Instructables

What is the best FASTEST way to destroy your laptop?

Yes there are hundreds of ways that take time.  See, I have a friend who has done some internet things that he is concerned have not completely been deleted from his hard drive.  He is expecting a knock on his door any day, with feds coming to take all of his computer equipment away.  He is afraid that the csi's will be able to undelete these files.  Will dropping the laptop in a sink of hot soapy water destroy it?  Or maybe alcohol or bleach or something?  Any suggestions?  He does not want to destroy it until the last minute, cause he just does not have $$ to buy another one.

mary510 (author) 4 years ago
Thank you all for your quick answers.  As far as what my friend did exactly, I am not sure but he said he used free outside wifi, so no tracking his ip, so everything is actually on the hard drive.  I see that hard drives are very reasonably priced, so replacing would be the best solution.  And cheapest, instead of destroying the whole lap top.  Now I also see that external hard drives are cheap too, so could he remove the original hard drive and then just connect a external hard drive into a usb, or would he have to replace the one in the laptop?  If he would have to do that, then could he also add an external and use the external as the primary hard drive, so if someone knocks on his door he can disconnect the usb and drop it in his pocket and give the lap top to the door knocker with a smile?  Just an idea to relay to my friend.  Thanks again for your ansers.............
:D good for you!
Generally, laptops won't boot from an external drive.

And if you think they won't insist on a search when they come knocking, you're kidding yourself.

I won't repeat my suggestion, nor state my opinion.
open it find a deserted parking lot and attack a rope to the computer and drag it around for a while then go on a tall building and drop it and presto one broken laptop :D
acidbass4 years ago
 if you have accessyou might be able to shoot it or place a couple of fire works in it light a long fuse and run like hell amke sure you do it in an open area like an abandoned parking lot or something like that 
theRIAA4 years ago
turn the laptop over and place a screwdriver over the hard-drive area.

hammer the screwdriver into the hard drive.
acidbass4 years ago
 break it in half the screen from the keyboard at the hinges ummm after that rip out the hard drive and put it all in a flamable substance in a sink then light a match and boom
nickodemus4 years ago
If it's just the hard drive that needs to be destroyed, I suggest taking that out, and drilling a few holes in it. But, you could also take the hard drive on a trip to the shooting range. That's what I'd do.
Joe Martin4 years ago
Your friend seems extremely paranoid, To be honest the "fed" will probably have much more important things to track such as possible terrorism etc but then again I don't really know what your friend did.
kcls4 years ago
Dissolve it in acid :)
jeff-o4 years ago
Disassemble the hard drive, pull out the platters, and destroy them with a blow torch.
Grathio4 years ago
If they can track the friend down based on what they did on the Internet then they probably don't need the files on the friends computer.  They already have the evidence they need based on the access logs on the 'net.

A sink of water is not a great way to kill a hard drive.

Thermite is generally regarded as a great way to quickly and completely destroy a hard drive in such a way as to prevent forensic recovery, but in general just a good whack with a hammer will suffice, especially if it's a laptop hard drive.

However if law enforcement has the slightest suspicion that your friend did that on purpose (and it will be obvious) then they will prosecute to the full extent of the law for destroying evidence.  Getting caught with a hammer in one hand and a busted laptop in the other will not look great at the trial.

It would also suck if your friend destroyed their laptop because they saw someone in a uniform at the door and it turned out to be the FedEx guy.
Grathio already hit it, I was going to suggest thermite as it is the best method, leaving nothing more than a small pile of burning plastic and metal. But if it is something that your "friend" did online then all the suits have to do is give your ISP a call and they have everything they need. If it is something along the lines of a pirated movie chances are you don't have a thing to worry about as they have only ever prosecuted two people (US). If you made a pass at hacking a government server you might get a knock however, but based on your lack of knowledge on how to destroy your hard drive and the process of what happened I doubt that. You're probably safe, but if it is that serious keep a pouch of thermite inside your case and all you have to do is stick in a magnesium fuse and light the sucker and bye-bye hard drive. Be careful your "friend" doesn't set their house on fire though.
Ah, forgot to say you should run a clean wipe on your computer. A program called CCleaner made by Piriform can do that for most of the logs and your trash bin up to a 35 pass level (damn good). But your best bet is to simply destroy it and get a new one or back up what you need and find a way to clean wipe it all.
just remove the HD and send it FEDEX  to someone you trust and get it back after the trouble goes away

orksecurity4 years ago
Don't destroy it. Do a secure erase on it. That's slow (ie, he should do it NOW rather than waiting for the last minute) but will leave him with a functional laptop without the crud on it.

Applications to do this are available for purchase... but it isn't very complicated code so there's probably a freeware version available.

Since I don't have anything I need to keep from experts -- just stuff I consider personal -- when I wipe a machine I generally just use a simple batchfile, which I've posted in answer to previous questions.

Hmm. Actually, I tried to post the batchfile but Instructables word-wrapped it into uselessness. Not being a Pro member, I'm not sure I can keep that from happening if I try again.
I suppose I could post it as an Instructable, but Instructables seems to insist on having pictures and I don't want to make the effort of attaching a semi-irrelevant image just to meet that requirement.
Davecarp4 years ago
the way you destroy it would all depend on what he did and how bad the feds want the data. you could do what ziptang said, but dont wait until the last minute to destroy the disk. if they catch you destroying the disk then they may charge you with tampering or destroying with evidence in a criminal case (or watever you want to call it). also if they are hellbent on getting the data he has your going to need to run the thing through a wood chipper to be absolutely sure that the data is gone, maybe not a wood chipper that's a little extreme but you get the idea. hope my input helped
ziptang4 years ago
If you have a newer laptop, then find the exact hard drive that is in your machine,
Purchase it and the get norton ghost, ghost the image of the hard drive after you reformat the original hard drive, the image will only show the most recent
data, then destroy the old hard drive, melt it down with a propane torch....there is no other data to recover on the 2nd hard drive, unless you have something really bad to hide, the feds will pay the 4000dollar fee to clean room your old hard drive, the propane torch solves everything....
LoneWolf4 years ago
Reeeeaaaalllyyyy powerful magnet can erase the hard drive......but they have a technique where they can recover the information anyway.

Your best bet would be to take the hard drive out of the computer and completely destroy it. And then if it's possible you can buy a new hard drive.
No.... a powerful magnet breaks the heads on the arms. It won't affect the data written to the platters. A platter transplant would allow them to read all the data.... if they cared that much.

Oh..................................................................................

Acepilot424 years ago
"accedently" take the hard drive out and "accidently" smash it with a hammer then "accidently" chop it up in a blender.
lemonie4 years ago
Hammer.

L
Burf4 years ago
I feel disinclined to offer up information for purposes of aiding someone to evade criminal prosecution, but thanks for asking.
kelseymh Burf4 years ago
Hey, no worries.  Mary's already in up to her neck for aiding and abetting, by having knowledge and posting here.  If only we could watch the fun  when her "friend" caves.