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Click And Collect – Shredding Made Easy

We talk a lot about shredding on this blog, and this post is no exception! But today we wanted to introduce you to our newest service. We’re very excited about this addition to our line, as it has been in high demand for quite some time. Now, as well as offering a drop off service for your document shredding, we can also offer a courier collection service, so you don’t even need to leave your house or office to make sure your documents are being shredded safely.

What Is Courier Collection Shredding?

Secure and confidential disposal of paperwork isn’t always easy for small businesses, and it’s not much better for the average home owner either. Small businesses usually have confidential documents they are legally required to dispose of safely, while security conscious home shredders are left with a pile of shredded paper and nothing to do with it! Dealing with this can become pretty expensive if you need to dispose of it yourself, and many companies will only offer large disposal bins, which could take months to fill.

Our new courier service is the ‘Click And Collect’ of shredding services – except it’s us doing the collecting! Instead of having to wait for a shredding truck to visit you or taking your paper to shred yourself, you can simply order a tough, reasonably sized collections sack (or 2, or more!) and fill it up. From there simply contact our office and arrange your collection time. A dedicated UPS driver will then arrive at your home or business premises to take away your waste for shredding and disposal. We will provide you with a Certificate of Destruction as standard as legal proof that your documents have been destroyed, and we can even provide video proof of destruction for a small added fee.

Why Should I Try Courier Collection?

With many shredding services you don’t get too many options – you can either have a large shredding truck visit your premises, or you can take all of your shredding to the centre yourself.  Depending on where you are, it might not be practical to have a huge vehicle come to your premises or home. You might be on a residential road or crammed into a narrow roadway, or simply not want to disturb your neighbours. Similarly, you may not be able to take your shredding to a centre yourself. If you are a residential customer you may not be able to drive, not have time or have too much waste to fit in your car. If you are a business customer, time is money and you may end up sacrificing a member of staff for a full day to do several runs to and from a centre that might not be that close to you.

If you’re interested and would like to try out our courier collection service, we would love to help you out. We are currently offering 25% off orders for our new service, so you can try it out at a reduced price, but this is for a limited time only! Just visit the product page, select the package you would like and you’re done. If you take advantage of our introductory offer we’ll even walk you through the process and book your collections ourselves, so you can just sit back and relax. So what are you waiting for? Try out the easiest way to destroy your confidential information safely.

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Why Shred At All?

With modern life demanding so much of us, little things we should be doing often slip through the net. This could be something as simple as forgetting to do the washing up at night, or it could be something more important, like shredding our junk mail or old paperwork from the office. In fact, there are still people out there who believe that they don’t need to shred anything at all, or that they can achieve the same level of security with a pair of scissors and a black bin bag (spoiler, you can’t). But there are a few reasons why you should make shredding part of your daily routine in the office.

It’s The Law

The first and most important reason to remember to do your shredding – it’s a legal requirement. We don’t even need to talk benefits at this stage, it’s simply something you have to do. The Data Protection Act states that every business has a legal obligation to protect the confidential information of its customers and employees. As a sub clause of this act, organisations must routinely employ a data destruction service to destroy redundant confidential information, whatever format it is held in. As if that wasn’t enough, the Information Commissioner’s Office now has the power to fine your business up to £500,000 if you lose someone’s confidential information.

Time And Money 

If you’ve decided that it’s time to your monthly shred, your next step is actually doing it. This is where a lot of businesses fall down, and where our confidential document destruction services come in handy. To illustrate, let’s look at your options:

  • Give one of your employees the job of putting down their normal work and have them remove staples and paperclips from your shredding pile, sort card from paper and finally spend hours stood over the office shredder to get rid of it.
  • Make a phone call to your certified confidential shredder, who will shred all of your documents in a matter of minutes using industrial machinery.

Be honest, you picked number 2 didn’t you? That’s because it makes no sense for you to spend time and money shredding materials instead of just making a phone call. For every 8 hours your poor employee spends shredding, our industrial machines can tackle the same volume of paper in just minutes, with no need to prepare the paper by removing staples or sorting. So instead have your staff doing the job you pay them for, and leave the shredding to the professionals.

