Looking to sell your unused hard drives but not sure whether it’s safe to do so?
Obviously selling the hard drive for extra cash is a great option if you want to maximise the ROI of the drive, and may help you finance a newer hard drive. However, it’s also no secret that security is a concern when selling digital storage devices. What if the buyer or other parties can recover the sensitive data previously stored within the hard drive?
In this post, we will discuss how you can safely sell your used hard drives while also maximising their value, and let us begin right away.
Selling VS Reusing VS Recycling Hard Drives: Your Option
For old, unused hard drives and IT equipment, we basically have three main options: reuse (for example as an external hard drive), destroy/recycle, and sell, each option comes with its own perks.
Basically, you have to consider several things in weighing these options:
- Whether the hard drive is still useable (and reliable)
- The resale value of the hard drive at the moment (which will be mainly determined by how old the drive is and its current condition)
- Whether the drive contains any sensitive data, and how confident you are about secure data wiping
- What’s your short-term and long-term plan? Will an immediate upgrade benefit you at the moment, or should you keep using the hard drive?
- Reusing Hard Drives
This is the option to pursue if the drive is still usable but you are not confident about data wiping and/or the resale value is not worth it. You can reuse the drive in another device (i.e. in your gaming console) or as an external HDD.
- Sell Hard Drives
If the resale value of the hard drive is still fairly high (it’s in good condition and is not too old), and if you are confident about secure data wiping, then the best option is to sell the hard drive for extra cash.
- Recycling Hard Drives
Physically destroying or recycling the hard drive is the only viable option (and might be legally required depending on your industry) if you can’t sell or reuse the hard drive while guaranteeing secure data destruction.
Selling Your Hard Drives: How To Maximise Value
It’s no secret that hard drives, as well as other pieces of IT equipment, will go down in price the longer you own them. On the other hand, if you plan to stay in operations, sooner or later you’ll need to upgrade these hard drives to ones with bigger storage spaces and/or newer technologies.
So, to maximise the value of your hard drive when selling it, timing is very important. Basically, you’d want to sell the hard drive when the value is still relatively high, but at the same time, you’d want to wait for the price of the replacement drive to have gone down a bit so the upgrade is not too expensive.
For most drives, 2-3 years old before upgrading is typically the sweet spot so that the hard drive is not too low in value.
How To Securely Sell Your Hard Drive: Step-By-Step
So, do you still think that selling your hard drive is the best option? If the answer is yes, here is a step-by-step guide to getting your hard drives sold securely while maximising their value:
Step 1: Figure out the details of your drive
It’s crucial to know exactly what model your hard drive is so you can figure out its current market value based on its condition. If you are planning to sell more than one hard drive, this step can be more challenging than it initially looks.
Figure out the following details for each of your hard drives:
- Type (SSD, HDD, etc.)
- Serial number
- Storage size
- Dimensions (2.5”, 3.5”, etc.)
- Connector type
Step 2: Take photos
Take photos of the hard drive’s current condition, and if possible also take photos of visible serial numbers, model name, etc. of the drive.
It’s best, to be honest, with these photos. Show scratches and defects on the photos, and mention them in the descriptions. This is important to manage potential buyer’s expectations.
Step 3: Finding potential buyers
In most cases, you’ll have two main options to sell your hard drive: finding your own buyer (i.e. via online marketplace), or selling your 1064hard drive to specialist IT asset disposition (ITAD) companies.
You can try to find your own buyers, for example by listing your hard drive in marketplaces like eBay or Amazon. With this approach, you’ll get more versatility in setting your own prices and finding the best possible buyer, but you’ll have to do all the work yourself, including ensuring secure data deletion.
The other option is to sell your hard drive to an ITAD company like Big Data Supply Inc. With this option, the ITAD company will handle secure data deletion for you, and if necessary can provide a certificate of data destruction for you. If you are selling your hard drive to ITAD companies, make sure to choose vendors that are R2 (stands for “Responsible Recycler”) certified.
Most ITAD companies and IT equipment recyclers do not have certifications, and an R2 certification is not solely important regarding environmentally-friendly material recycling, but will also ensure your company stays compliant with relevant data security regulations.
Step 4: Secure data wiping
If you need to perform your own secure data deletion (tip: you can wipe your own hard drive first even if you are going to sell your drive to an ITAD company), then you should first check whether your hard drive is an HDD with a physical motorised disk or an SSD.
If it’s an HDD, you can use the free and open-source DBAN to perform a secure wipe.
For SSDs, it’s a little bit more complicated, but in most cases, you can use the proprietary tools provided by the SSD’s manufacturer (SanDisk, Seagate, etc.). Simply download the tool from your SSD manufacturer’s website and follow the provided instructions.
You can definitely sell used hard drives and maximise the value of each drive, and by following the tips we’ve shared above, you can also ensure the security and integrity of your data. However, if you are selling your drives to specialist ITAD companies like Big Data Supply Inc., they will also securely wipe your data for you.