Storage of a Hard Drive

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    • #132177
      Jenny Arena
      I recently had a request to pose the following question to the group from Cathy at Our Lady of Guadalupe Province. 
      “Recently, when a friar died and his effects were sent here – one thing I received was the hard drive (already removed) from his computer.  I was able to get the contents transferred to our Archives computer – though I don’t know if we can open all the files/folders.  My question however is related to the removed hard drive itself – I am presuming that it should be kept but I don’t know do I pack it in a box? What should I use to keep it from sliding around? Are there certain packing materials that should be avoided?  How fragile is the data on it? And anything else anyone might suggest relating to preserving it.”
    • #132180

      People tend to keep the plastic bags that came with the new hardrives/motherboards and use them for primary housing. They’re a cool protection against dust and static.

      You must realize that inside the HD there is a couple of very fragile plates and movile magnetic heards that can ruin them. More important that their fix position (flat or vertical) I think is the lack of vibration and the correct temperature and humidity. Also, it must be checked periodically in order to verify the data is “in good shape”.  Due to the fact that newer HD are a lot more flagile than olders, you may want also to check for recent opinions about the exact model you have to store…

      I think there’s already some information discussed in this forum about it and also in the AMIA-L mailing list.

    • #132179
      Jerry Foust

      Mauro is correct.  You should make sure that the heads that read the info from the drive are “parked”.  Typically, it is very easy to do simply by highlighting the drive while it is attached to a computer and going into your systems option and preparing or parking the drive in preparation for removal.  The specifics depend on the operating system you are using.

      The other issue is once the drive heads are parked and the drive is removed it should be stored in an anti-static bag and should never be packed using packing “peanuts”. The peanuts seem to cause a great deal of static.   Electronic media is highly susceptible to electro-static shock.

      Whatever you do, no matter how safe you are, you probably won’t be able to read the drive in 10 years anyway.

      Good Luck.

    • #132178
      Julie Blood

      I would also suggest that you contact the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.  I’m sure they could answer all of your questions and give you suggestions on storage.  Their website is


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