Why are HDD platters harder than the floppy/ZIP discs?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by GreenXenon, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. GreenXenon

    GreenXenon Guest

    Hi:

    I have a question just out of curiosity.

    I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    shredder -- to remove confidential information.

    However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.

    Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the soft
    platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.

    To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    required.


    Thanks a bunch,

    Green
    GreenXenon, Jun 19, 2009
    #1
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  2. GreenXenon

    Mike Easter Guest

    Posted to 24hshd only

    GreenXenon recklessly crossposted to:
    Newsgroups: alt.computer, 24hoursupport.helpdesk, alt.computer.security,
    alt.privacy, comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage

    Don't crosspost your message to as many different groups as you can
    imagine that it might possibly pertain.

    Don't crosspost your message to any groups which you don't subscribe and
    read regularly and are thus familiar with.

    If you are reading all or any of those groups above and are familiar with
    their discussion content, then you should be familiar with which *one* of
    them would be the best one to post your questions. Post your question to
    that one group, not 5 different disparate groups.

    It is highly likely that someone who answers your question/s will not be
    regularly reading those 5 groups and also should not crosspost in the
    manner that you did. People should not be crossposting messages into
    groups they don't read, because some or many respondents to a message are
    likely to trim the crossposted groups they don't read.

    Floppy and zip media are a very different technology for a very different
    purpose than a modern hdd or even a not-so-modern hdd. I'm very glad
    that my hdd/s work as they do and not as floppies or zips.


    --
    Mike Easter
    Mike Easter, Jun 19, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. GreenXenon

    chuckcar Guest

    GreenXenon <> wrote in
    news::

    > Hi:
    >
    > I have a question just out of curiosity.
    >
    > I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    > round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    > shredder -- to remove confidential information.
    >
    > However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.
    >
    > Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    > of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    > confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the soft
    > platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.
    >
    > To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    > heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    > extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    > required.
    >

    Several reasons: 1. Rotation speed. Hard drives spin at several thousand
    RPM (7,000-10,000), Floppies at under 500. You can actually tell by their
    sound when a revolution is finished - less than a second, but definitely
    discernable. 2. Head gap. Floppy disk heads sit on the order of 1 mm from
    the surface of the disk and frequently make contact with it. Hard drive
    heads float less than 10 millionths of an inch over the surface and due to
    the speed involved will destroy the surface if they contact it. However if
    you have to do more than a full format, that's only the start of your
    security concerns IMHO.

    --
    (setq (chuck nil) car(chuck) )
    chuckcar, Jun 19, 2009
    #3
  4. GreenXenon

    Bert Hyman Guest

    In news: "Mike Easter"
    <> wrote:

    > Don't crosspost your message to as many different groups as you can
    > imagine that it might possibly pertain.


    Judging from this character's posting history, he just wanders from
    group to group asking strange questions.

    --
    Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN
    Bert Hyman, Jun 19, 2009
    #4
  5. Because if they made "hard" drives floppy like you want they couldn't
    call them HARD drives dimwit!


    "GreenXenon" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi:
    >
    > I have a question just out of curiosity.
    >
    > I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    > round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    > shredder -- to remove confidential information.
    >
    > However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.
    >
    > Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    > of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    > confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the soft
    > platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.
    >
    > To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    > heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    > extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    > required.
    >
    >
    > Thanks a bunch,
    >
    > Green
    J¡m ßéâñ, Jun 19, 2009
    #5
  6. GreenXenon

    GreenXenon Guest

    On Jun 19, 1:28 pm, "Stephen" <> wrote:
    > This is down to several factors.
    >
    > Typical hard drives are hermetically sealed units which allow the platters
    > to spin at a higher RPM than would be the case for Zip or floppy drives.
    >
    > If the hard disc was "floppy", you will find that it will distort if you
    > start spinning it at 5,400rpm (most laptop drives) or ar 7,200rpm (most
    > desktop hard drives) or even at 10,000rpm (high performance drives) the
    > floppy media would probably tear itself to shreds.
    >
    > In addition, the gap between the read/write heads and the data surface is
    > very tiny, so any accidental bending of the disk surface runs the risk of
    > the heads destroying the data surface and making the owner kiss goodbye to
    > many Gigs worth of data. Having a hermetically sealed disk means there is no
    > issues with dust as there would be on a removable disc.
    >
    > In addition, if the hard disc surface was to increase in diameter with the
    > high rotational speed, the head positioning motors would have to have a
    > tracking compensation algorithm so it knew where the data had "moved" to
    >
    > So thats why hard discs have glass platters with a magnetic coating on it.
    >
    > zip discs and floppies spin at much lower rpm as the disk is not
    > hermetically sealed and to avoid disc distortion that would otherwise occur
    > at higher RPM and also are of lower data density compared to todays HDD's og
    > 500Gb to 1.5TB so head positioning on zip and floppies os not as critical as
    > it would be on a HDD.