Doing Your Bit For The Planet

Of course, we couldn’t give you reasons for shredding without mentioning the environment. If you went with option 1 earlier, what does your employee do with that paper when they’re finished? Many businesses would simply throw it away with the normal rubbish. But by using a certified shredder, we can protect your business and the environment at the same time. We recycle 99% of the paper we shred, promoting reuse and cutting down the need for new products to be made. For every tonne of paper, we recycle, 7000 gallons of water is saved, between 17 and 31 trees aren’t cut down, 4000 KWh of electricity is saved and 60 pounds of airborne pollutants are prevented from being released. How’s that for saving the environment?

It’s Common Sense!

No matter what type of business you run, you will be storing confidential data of some sort. Even everyday activates like creating invoices, providing your service to confidential clients or just writing up some meeting notes can generate a huge amount of data that needs to be protected. Just think about how disastrous it would be if one of your competitors got hold of your customer lists or quotes. Or worse, if a criminal found your financial records or employee data. All it takes is one smart criminal or one disgruntled employee and your business is at risk. But if you are routinely shredding sensitive documents, you are reducing the risk of this type of loss occurring.

So if you weren’t shredding your documents before, hopefully you will be now! Not only for the legal reasons, but also because of the hidden benefits to your business that shredding can unlock. For more information about our shredding service or to book your shredding slot, get in touch today.

 

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A Guide To Going Paperless (Almost)

A long time ago, in a land not too far away, a business owner dreamed of a paperless paradise. As he surveyed his domain – a small business with 10 employees all working hard to keep everything working, he sighed. With so many stacks of paper, filing and memos being passed around, how could his dream of a clean, eco-friendly and secure office possibly come true? Well, that business owner hadn’t read our guide to going (almost) paperless. He did have one thing right though – it is pretty much impossible for a business to completely eliminate paper, but it is possible to reduce it to almost nothing with a few easy steps.

Invest In Digital Document Management

All across the country there are hundreds of thousands of filing cabinets, all sitting full of paperwork waiting to be found. Some of them will be rifled through regularly to find the relevant documents, while others will be left to gather dust in the corner of the office. The average floor space taken up by 1 filing cabinet is 7.1 square foot, so a business paying £55 per square foot in rent would need to spend £390 a month just to keep that filing cabinet. That’s the cost of physical document management. Digital document management removes not only the cost of keeping physical documents, but the frustration of having to flick through hundreds of documents just to find the one you want. Instead, it stores digital copies of every document in an online central repository, where they can be accessed at any time with the click of a button. You can set up tags for each document to file them by category, file type, client, any system you want. These systems are simple to use and manage while completely eliminating the need for physical document storage.

 

Convert Paper Documents

The decision you now face is whether to use your document management system going forward, or whether to apply it retroactively to all of your existing paperwork. We strongly recommend doing the latter, as this will allow you to have everything in one place as opposed to split between filing cabinets and servers. It also means you can get rid of the filing cabinet and encourage employees to stop generating paper. If you choose to move your current paper documents into a document management system, you will need to convert them to digital format. This will take some time in front of a scanner, but does provide a good opportunity to examine what documentation you need to keep and what can be discarded. Once you have scanned the documents, the system can then extract the relevant information and store them for you, making it a much simpler process.

 

Dispose Of Paperwork Securely

Once all of your documents have been scanned and categorised, you will be left with a rather large pile of unnecessary paperwork.  Some of this will contain sensitive or confidential information about employees, clients or suppliers, so it’s important it’s disposed of correctly. Rather than sending someone to sit hunched over the shredder for hours, hire an external shredding company to collect the paperwork and dispose of it securely.  By using our services, you are saving yourself a lot of time and money while ensuring you stay compliant with the laws on data protection. One of our state of the art shredding vehicles can come directly to your office so you can witness your documentation being destroyed without leaving your premises. You will be presented with a certificate of destruction to prove your adherence to legislation, and your shredded paper will be taken away for recycling into new paper products – so it’s environmentally friendly as well!

 

Implement A Clean Desk Policy 

Now that you have a paper-free office, you need to work on keeping it that way. Remaining paperless for a few days is relatively easy, but keeping up with a paperless office long term can be a difficult task. Clean desk policies are a great way of ensuring that no unnecessary paperwork is created. Clean desk policies include guidelines on paper use, specifically that no paperwork should be left on desks, no documents should be printed unless absolutely necessary and any paperwork should be destroyed or placed within a secure shredding cabinet as soon as it has been used. Thanks to advances in digital signature software and other programmes, there is now very little need for any document to be printed off in the average office. Any documents that are printed in house or delivered in paper format can be used, scanned into the system and then placed into a secure shredding console to await a routine shredding visit for maximum security.

