clearly explained above, Hard Drive Recovery is the clinical process of getting back data lost on a hard drive. This process could at times be through repairing or having to fix the hard drive to retrieve the data. It’s always good to live this task to professionals to figure out what needs to be done so as not to increase further damage to the drive.

With the advent of technology, there has recently come up with a unique way to recover data. The presence of this new data recovery technique on hard drives has simplified the task from the tedious mechanical process to the use of a professional hard drive recovery software. It performs the job seamlessly and it has been proven the world over that this method works.

What can Recoverit hard drive data recovery software do?

The undisputed and marvelous hard disk recovery software that gets the job done is known as Recoverit. There will be no need to replace the hard drive, just a few elaborate clicks with this software, and all the data is recovered back to your system, all with ease and simplicity. So, here are some of its magnificent features.

  • Recoverit Hard Drive Recovery Software is state-of-the-art software that is designed to help all users, be it the novice or professional to retrieve their data. It has a clear, exquisite, and friendly GUI that makes the recovery operation exciting, fun, and simplified. This software has a powerful algorithm that performs scans on the hard disk to figure out the issue and repair it. It does this in a very short time and can even run simultaneous scans and will provide a detailed report for you to be able to fix the hard drive.
  • Supports different brands of hard drives for Windows and Mac system –external hard drives and internal hard drives (SSD and HDD), USB flash drive, memory card, etc.
  • Supports different brands of external hard drive brand (Sandisk, Seagate, WD, Lacie, etc)

What’s recoverable with Recoverit hard disk recovery software?

Using Recoverit Data Recovery Software is very easy. That aside, the features supported by the software are extensively making it a comprehensive data recovery software. This means, with the software one can recover many different types of files as it supports many different file formats. Some of the file formats supported include:

  • Documents
  • Graphics
  • Videos
  • Audios
  • Emails
  • Zip and Rar files among many other file formats in existence

Besides the types of data recoverable using the software, one can even perform an external hard drive recovery, using this tool. How to recover files from an external hard drive is pretty simple and that’s not all, it even supports many data loss scenarios. The data loss scenarios supported by the software include recovery of:

  • Lost Data
  • Deleted Data
  • Formatted Data
  • Corrupted Data
  • Infected Data
  • It also supports the recovery of data from a system crash

How Much Does Hard Drive Recovery Software Cost?

From external hard drive data recovery to any other data recovery scenario, the cost of the task will depend on what is to be done. There are many scenarios when it comes to data recovery, for instance like performing a hard disk bad sector repair or doing a hard disk health check. Below are some of these scenarios and what they may cost.

Doing a software repair may cost between $40-150

A hard drive replacement will be between $100-225

Liquid Damage Repair $99-250+

SSD Upgrade $150-400+

Data Recovery $99-1000+

Typically, it will cost you over $40 to do any kind of repair or adjustment to an old, or failing system.

With Recoverit Professional Data Recovery Software, so much can be achieved with less than $40 for the Pro version of the software which will help solve many data loss scenarios and you can even learn a couple of new things for the novice PC user, on how to repair the PC yourself. Though it is highly recommended to seek the advice and assistance of a professional. Also, this price is for both the Mac and Windows version.

While many other hard disk recovery software goes for over $40 to perform the same service, Recoverit Is acknowledged as one of the best SSD and HDD repair tools in the market that performs exemplary.

Step 1: Picking the Location

You will first need to get the software, install it then launch it to use it. Once the software has been launched, you will need to select a recovery option from those provided on the main interface of the software as shown below.

Step 2: Scan the Location

Step 2: Scan the Location

Typically, the software will run an All-Around Recovery scan and search for the lost and deleted files on the entire drive.

Step 3: Preview and Recover

Step 3: Preview and Recover

When the scan completes, the files will be listed on the screen. The software will sort out the files according to format to make the search easier. You can select multiple files at a time and have a preview at them.

How Do I Replace a Hard Drive?

Maritsa Patrinos @Lifewire

To replace a hard drive, you'll need to back up any data you want to keep, uninstall the old hard drive, install the new hard drive, and then restore the backed up data.

Here's a bit more on the three required steps:

  1. Backing up the data you want to keep is the most important step in this process! The hard drive isn't the valuable thing—it's the priceless files you've created and collected over the years.

    Backing up could mean something as simple as copying files you want over to a large flash drive or other storage you’re not using. Better yet, if you’re not backing up regularly already, use this as an opportunity to start with a cloud backup service, so you never even run the chance of losing a file again.

  2. Uninstalling the existing hard drive is easy. Make sure your computer is turned off and then disconnect the hard drive and physically remove it.

    The details here depend on the type of computer you have, but in general, this means removing data and power cables or sliding the hard drive out from the bay that it's installed into.

  3. Installing the new hard drive is as simple as reversing the steps you took to uninstall the one you're replacing! Secure the drive where the old one was before and then reconnect the same power and data cables.

  4. Once your computer is back on, it’s time to format the hard drive, so it’s ready to store files. Once that’s done, copy the data you backed up to the new drive, and you’re set!

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