    Is it possible to hermetically-seal the soft disc of a floppy/zip? Of
    course the spin speed would still have to be slow to prevent the soft
    material from being injured. Right?

    Is it also true that in order to have the same amount of storage
    space, that the soft floppy material would need to be bigger in
    diameter than the hard platter of an HDD?

    IOW, is it possible for a soft floppy disc to have the same data
    density as a hard HDD platter?
    GreenXenon, Jun 19, 2009
    #6
  7. GreenXenon

    GreenXenon Guest

    On Jun 19, 1:54 pm, chuckcar <> wrote:


    > However if
    > you have to do more than a full format, that's only the start of your
    > security concerns IMHO.



    Meaning?
    GreenXenon, Jun 19, 2009
    #7
  8. "GreenXenon" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Jun 19, 1:28 pm, "Stephen" <> wrote:
    >> This is down to several factors.
    >>
    >> Typical hard drives are hermetically sealed units which allow the
    >> platters
    >> to spin at a higher RPM than would be the case for Zip or floppy drives.
    >>
    >> If the hard disc was "floppy", you will find that it will distort if you
    >> start spinning it at 5,400rpm (most laptop drives) or ar 7,200rpm (most
    >> desktop hard drives) or even at 10,000rpm (high performance drives) the
    >> floppy media would probably tear itself to shreds.
    >>
    >> In addition, the gap between the read/write heads and the data surface is
    >> very tiny, so any accidental bending of the disk surface runs the risk of
    >> the heads destroying the data surface and making the owner kiss goodbye
    >> to
    >> many Gigs worth of data. Having a hermetically sealed disk means there is
    >> no
    >> issues with dust as there would be on a removable disc.
    >>
    >> In addition, if the hard disc surface was to increase in diameter with
    >> the
    >> high rotational speed, the head positioning motors would have to have a
    >> tracking compensation algorithm so it knew where the data had "moved" to
    >>
    >> So thats why hard discs have glass platters with a magnetic coating on
    >> it.
    >>
    >> zip discs and floppies spin at much lower rpm as the disk is not
    >> hermetically sealed and to avoid disc distortion that would otherwise
    >> occur
    >> at higher RPM and also are of lower data density compared to todays HDD's
    >> og
    >> 500Gb to 1.5TB so head positioning on zip and floppies os not as critical
    >> as
    >> it would be on a HDD.

    >
    >
    > Is it possible to hermetically-seal the soft disc of a floppy/zip?


    Yes, it's possible, but why do it?



    Of
    > course the spin speed would still have to be slow to prevent the soft
    > material from being injured. Right?
    >
    > Is it also true that in order to have the same amount of storage
    > space, that the soft floppy material would need to be bigger in
    > diameter than the hard platter of an HDD?
    >


    Yes. The reason for speed is that the area of a data cluster can be smaller.




    > IOW, is it possible for a soft floppy disc to have the same data
    > density as a hard HDD platter?


    NO, because the floppy spins at a fraction of the speed.
    Jeff Strickland, Jun 19, 2009
    #8
  9. GreenXenon

    GreenXenon Guest

    On Jun 19, 1:54 pm, chuckcar <> wrote:


    > However if
    > you have to do more than a full format, that's only the start of your
    > security concerns IMHO.



    Meaning?
    GreenXenon, Jun 20, 2009
    #9
  10. GreenXenon

    chuckcar Guest

    GreenXenon <> wrote in
    news::

    > On Jun 19, 1:54 pm, chuckcar <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >> However if
    >> you have to do more than a full format, that's only the start of your
    >> security concerns IMHO.

    >
    > Meaning?


    When you format a disk you make it pretty well impossible for anyone but
    LEA to justify or even be able to recover information from them. A DoD
    spec overwrite will negate this as well. Anyone who actually worries about
    destroying the physical platters or their media directly is spending effort
    in misdirected efforts that gains little if anything.