 

Encourage Use Of Digital Collaboration Tools 

In your journey from document overload into a paperless paradise, it’s important to not just swap a physical mess for a digital one. Management of your digital archives is important, so make sure you brief everyone within your business on the system, how it works and what you expect them to use it for. Encourage the use of digital tools like Evernote, Trello and Wrike for to-do lists, collaboration on projects and storage of miscellaneous documentation, rather than using post-it notes or notebooks. Instead of printing documents to work on as a group, suggest collaboration tools such as Google or Office 365 to allow multiple people to work on one document at once.

Depending on what type of business you run, you may not be able to avoid paper coming into your office, or being generated there. But what you can do is ensure that no paperwork is kept longer than necessary and that everything is shredded once it has been digitised, saving you space and money. For more information on how we can help you go and stay paperless, or to book your own paperwork in to be shredded, get in touch with us today.

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Is Your Data Protected?

For any business, data protection is an important thing to think about. Even if you only deal with a small amount of confidential data, you must have suitable and robust policies in place for protecting that data and the data of your employees and business. Small businesses are now becoming a more popular target for data thieves, and even a small breach could cost your business dearly – not just in money but also in security, reputation, and even criminal charges. So do you know the basic do’s and don’ts of good data protection?

Do: 

Know The Risks 

One key things to remember is that not all businesses are the same, so each one will face its own set of risks to confidential data. Perform an audit to determine what the weak points are in your business, and how the data protection laws affect your policies. You may find you need to put in more digital security, or invest in on-site security for physical paperwork. You may need to implement document handling procedures to ensure no confidential data is put at risk.

Educate Your Employees 

Even with data theft from businesses at an all-time high, the majority of data breaches within businesses are still the result of basic human error or misunderstanding. When you first hire new employees, make sure they are educated in data protection and trained in how to keep confidential data secure. Hold periodic retraining for existing employees to go over new rules and remind them to be diligent. Ensure that all employees are aware of the consequences of breaching data protection laws and know how to stay compliant.

Appoint A Responsible Officer

Once you have created the policies and put them in place, you will need to appoint a member of staff to take responsibility for ensuring the policies are followed. Make sure this person is capable and trusted, and inform all staff that they are in charge of this particular area. Your responsible officer should be in charge of ensuring confidential data is protected and handled correctly at every stage of its life, from creation to destruction.

Encrypt Digital Data 

Digital data security should be one of your top priorities for data protection. To keep your files safe, you should not only have a secure system and workflow in place, but all digital files stored externally or on cloud servers should be encrypted for extra security. Without the encryption in place anyone who intercepts the data would be able to read, duplicate or edit it, compromising business and client security.

Shred Documents 

While digital security is a top priority, you should not forget about physical security. Once a document has served its purpose within your business it is important that is destroyed properly and securely. Employing a professional service like Hungry Shredder will ensure your documents are destroyed safely, and you will be provided with a certificate of destruction to prove your compliance.

Don’t: 

 

Leave Documents Unattended

Never leave a document containing sensitive information sitting around on your desk unattended, even if you’re just popping to the toilet or making a round of coffee. All workplace computer terminals should be password protected and locked when employees aren’t at their desks, to ensure no one can access the system unauthorised. Once it’s been used, all paperwork, emails, and printouts should be stored in a locked container to await shredding.

Use Information For Anything But It’s Intended Purpose

The Data Protection Act not only covers how documents should be handled but how the information within them should be used. It specifically states that information collected should not be used for anything other than its stated purpose, so using confidential information for anything else could not only compromise your business, but leave you on the wrong side of the law.

Ignore Security Patching 

Many people will choose to ignore security patches or updates on their computer for fear that the updates will be full of bugs or change features they enjoy. But patches are more than just annoying popup boxes – they fix holes or weak points in the software, making it safer. Security patches will help protect your machine against infection from malware and shore up loopholes or issues that have been discovered – including serious breach points that hackers have discovered.

