It is not necessary to destroy hard disks with confidential data. A machine with Bitlocker enabled such as one of out Lenovo machines can encrypt the entire disk with a new key rendering the disk permanently and completely inaccessible.
We have several USB cables so its possible to secure laptop disks in rapid succession. Bitlocker uses the TPM chip on the Lenovo motherboard which makes it a lot more convenient to wipe disks clean followed by encrypting them which makes them permanently unrecoverable. Take note that with multiple disks that windows uses a system of disk 1, 2, 3 and so on to 99. The Disk Management tool can show disks by device number for reference. This can be checked with DISKPART.
- use diskpart and clean the disk
- partition the disk and format normally
- activate bitlocker for full disk
- select disk and return to step 1
DISKPART is a console program that handles partitioning and formatting etc. Disk Manager can handle partitioning and formatting, Windows Explorer can handle encrypting the disk.
Many less fortunate people can then have a laptop and be able to get online and try to improve their overall standard of living. The recovery DVDs can be used to recover the machine should the new user need them. Some machines with no optical drive expect one to make a recovery media set. So much for a USB device.
So when recycling machines, its not a bad idea to make recovery disks before wiping the hard disk so that the machine can be sold to a third party. If the machine has a TPM chip, this makes it trivial, simply enable Bitlocker after a reset of Windows. This makes a new key so the old data is permanently unrecoverable.
Old disks can also be protected with bitlocker. Using a USB cable for laptop disks is very easy to use and several disks can be processed at the same time. Using full disk encryption takes some time but the entire disks is rendered illegible without the key. So the next uses can partition the disk and install windows or use it for data as a used disk. How long the disk lasts is not known as operating hours are not the only issue for laptop disks survival.
Windows 10 has a intrinsic ability to reset itself for a new user by removing personal files etc. This simplifies the recycling process immensely.