    --
    (setq (chuck nil) car(chuck) )
    chuckcar, Jun 20, 2009
    #10
  11. GreenXenon

    Evan Platt Guest

    On Sat, 20 Jun 2009 00:48:20 +0000 (UTC), chuckcar <>
    wrote:

    >When you format a disk you make it pretty well impossible for anyone but
    >LEA to justify or even be able to recover information from them.


    Oh my... Wow.. That's incredibly funny, chucktard.
    --
    To reply via e-mail, remove The Obvious from my e-mail address.
    Evan Platt, Jun 20, 2009
    #11
  12. GreenXenon

    Rod Speed Guest

    GreenXenon wrote

    > I have a question just out of curiosity.


    Dont forget what curiosity did to the cat.

    > I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    > round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    > shredder -- to remove confidential information.


    > However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.


    > Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs of floppies and ZIPs?


    Because you get much higher bit densitys with rigid platters
    and its completely trivial to wipe them magnetically and you
    can reuse the platters when you do that.

    > It would be so much easier to remove
    > unwanted confidential information then.


    Nope.

    > Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the soft
    > platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.


    Much easier to use a decent security wipe like dban.

    > To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters
    > be heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data.


    Wrong. All you need is a decent security wipe like dban.

    > This is extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures required.


    Nothing dangerous about a properly designed furnace.

    And shredded floppys have actually been recovered.
    Rod Speed, Jun 20, 2009
    #12
  13. GreenXenon

    Rod Speed Guest

    Stephen wrote:

    > This is down to several factors.


    > Typical hard drives are hermetically sealed units


    No they arent. They always have a filtered vent that allows pressure equalisation.

    > which allow the platters to spin at a higher RPM than would be the case for Zip or floppy drives.


    It isnt the spin rate that allows the much higher bit density.

    > If the hard disc was "floppy", you will find that it will distort if
    > you start spinning it at 5,400rpm (most laptop drives) or ar 7,200rpm
    > (most desktop hard drives) or even at 10,000rpm (high performance
    > drives) the floppy media would probably tear itself to shreds.


    > In addition, the gap between the read/write heads and the data
    > surface is very tiny, so any accidental bending of the disk surface
    > runs the risk of the heads destroying the data surface


    In fact hard drive heads fly. Floppy drives heads dont.

    > and making the owner kiss goodbye to many Gigs worth of data. Having a hermetically sealed disk means there is no
    > issues with dust as there would be on a removable disc.


    > In addition, if the hard disc surface was to increase in diameter
    > with the high rotational speed, the head positioning motors would have to have a tracking compensation algorithm so it
    > knew where the data had "moved" to


    Nope, modern hard drives have embedded servo info that handles that
    fine as the platter expand and contract due to changing temperatue.

    > So thats why hard discs have glass platters with a magnetic coating on it.


    They arent all glass.

    > zip discs and floppies spin at much lower rpm as the disk is not
    > hermetically sealed and to avoid disc distortion that would otherwise
    > occur at higher RPM and also are of lower data density compared to todays HDD's og 500Gb to 1.5TB so head positioning
    > on zip and floppies os not as critical as it would be on a HDD.


    In fact the real reason is just the much higher bit densitys possible with rigid platters.


    > GreenXenon <> wrote


    >> I have a question just out of curiosity.
    >>
    >> I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    >> round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    >> shredder -- to remove confidential information.
    >>
    >> However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.
    >>
    >> Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    >> of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    >> confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the
    >> soft platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.
    >>
    >> To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    >> heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    >> extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    >> required.
    >>
    >>
    >> Thanks a bunch,
    >>
    >> Green
    Rod Speed, Jun 20, 2009
    #13
  14. GreenXenon

    Rod Speed Guest

    chuckcar wrote:
    > GreenXenon <> wrote in
    > news::
    >
    >> Hi:
    >>
    >> I have a question just out of curiosity.
    >>
    >> I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    >> round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    >> shredder -- to remove confidential information.
    >>
    >> However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.
    >>
    >> Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    >> of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    >> confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the
    >> soft platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.
    >>
    >> To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    >> heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    >> extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    >> required.
    >>

    > Several reasons: 1. Rotation speed. Hard drives spin at several
    > thousand RPM (7,000-10,000), Floppies at under 500. You can actually
    > tell by their sound when a revolution is finished - less than a
    > second, but definitely discernable. 2. Head gap. Floppy disk heads
    > sit on the order of 1 mm from the surface of the disk and frequently
    > make contact with it.


