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Winter Weather Doesn’t Bode Well for Your Hard Drive

The winter weather puts your HDD at risk for data loss.

In the 2018-19 winter season, we have already seen several feet of snow in the Northeast, record cold temperatures in the Midwest, and it’s not over yet. Weather.com projects that February will bring below average temperatures throughout more than half of the country. With all of these frigid temperatures creeping up on us, you need to take precautionary measures when transporting your hard disk drive (HDD).

Risks to HDD Cold Exposure

The most basic component of your HDD that is affected is its ability to boot up. Most liquids will freeze if they are in cold enough temperatures. The lubricant that enables your platters to spin may freeze, preventing the read/write heads from reading your data. If the platters do spin, the cold can slow down their spinning speeds, which can corrupt the data when the heads attempt to locate your information.

Another possible risk is condensation. If you do take your external hard drive or laptop computer with an internal hard drive out into the frosty environment, your destination is most likely a warm place indoors. The drastic change from extreme cold to warm can cause condensation to form in your drive. Obviously, water damage puts your drive at risk for data loss. Your best bet in this situation is to slowly acclimate your drive to the heat by keeping it in the box or bag it was transported in and gradually introduce it to room temperature.

Related Winter Data Loss Threats

In addition to the cold, winter never fails to bring snow. When you drop your drive or device in the snow, don’t panic. Try to follow these guidelines and if you are unsuccessful, turn the drive off and call our recovery services immediately.

A lesser known product of the cold air is static electricity. When the air is dry and people wear several warm layers, static easily passes between people and objects. Static damage to a drive occurs when a charge finds a path to ground itself. To prevent the grounding platform from being your drive, try to touch a metal object to remove the charge from your body before handling your drive.

Guide for Safe HDD Operating Temperatures

Independent studies, as well as substantial research groups, have determined a safe temperature range for operating an HDD. The ideal temperature range to run your drive is between 25 degrees and 50 degrees on the Celsius scale. This is equal to 77 degrees and 122 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. While it may seem that the drive can function in temperatures below or above the suggested range, doing so can degrade the quality of the HDD.

Weather Solutions

To monitor the health of your drive, including the temperature, there are several types of analysis software that diagnose and report vital information about your machine. Though this software is available, nothing can replace the simple action of only taking your device out in the cold if it is absolutely necessary. Be sure to let it adjust to room temperature before powering it on.

Secure Data Recovery has dealt with all types of hard drive damage and has a team of experienced engineers to tackle any data loss scenario. Environmental damage is a common failure and must be treated in a professional laboratory. We treat all drives in a Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom and have recovered data when competitors could not. For more information on our services call 1-800-388-1266.

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