In the Harry Potter universe, can magic be used to modify computer data? I understand that electronics go haywire in an environment like Hogwarts where there's a lot of magic around, but in a non-magic-infused environment could a targeted spell be used to modify data? If so, are there any known spells to do that?

Pottermore's page on technology and the HP wiki page on computers mention why most wizards don't want to have much to do with technology, but not whether or not something like this is possible.

This question came up because of This related one.

I'm pretty sure Renan was joking but just to clarify, I'm asking about modifying it into usable data. Not just melting the hard drive.

  • 1
    I am quite sure that if you hit a hard disc with a bombarda maxima the 0's and 1's in it will be modified into molten metal, so I'd go with yes.
    – Marvel Boy
    Jun 15, 2018 at 20:02
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    The question makes no sense imo within the universe. You should ask instead if there are any known spells for that. Think of it like asking if a computer program can take over the world theoretically vs if it exists. Major difference
    – Raditz_35
    Jun 15, 2018 at 20:10
  • @Raditz_35 Well the theory of electronics working in a magical environment is known to be a valid issue, so why not the other direction of whether magic will work on electronics? But good point about asking about known spells, I'll add that in.
    – Ben Sutton
    Jun 15, 2018 at 20:18
  • I think the idea of the question is fine as such, I'm just saying it is either sloppy or based on a misunderstanding that somehow all magic was known.
    – Raditz_35
    Jun 15, 2018 at 20:25
  • Any answer will likely be centered on Hermione's putting her parents into hiding in another country. It's possible she created new documents for them, along w/ new memories, and it's possible that that extended to modifying government records as well #purespeculation
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 15, 2018 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


Yes, very probably, either directly or indirectly.

Consider, as just one example, satellite imagery of the so-called hurricane at the beginning of Half-Blood Prince. The wizarding world could not have remained secret if there was not some way of removing this sort of evidence.

We can't be certain that this would be achieved by a direct modification of the data inside the affected computers, however; it might instead be an ongoing spell that prevents anyone from retrieving it, or from recognizing its significance if they do.

Personally I see no reason why magic that can change other sorts of records, such as the magic that makes a building or area Unplottable even if there are already maps or the Fidelius charm that hides a secret even if there are written records couldn't also change computerized records; if the person casting the spell doesn't have to know what or where the information is recorded in order for the spell to change them, there's no reason to think they need to understand the nature of the information storage either.

The magic might very well cause malfunctions as a side-effect, but that's as good an explanation as any for how unreliable computers are nowadays!


You need to think like a hacker. Go with the easier ways, and remember that wizards don't really know anything about muggles and especially muggle technology and devices. Kevin Mitnick's greatest hacks were all done via social engineering, not by use of technological methods. Attack the people, the weak links, not the poor computers :)

Don't use magic on the computers/data. Use the magic on the people, who then either ignore what is right in front of them, forget to act on seeing it, modify the data for you, etc. If I can cross universes - "These are not the droids you are looking for".

If Hermione moved her parents to a foreign country, it would be much easier to have someone strong in Legilimency charm a convenient muggle border guard into stamping passports, etc. as needed and promptly forgetting about it. Or a government worker in some office to just issue new identity. Or perhaps the MoM has Squibs in various positions to facilitate all of this. False information, authentic documents - all the best fakes are real.

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