    In fact they always make contact and dont fly like a hard drive head does.

    > Hard drive heads float less than 10 millionths
    > of an inch over the surface and due to the speed involved will
    > destroy the surface if they contact it. However if you have to do
    > more than a full format, that's only the start of your security
    > concerns IMHO.
    Rod Speed, Jun 20, 2009
    #14
  15. GreenXenon

    Rod Speed Guest

    GreenXenon wrote:
    > On Jun 19, 1:28 pm, "Stephen" <> wrote:
    >> This is down to several factors.
    >>
    >> Typical hard drives are hermetically sealed units which allow the
    >> platters to spin at a higher RPM than would be the case for Zip or
    >> floppy drives.
    >>
    >> If the hard disc was "floppy", you will find that it will distort if
    >> you start spinning it at 5,400rpm (most laptop drives) or ar
    >> 7,200rpm (most desktop hard drives) or even at 10,000rpm (high
    >> performance drives) the floppy media would probably tear itself to
    >> shreds.
    >>
    >> In addition, the gap between the read/write heads and the data
    >> surface is very tiny, so any accidental bending of the disk surface
    >> runs the risk of the heads destroying the data surface and making
    >> the owner kiss goodbye to many Gigs worth of data. Having a
    >> hermetically sealed disk means there is no issues with dust as there
    >> would be on a removable disc.
    >>
    >> In addition, if the hard disc surface was to increase in diameter
    >> with the high rotational speed, the head positioning motors would
    >> have to have a tracking compensation algorithm so it knew where the
    >> data had "moved" to
    >>
    >> So thats why hard discs have glass platters with a magnetic coating
    >> on it.
    >>
    >> zip discs and floppies spin at much lower rpm as the disk is not
    >> hermetically sealed and to avoid disc distortion that would
    >> otherwise occur at higher RPM and also are of lower data density
    >> compared to todays HDD's og 500Gb to 1.5TB so head positioning on
    >> zip and floppies os not as critical as it would be on a HDD.


    > Is it possible to hermetically-seal the soft disc of a floppy/zip?


    Yes, and hard drives arent in fact hermetically sealed anyway.

    > Of course the spin speed would still have to be slow
    > to prevent the soft material from being injured. Right?


    Nope. It would be possible to make flexible
    material that could be spun at those speeds.

    > Is it also true that in order to have the same amount of storage
    > space, that the soft floppy material would need to be bigger in
    > diameter than the hard platter of an HDD?


    Thats true in the sense that the bit densitys are much higher with rigid platters.

    > IOW, is it possible for a soft floppy disc to have
    > the same data density as a hard HDD platter?


    Nope.

    And its all completely pointless anyway when its so completely trivial to
    use a decent security wipe like dban that completely wipes rigid platters.

    The only thing it cant wipe is spared sectors.
    Rod Speed, Jun 20, 2009
    #15
  16. GreenXenon

    sandy58 Guest

    On Jun 19, 8:42 pm, GreenXenon <> wrote:
    > Hi:
    >
    > I have a question just out of curiosity.
    >
    > I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    > round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    > shredder -- to remove confidential information.
    >
    > However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.
    >
    > Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    > of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    > confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the soft
    > platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.
    >
    > To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    > heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    > extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    > required.
    >
    > Thanks a bunch,
    >
    > Green


    Hey, GreenGlow, did you ever get answers to these questions yet?
    What is Sphygmo-thermic dissociation?
    When a neuron is stimulated, it depolarizes. When relaxed, it
    hyperpolarizes?
    They chased you from comp.dsp, sci.physics & sci.med.cardiology for
    being a troll.
    Grow up.....if you are ALLOWED, that is????
    sandy58, Jun 20, 2009
    #16
  17. GreenXenon