Forget About Remote Workers

Remote and flexible working is becoming a more popular option for workers in the UK, but it comes with its own set of risks. You cannot guarantee that remote workers are using a secure internet connection, or that they are using the right programmes and technologies to keep your business data safe. You can never know where a stray bit of paper will be left, or who will be coming into their home or office unsupervised. There is no way to eradicate this doubt, but it is something you should bear in mind when creating your remote working policies so that you can take steps to mitigate risk.

For more data protection tips, or to find out how a using a professional shredding service can help you stay compliant, get in touch with one of our experts for a free consultation and advice.

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Clean Desks Make Happier Offices

We all remember how well we reacted to being told to clean our rooms when we were young. When clean desk policies first came into fashion, many people felt a lot like they had been reduced to 7 year olds arguing with their parents again, but despite the initial resistance, clean desk polices are now becoming the norm. A clean desk policy is better known as a corporate directive that specifies how employees should leave their working space when they leave the office, with most businesses requiring all employees to clear their desks of paperwork at the end of each day. This doesn’t just cover paper, but post-it notes, business cards, rubbish and removable media like USB sticks. This isn’t just being done because your boss is a neat freak. Many businesses follow these policies in order to increase security and reduce the risk of confidential data loss or theft, but they often fail to realise the hidden benefit of clean desks – a boost in employee morale, mood and productivity.

Productivity

Keeping your desk clean and clear is key to being able to get your work done. While there are some arguments that messy desks force people to think more creatively about solving problems, this does not translate into productivity for every day work. Despite the excuses some might give, different piles are not organisation, and often they could not find a specific document quickly if you asked them. That’s because in reality you are never going to work at your best when you have to search through piles of things to find that one document due in the next hour. In order to foster productivity your workspace should work for you, not hinder you. Think of your desk as a car – everything you need most immediately (steering wheel, gearstick, indicators, pedals) should be within arm’s length, and the rest hidden away for when you might need it. For most people these essential items are their computer, mouse and keyboard, telephone, notepad and calendar. Everything else should have a home elsewhere – for example in a filing drawer under your desk or organised into a box or folder. This leaves the desk space clear and gives you room to work and to think creatively. Your performance coincides directly with your workspace – when it’s organised and precise you have the mind set and motivation to work efficiently.

 

Teamwork

The state of your dedicated workspace is a lot like your physical appearance – it says a lot about you. For example did you know that out of 1000 office based workers, 57% admit to judging their co-workers by how clean or dirty their workspace is? Nearly half of that same group said they had been ‘appalled’ by how messy a colleague’s office and desk was, and chalked the reason up to bad habits, negative attitude towards work or pure laziness. With so many open plan and flexible offices today, more people can see into your workspace, and despite their best efforts, they will judge you on it. This can be worse when there is a visitor to your office, as it gives a negative impression of your company as well as you individually. Employees with messy, dirty desks tend to find themselves getting isolated from the rest of their team and experiencing friction in the office, seemingly because of nothing. But the truth is it’s the desk. Implementing a clean desk policy for all employees (where ‘clean’ means clear of papers and clean of dirt) will help office workers bond without these subconscious judgements invading working relationships.

Morale

People do their best work when they feel happy, comfortable and safe. The problem is that when an office cuts corners with cleaning and organisation to say, reduce costs or foster a relaxed, creative environment, it can often have negative effects on employee morale. A survey done into the effects of office cleanliness and tidiness on morale revealed that in offices where staff were allowed messy desks and corners were cut on cleaning:

  • 72% said their surroundings made them less productive
  • 46% said they took longer lunch breaks and spent less time in the office
  • 25% said they took sick leave because the surroundings depressed them

The simple fact that the work environment was not cared for by their peers or their management severely impacted the enjoyment these employees took in their work and instead had a negative impact on attendance, productivity and morale. However, in offices that were well maintained and a clean desk policy was in effect for employees:

  • 65% said they looked forward to coming into a clean office in the morning
  • 49% thought they worked harder as a result of a better organised office
  • 26% said they took shorter breaks or spent lunch breaks at their desk

In the grand scheme of things, ensuring your desk is clean, tidy and free of paperwork at the end of each day is a small price to pay for the benefits it gives. In our next post we will tell you how to implement a clean desk policy in your office, including how to ditch the paperwork safely and make sure everyone gets on board. In the meantime for more information about disposing of those old documents, get in touch.

