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Settle an argument

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3 replies to this topic

#1 harkcomp


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Posted 03 October 2014 - 08:30 PM

Two of my friends are arguing whether exposing a hard drive disc to a magnet will or will not erase the data on the disc. One says yes....the other says no. 

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#2 Lady77


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Posted 03 October 2014 - 09:26 PM

Yes -exposing a magnet to a disc WILL erase the data

#3 JohnC_21


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Posted 03 October 2014 - 09:27 PM

Yes and no. In order to make sure the drive is totally erased you need a very powerful magnet used on a professional erasure machine. Modern High Capacity drives are even harder to erase.



Edited by JohnC_21, 03 October 2014 - 09:29 PM.

#4 Platypus


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Posted 03 October 2014 - 09:37 PM

It will depend mainly on the strength of the magnet. Hard drives can be erased by an intense magnetic field, as mentioned by JohnC, and as per the degausser linked to below for example. However some people have experimented with TV degaussing wands and large speaker magnets and found that the magnets generally available aren't powerful enough to erase the platter. Others report success with exotic high field intensity magnets, and possibly situations that expose the platter more, such as laptop form factor drives, where a magnet can get physically closer to the platter. A magnetic field diminishes with the square of the distance, so for any given magnet, being restricted to twice the distance from the platter decreases the field strength 4 times, etc.


I think the best we can say is that a magnet can erase a hard drive, but you cannot say it always will.



Edited by Platypus, 03 October 2014 - 09:39 PM.

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