    - Bobb - Guest

    "GreenXenon" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi:
    >
    > I have a question just out of curiosity.
    >
    > I notice with ZIP discs and floppies, the disc is a soft dark-brown
    > round film-like material that can easily be shredded -- with paper-
    > shredder -- to remove confidential information.
    >
    > However, the magnetic platters in HDDs are much harder and metallic.
    >
    > Why don't they make the hard-disc-drive platters soft like the discs
    > of floppies and ZIPs? It would be so much easier to remove unwanted
    > confidential information then. Simply unscrew the HDD, remove the soft
    > platters and dump them into a paper-shreder.
    >
    > To remove personal info from an HDD requires that the platters be
    > heated beyond Curie point to eliminate all magnetic data. This is
    > extremely inconvenient and dangerous because of the high temperatures
    > required.
    >
    >
    > Thanks a bunch,
    >
    > Green


    The head in a floppy drive rubs along the surface - like a cassette tape.
    HDD has no contact - so no wear and can turn much faster. ( You ever try
    installing a big app from floppy ? 25mb would take 20 minutes to load 23
    floppies. on a HDD it takes - a second.) From tech school 25+ years ago , I
    remember the teacher explaining the relationship between the heads and the
    platters on a HDD as a "727 flying at 500 mph 12 inches off the ground " -
    so no room for error. At high RPM's , if those "platters" were 'like a
    floppy ' they would be flapping in the wind. In a HDD the heads "fly"
    above the "air pressure surface" created by the high speed. They are spring
    loaded so that - at a given speed they are x microinches from the platter -
    at the range were the data can be read. Too far away and magnetic field is
    unreadable. Too close = surface contact . A floppy WILL wear out if used
    over and over ( wear) BUT, since there is no actual contact , ideally there
    is no surface wear on HDD.
    In a real secure/secret environment, (To remove personal info from an HDD
    requires that the platters be heated beyond Curie point) the way to "be sure
    that the data is removed" from HDD: open case , remove platters and put them
    through a shredder. There is a log to fill out by those involved. Companies
    that need that level of security have that equipment - and the output is
    like talcum powder.
    - Bobb -, Jun 20, 2009
    #17
  18. GreenXenon

    GreenXenon Guest

    On Jun 20, 6:56 am, "- Bobb -" <b...@noemail.123> wrote:


    > In a real secure/secret environment, (To remove personal info from an HDD
    > requires that the platters be heated beyond Curie point) the way to "be sure
    > that the data is removed" from HDD: open case , remove platters and put them
    > through a shredder. There is a log to fill out by those involved. Companies
    > that need that level of security have that equipment - and the output is
    > like talcum powder.


    I have a gas stove at home. If I heat the platters directly over the
    flame, will that be hot enough to be beyond the Curie point of the
    platters?
    GreenXenon, Jun 20, 2009
    #18
  19. GreenXenon

    - Bobb - Guest

    "GreenXenon" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Jun 20, 6:56 am, "- Bobb -" <b...@noemail.123> wrote:
    >
    >
    >> In a real secure/secret environment, (To remove personal info from an HDD
    >> requires that the platters be heated beyond Curie point) the way to "be
    >> sure
    >> that the data is removed" from HDD: open case , remove platters and put
    >> them
    >> through a shredder. There is a log to fill out by those involved.
    >> Companies
    >> that need that level of security have that equipment - and the output is
    >> like talcum powder.

    >
    > I have a gas stove at home. If I heat the platters directly over the
    > flame, will that be hot enough to be beyond the Curie point of the
    > platters?
    >

    I can't imagine many people use " The Curie point " to reuse the HDD
    "The Curie point of a ferromagnetic material is the temperature above which
    it loses its characteristic ferromagnetic ability (768°C or 1414 °F for
    iron)"
    - Bobb -, Jun 20, 2009
    #19
  20. GreenXenon

    GreenXenon Guest

    On Jun 20, 8:21 am, "- Bobb -" <b...@noemail.123> wrote:


    > "GreenXenon" <> wrote in message
    >
    > news:...



    > > I have a gas stove at home. If I heat the platters directly over the
    > > flame, will that be hot enough to be beyond the Curie point of the
    > > platters?

    >



    > I can't imagine many people use " The Curie point " to reuse the HDD
    > "The Curie point of a ferromagnetic material is the temperature above which
    > it loses its characteristic ferromagnetic ability (768°C or 1414 °F for
    > iron)"



    True. The platters become unusable after beyond-Curie heating.
    However, is the gas stove flame hot enough to do this? I'm thinking of
    heating the platters of my old HDD over the gas stove flames to
    completely eliminate all the confidential info in it. Will it work?
    GreenXenon, Jun 20, 2009
    #20
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