Current Recommended Practices for Destroying Data and/or Data Devices

Portable storage devices

Apply the same procedures used for the disposal of paper records.  Options available include:

  • Shredders:  There are many types of shredders on the market that can be used to dispose of CDs, magnetic tape, etc.  Purchasing can provide recommendations if desired.
  • Western Archives’ confidential records disposal process:  If the local unit does not have appropriate equipment for disposing of portable storage devices, use the confidential records disposal process ( 

Removing data from hard drives

  • Workstations:  Use DBAN ( to fully 'sanitize' the hard drive.    Options include:
    • Self service:  download the software from Sourceforge ( and follow the instructions provided
    • WTS Support:  contact the Unit Onsite Support Team Leader in WTS to arrange for assistance.
  • Servers:  Use a low level format plus a random write/delete procedure appropriate for the operating system in use.  Options include:
    • Self service:  local systems administrator will determine most appropriate procedure for the specific server.
    • WTS Support:  contact the Unit Onsite Support Team Leader in WTS to arrange for assistance. 

Western's hard drive destruction service

When data cannot be fully removed from a hard drive, the hard drive MUST be removed from the workstation or server and physically destroyed in accordance with Western's secure sustainability plan.  Options available include:

The removed hard drive should be deposited within one of the new Secure Media Destruction collection boxes. These boxes can be found at the following Campus locations:

  • Helpdesk (4th Floor, Support Services Building)
  • University Community Centre (1st floor, near room 147B)
  • Spencer Engineering Building (1st floor, near the Loading Dock)


Facilities Management provides an environmentally sound disposal service for computer equipment.  Items accepted for disposal via a recycling stream are computer monitors, keyboards, hard drives, telephones.  There is no charge for disposal via the recycling stream.  All material collected is recycled; precious metals are collected from the various components; all material is shredded. Monitors are shipped to a crushing facility were the lead is recovered.  The remaining glass and plastic is also crushed and recovered.

Follow these steps to make effective use of this service:

  1. All electronic equipment to be disposed of must first be removed from the current inventory list. This is the responsibility of the department and must be carried out through the appropriate methods.  It is also the responsibility of the department to ensure that all data is deleted prior to disposal.
  2. Small quantities (i.e. 3-4 units) can be dropped off at the building's loading dock. The items should be placed so that they do not restrict or impede the use of the dock area. 

For further assistance or information, contact:

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