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I'm moving soon and I'm trying to figure out a way to move my computer hardware. A have a shiny new desktop. In past long-distance moves, I had older desktops and I didn't care if they broke. Ditto my hard drives as data was backed up over several DVDs.

I'm concerned for my hard drives - I have 4 in my case. For each drive there is an exact file for file copy (not in RAID). My OS is on an SD drive. So If one hard drive crashes, there is still another drive with the exact same files on it. Should I be concerned about a drive breaking during a move? If so, should I just pack each carefully in separate boxes or will it fare better if I leave in system case.

Will my system be okay if I leave everything - video card and hard drives in the same box?

*I've generally double boxed my stuff and added lots of foam padding. I've moved many times and haven't had anything break. I am generally pretty careful.

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For the duplicated disks, I would leave one copy in the machine and keep the other one close, so I'd still have my data even if the case got lost or damaged. – Gilles Nov 22 '10 at 0:54
Take a look at this question, it's almost a duplicate. – AndrejaKo Nov 22 '10 at 9:30
@Gilles: That's exactly what I did when moving abroad. Gave me peace of mind. – Jamie Schembri Nov 22 '10 at 13:27

If you have a couple of days before the move, and a cohort at the destination, then:

  • Duplicate one of the hard drives (or simply use an existing duplicate) and mail it to the destination.
  • Once the drive arrives, have the recipient checksum the result, and compare it to a checksum of the one you have.
  • If they match, ship your computer as-is with no worry, knowing that you have a backup at the destination in case you need it.

Alternatively, leave one disk where you are now, and have it mailed or destroyed once you arrive and verify the data.

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depends on the mode of transportation, if by car it should be fine as long as its not met with many bumps and things of the like, if by plane, i suggest packing peanuts, (by boat it would be fine), just keep it cooled, and secured in place and all should be fine

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All the parts that are not mechanical (i.e. not the hard drives) can travel without being taken out of the case.

Your biggest challenge is shock and extreme conditions for the drives, so pack them tightly in anti-static bags and bubble-wrap, and possibly bind them in plastic (to create sufficient air pockets for maintaining temperature), and of course separately, though you can put them in the same box.

Hard drives travel all over the world on a daily basis, packed in a lot less than this and Dacota's suggestion, so you should be fine with a bit of common sense.

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For what it's worth, I travelled through three countries with three hard drives in my carry-on luggage, each in an external chassis, wrapped in bubble-wrap. They are all still running nine months later. – user3463 Nov 22 '10 at 0:35

Will my system be okay if I leave everything - video card and hard drives in the same box?

If they are traveling via car/truck, they should be fine. At your destination, make sure all the cards and cables are fully seated. And don't forget to change the timezone setting after booting up.

Something useful from all the office moves I've made with computers is to put all the cables associated with a particular computer in the same bag. Label the bag clearly with the computer's name.

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I build computers and both deliver them and ship them across England. I can not think of more than once a year when a hard drive has gone wrong from a move/delivery. Remember, heads park when being turned off (safely) and they are designed for "some" transit.

The biggest problem I have seen is rubbish courier companies who do not tie down boxes and having dents put in the side of cases!.

If you have used bubble wrap, or any sort of protection, I would think you are safe enough.

Especially as you said you have a few hard drives, I am guessing it was an after market upgrade - just think how a small box was possibly shaken on route to you in the first place.

Whilst I would not recommend dropping, shaking, throwing etc, components can take a little bit of "roughness" before breaking.

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