Destroy Devices and Media

When devices or drives are inoperable, it may be necessary to destroy them to ensure secure disposal. Destruction may also be required by some laws or regulations governing certain types of data.

Destruction of U-M Devices and Media

Preferred Method: All U-M devices and media must be delivered to U-M Property Disposition for disposal. Property Disposition will perform secure destruction of devices and media, including magnetic tapes, for U-M departments, and will provide the needed proof-of-destruction certificate for you. Contact U-M Property Disposition for a list of options and costs.

Units are strongly discouraged from attempting to physically destroy a drive themselves. If you choose to destroy U-M devices yourself, you must fill out and attach a copy of the Certificate of Sanitization / Physical Destruction (PDF—download to edit) to the device along with the U-M Declaration of Surplus form before taking the device to Property Disposition for disposal. 

For personal devices, you should seek out a nearby e-waste recycling drop off for proper disposal.

    Acceptable Types of Physical Destruction

    Devices destroyed for disposal must be rendered completely inoperable to meet U-M requirements.

    • Degaussers: These powerful magnetic devices irreversibly scramble the magnetic fields of media such as hard drives, disks, or tapes.
    • Shredders and crushers: Machines which physically destroy devices and media to an unrecoverable point.
    • Manual Crushing: Remove hard drives, SSDs, or other storage from its parent device, and strike repeatedly with a hammer or similar object until the device/drive is thoroughly crushed. With hard drives, make sure the round platters inside have been destroyed.
    • Drill press: Remove hard drives from computers, clamp into a drill press, and drill many holes through the body of the drive. Make sure to have drilled through the platters in the drive.