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Do You Know Your Shredders?

shred

We talk a lot about shredding and often make references to avoiding strip cut shredders like the plague. Frankly we’re not sure why they are still made, as they have been proven to be the least effective method of destroying a document, shortly behind scribbling on it with pen. But instead of using strip cut, what should you be using? The answer is a bit longer than you would think. There are actually 8 types of shredder out there, only 3 of which are available for home and domestic use. They differ based on how thoroughly you want your document to be destroyed, and this post should give you some idea of which type would be right for you.

Home Shredding Units

 

Strip Cut Shredders

Strip cut, as we may have mentioned, is the least secure method of shredding, and as such has widely fallen out of favour. It works by feeding single pieces of paper through a cycle of rotating blades, slicing the paper into strips and feeding it into the collection bin. It does not mix the strips up in any way, so you could easily pick up the page and tape it back together, revealing the information.

 

Cross-Cut Shredders 

Cross-cut shredders are currently the most popular style of shredder for both home and small business use. This is because they are relatively inexpensive and provide a secure method of destroying documents. Cross cut shredders use 2 small blade coated drums rotating in opposite directions to cut the paper into small rectangular or diamond shaped pieces. Because these pieces are small and randomised as they fall into the collection bin, it prevents reassembly and produces a much smaller volume of waste.

 

Micro-Cut Shredders 

Micro cut shredders are the most secure of the freely available to purchase shredding units. They are also known as particle cutters due to the size of the pieces they produce. These machines work on the same principle as the cross cut with bladed drums, but feature many more blades of a higher quality. These blades render a piece of A4 paper into squares and circles roughly the size of confetti that are the completely randomised as they fall. In short, you are never putting that document back together.

 

Industrial Shredding Units

 

When you get past the domestic needs, industrial shredders are used to handle and destroy highly sensitive data completely. Think of the security level of police, army, and medical documentation – that’s what these shredders deal with.

 

Cardboard Shredders

Ok so we started on an odd one. Cardboard shredders are more of a specialist tool than a high security shredder. They have been designed to handle large amounts of cardboard and corrugated material, either cutting them into strips of reducing it to a mulch like substance, which is then pushed through a wire mesh screen. This mulch is then recycled into new cardboard or used for compost.

 

Disintegrators

A disintegrator, which not being a cool laser gun (sorry folks) pretty much does what it says on the tin. These shredders are also known as granulators because the pieces they produce are smaller than grains of rice. They work by pushing the paper through a series of blade coated barrels that gradually get finer and finer until the paper is almost microscopic. It is then pressed through a fine mesh screen to ensure it is small enough.

 

Hammermills

A hammermill shredder offers a similar level of security and results to the disintegrator, but it goes about in the a different and much more violent way. Materials are fed into the hammermills grinding chamber through a feed chute (no hands near this one). It is the fed through a conveyer belt where it is repeatedly hit by several ganged hammers, attached to a shaft within the mill chamber and turning at a high rate. The result is a cloud of dust like particles with no paper to be seen.

 

Pierce And Tear

Pierce and tear shredders are usually reserved for materials that are big, bulky or ungainly in some way. Instead of attempting to shred the material in a conventional way they have multiple sets of rotating narrow blades the resemble pins. These blades pierce and tear at the material as it passes through (hence the name), pulling it apart. This is a very randomised method of destruction, and the smaller pieces of material are usually then fed into a disintegrator or a hammermill for final destruction.

 

Grinders

The final type of industrial shredding unit is known affectionately as ‘the grinder’. Grinders have long, rotating shafts coated in fine cutting blades that tear and grind the material until it is small enough to fall through the mesh screen below the shafts. Any material that is not small enough is pulled back through the process. The resulting particles can barely be recognised as paper.

At Hungry Shredder we utilise many of these shredders to provide a wide variety of shredding security levels to our customers. We also have trucks and lorries that are equipped with special containers that have shredders built in, so we can offer a mobile shredding service without sacrificing security. For more information on the type of shredder we use or to book your consultation, get in touch today.

