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What’s Involved in Degaussing a Hard Drive?

You may want to learn how to degauss a hard drive if you wish to permanently erase all data stored in it for safe disposal or recycling purposes. Degaussing is a kind of demagnetizing that involves subjecting an object like a hard drive to a magnetic field that has a stronger, fluctuating intensity. The strong magnetic field is created via a machine referred to as degausser. Subjecting your hard drive to this strong, shifting magnetic field causes its magnetic charge to be reset to a neutral state. When the entire magnetic charge of the memory device is reset to neutral, all the data it contained is erased completely.

If you’re planning on buying a degausser to erase the data in your hard disk, just know that there are different types of the devices that use varying degaussing technology. You may buy a coil degausser or the one that relies on capacitive discharge or a permanent magnet.

With a coil degausser, there’s a steel core that’s wrapped in copper wire, which when activated, produces an alternating electromagnetic field. The electromagnetic field generated by the degausser is present as long as the device is on, and that can lead to the overheating of the coil. To prevent the overheating of the coil, an ac degausser should have a restricted duty cycle. Degaussing devices using large coils are fitted with fans for cooling the coil and prolonging the duty cycle.

A degausser that’s powered by capacitive discharge technology creates and stores energy in massive capacitors. When powered up, the capacitors are fully charged with energy, after which they discharge to form an extremely strong electromagnetic pulse. Because the burst of energy is short-lived, it does not allow the coil to overheat throughout degaussing. The operating cycle for a capacitive discharge degausser is longer for this reason. Owing to the fact that energy is released in the manner of a pulse with capacitive discharge degaussers, the devices are sometimes called pulse degaussers.

In case you seek the capacity to run a degausser without stopping for may be seven days a week, choose a permanent magnetic type since it has no electronic part that’s prone to overheating. These varieties of degaussers are fitted with magnets of different sizes, and the bigger ones are capable of producing extremely intense magnetic fields.

If you seek to degauss any memory object, ascertain that you don’t want it anymore as there’s the possibility your computer won’t recognize it after degaussing. Objects like hard drives employ servo tracks that include information which the computer interprets to know how to interface with them to enable reading. Degaussing wipes off the servo tracks plus all other data, making it impossible for your computer to recognize the device in its degaussed state.
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