What's the best way of destroying CD/DVDs?

By Leeky · 20 replies
Aug 22, 2010
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  1. It sounds odd, but I have about 30 old backups, that I'd like to destroy, but they all contain confidential (to me) data.

    I did try breaking them in half, but proceeded to shower my desktop with shrapnel from doing so! lol. So obviously this isn't the best way!

    I've noticed I can cut them in several places with some sharp scissors, and they don't then shatter! What I did was cut it from the edge to almost the centre every 1" as I went around the disc.

    Would doing that be safe in terms of rendering the discs un-usable?

    If not (or your welcome to anyway) what would be the best way of destroying them?

    P.S. I have a real good shredder (criss-cross type cuts into 5mmx5mm pieces!) but I'm pretty sure it won't cut media discs.
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    "Colonel Mustard did it in the backyard with a blow torch"!

    I'd have said "Bernz O Matic" torch, but I don't know if you have that brand in Merry Old England.

    Sit them on an old coffee can or such, then "fire away". Stand up wind to minimize the fumes.

    I'm also fairly certain that 30 optical discs would severely shorten the life of your shredder.

    Be careful, very careful.
  3. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    They make shredders that have a cd shredding slot on them. They aren't too expensive, but make sure you keep your shredder lubed up if you get one of these. You could also give them a little microwave time, but you run the risk of making a big mess with that method.
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Trust you to come out with that response!! :D Pmsl.

    @ both of you.

    Sorry, I should have been clearer. I don't plan on replacing my shredder as its a rather expensive model, but I'm certain it doesn't shred discs (its not marked to say it does).

    Is the method of cutting them from the edge to the centre safe enough to render data unreadable?

    I could flamethrower them as I suppose; though I'm sure my missus would be less than impressed about me doing that in the garden!! Besides which, I do not own such tool. - Its probably a good thing, me and fire don't mix! lol.

    I could however, pour lighter fluid over them, and ignite it - But its a very messy way of doing things! lol.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    You're really over thinking this. Take them out in the yard, put down a couple of bricks, then swat them with a hammer.

    For the truly paranoid,(as you have come to appear), Don't throw all the parts of any one disk, in any one trash bag, or on any given trash day. Please don't tell me you think that someone is going to reassemble these thing froms different ends of the dump.

    More is being made of data loss than needs to be. Most of this histrionic b*** s*** is generated by well meaning people, catering to imbeciles, who have thrown away computers with the HDD untouched, with all their banking information on it, including the saved passwords to their accounts.

    Common sense should prevail.

    For entertainment purposes, here are some other ideas; sandblast the information surface. Put somebody else's personal info on them, (IE,the boy in school who called you a geek), then throw them away whole. Put on a pair of heavy boots, and practice standing them on end, then tromping down. Then last but not least, there's always the creepy, horror movie method, put them in a can full of acetone, close it tightly and shove it in the attic for a few years. This would be most effective if you separate the discs, so the solvent can more easily work its magic.
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    PMSL! :D

    I'm not overly paranoid, but this data needs to be destroyed (it contains, among other things, backups of bookmarks and its synchronised passwords, as well as confidential information. It is backups of my installations afterall.

    I'm not mad enough to think someone would rebuild them eleswhere, I just wanted to be certain that cutting them is enough work to destroy them beyond any possible data retrieval.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    OK, I'm gonna go back to my original suggestion, melt them with a Bernz torch. Outside!

    I put shredded paper waste in the bottom of a bag, them put well used cat litter on top of it.

    Do you have a cat....?

    And, you can't reassemble anything if you don't have all the pieces.
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    I'll try a slight deviation of the above, lighter fluid and a bonfire! :D

    I'll give the missus 30secs before she'd asking what the hell I'm up too!! haha.

    EDIT: I'd personally shake the hand of the person willing too (and actually able to!) build up one actual document from a piece of A4 paper from about 5000 5x5mm chunks of paper! ;) Even more so when its half a bin bag full!
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    The propane torch is way, way hotter. Therefore, the deformity to the discs will occur more violently, and also sooner.

    That being said,if you do in fact, opt for the bonfire, please act responsibly, and don't try cooking marshmallows over an open plastic fire. Yech..! (toxic too).

    As you're well aware, we're all a tad daft here in the colonies. I humbly offer this very old school solution; wait for a thunderstorm, get your kite and a key, then tie it and the discs to the kite lead, relax and enjoy the rush......:rolleyes:

    Aftertaste. er I mean afterthought;
    Well, mixing it with cat s*** definitely ups the "degree of difficulty" a bunch. "Handshake" is such a timid wager, if you get my drift. :rolleyes:
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    If it makes you feel better I'd slap the same person about the head afterwards! LOL. :D

    Bonfires are good, the missus screaming the opposite, isn't! :(
  11. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Tell the Mrs that it is a DVD of you and the Ex having a go....I am sure it will be Fubar in no time.
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Indeed... But it might be rather warm on top of the bonfire! ;)
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Like Papa said, microwave works great, put them in (I've only ever done 1 at a time) on top of a coffee cup with some water in it (just so the microwaves have somewhere else to go) and turn it on for a couple seconds. Pretty light show, and completely unusable disks emerge.
  14. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    That sounds almost worth trying for the light show! :D
  15. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    It's really fun to throw them, and shatter them IMO.
    Kind of cool at night w/ spotlight shinning.
  16. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    I see members all have weird and wonderful ways of destroying discs... Maybe we should choose the top tens way to creatively destroy them... I have a feeling we'd have a few rather random responses. haha.
  17. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    Well, my first impression on reading this is that your desk would seem a sub-optimum place to do messy cutting. Wouldn’t cutting them out in the yard instead reduce the undesirable side effects of the treatment? Er…by the way, don’t do any bread cutting in bed either. ;)

    As a cat myself, I also don’t agree with the suggestion of putting cat litter on top. Cats’ cleanliness in burying their litter should be respected, not counter-acted.

    But in what seems to have turned into a less than overly serious thread, I feel I should contribute my own suggestion, based on actual facts.

    So, Guy Fawkes’s night is approaching. You can then throw them in the bonfire, to the appreciation of the viewing kids and approval of your missus, provided of course the bonfire is not in your back yard.

    As regards eliminating the possibility of resurrection, take the ashes and spread them over a running river. It works with vampires. At best, you drive a stake thru them before throwing them in the bonfire.
  18. ryvboy

    ryvboy TS Rookie Posts: 28

    the microwave!
  19. tractorphil

    tractorphil TS Enthusiast Posts: 60

    The whole cutting them into pieces should be enough to keep them from coming back and just throw them away in different trash cans or burn them in a bonfire
  20. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    Bobcat’s Full Treatment…and More!

    OK, here’s the foolproof treatment:

    First you cut them into pieces.
    Then you beat them to splinters with a pestle.
    Then you treat them with highly acidic chemicals.
    Then you microwave them.
    Then you throw them in the bonfire.
    Then you spread the fine ashes over a running river.

    Then, needless to add, you find out that you still needed them badly…
    …But don’t bother posting here asking how to reconstruct them. ;)
  21. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    PMSL at the last two lines! :D :D

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