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How To Remove The Hard Drive From Your Computer

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Computing technology is still one of the fastest evolving industries in the world, so it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the next big leap forward. A few months after you’ve bought a new PC, the next model is out and you need to upgrade again. Modern computers can withstand a lot of punishment from users and most can last a very long time, but sadly we don’t live in a super high tech future where computers will last indefinitely. Sometimes a computer will give up the ghost without warning, parts will fail or you might just notice it going very slowly. Whatever the reason, at some point you will find yourself shopping for a shiny new machine to replace your old reliable one. But we have a message for you. Before you sell or throw away your old computer, make sure you remove the hard drive!

Why Do I Need To Remove My Hard Drive?

A lot of people when selling their old laptops or computers will do a factory reset and format the hard drives to make sure their data is not on there when they pass it on to a new owner. But while the idea behind this is solid, the reality is that formatting your hard drive does not remove the data from it. A study done by students at MIT in 2003 proved this by buying 258 used hard drives, 68% of which had been fully reformatted and subjected them to some basic forensic software programmes. This readily available software enabled them to recover over 5,000 credit card numbers, medical records, social security numbers and other highly personal and sensitive information from the hard drives, all with just a few clicks of the mouse. In short – just because you formatted the drive doesn’t mean it’s clean. Instead you could be giving away your personal information to a complete stranger. It’s a scary thought. Fortunately there is an easy way around this. All you have to do is remove the hard drive.

Desktop Units

For desktop units this process is pretty simple. First you need to make sure you have backed up your data so that you don’t lose anything. Next turn the power off and unplug everything from your machine. Disconnect the internet and fully unplug it from any mains sockets to avoid electric shock.

  1. Now open up the computer case. Each model is manufactured in a different way, so you might need to unscrew a side panel or press a specific latch on the case to do this. The instruction manual for the machine may tell you how to do this, otherwise an internet search should find the information you need if you’re not sure.

  1. Once inside, you now need to locate your hard drive. A standard hard drive is a rectangular metal box the size and width of a small book. Your hard drive could be placed inside a cage fixed to the tower or it will be on a set of rails. Conventionally most manufacturers locate the hard drive near the front of the computer case and will be clearly labelled, so don’t go pulling out any other drives (like the optical drive, for example).

  1. Now you have located the hard drive you need to remove it. Some models will require a screwdriver to disconnect it from the case, while some will have a lever or a switch to disconnect it.

  1. Once the hard drive is disconnected, gently slide the hard drive outwards. You shouldn’t need to put any force on it to get it out, so if you encounter any resistance stop and make sure you’re not pulling something else out with it. If there are cables attached to the hard drive make sure you remove these before trying to take the hard drive out of the case.

  1. You can now safely dispose of the machine without worrying about giving away your data and have the hard drive destroyed by a professional data destruction service.

 Laptops

Laptop hard drives can be considerably tricker to remove, mostly because they are kept within a sealed unit. For some laptops the hard drive is easily accessible through a cover on the underside of the unit, which will be held in place with a few screws and when removed will reveal the motherboard and hard drive. But others (primarily Apple laptops) are a bit more complicated. Each laptop is manufactured differently, so you may need to look up the removal procedure for your specific machine if you are struggling to locate the hard drive.

  1. Firstly, you need to unplug the laptop and power it down. If your laptop has a removable battery, take this out and press the power button for 3 seconds to remove any residual charge.

  1. Next unscrew the back panel of the machine with the appropriate screwdriver and remove the panel. For Apple machines the hard drive is always accessed through the back panel, but for other models of laptop it can be accessed either through the back panel, underneath the keyboard or on the side of the machine.

  1. For Apple machines, disconnect the battery connecter using the tab attached or a cocktail stick to gently push it out. For keyboard access machines you will need to lift out the keyboard and remove the attachment strips in order to access the motherboard. For side access machines you may need to remove a CD/DVD drive.

  1. Now remove the hard drive. Most laptop hard drives will be screwed in and have a lever or tab attached to actually remove it. Once any brackets have been lifted gently pull the hard drive out of the machine.

  1. You will need to disconnect any cables attached to the hard drive by gently removing the connectors before replacing the panels of your laptop.

Of course this is just a broad overview of how to remove basic hard drives. Make sure you check your manufactures manual for any more specific instructions before you start unscrewing things. Once removed you can safely dispose of your hard drive and be confident that your old machine hasn’t retained any of your personal data. For more information about hard drive destruction or to book your destruction slot, get in touch with Hungry Shredder today.