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Would it damage or cause any interference to the non-operational (whereby electricity or power is removed or disconnected from the hard disk and it will be store inside a cupboard or container either made of plastic or metal) hard disks (IDE, SATA)?

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You don't make it clear whether you're talking about storage or operation. For operation they should be mounted in the housing. The housing will generally provide about 1/8" minimum spacing between, which is all that's needed if there is reasonable airflow. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 10 '12 at 2:08
    
@DanH, I mention that after removing them from the casing -> which means that I remove power from them since I have remove them from the casing. However, I will take note of it by mention for "non-operation" storing purpose. Hope that will help. I also thought that the picture is good enough as there is no power connecting to the hard disk in the picture. –  Jack Jan 10 '12 at 7:41
    
For storage I'd interleave them with a piece of corrugated cardboard or such, just to avoid scratches and provide a little padding against vibration. Not absolutely necessary, though. But the "clink" when you set a drive down on a hard surface can produce quite a high G level, so that's the thing to watch. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 10 '12 at 12:42
    
@DanielRHicks, just wondering, are "cardboard spacers" just a flat piece of cardboard? Isn't that dangerous? Would it catch on fire? Are there any other materials that could be placed between two drives inside the case? Thanks –  Nat Jun 14 at 14:40
    
@Nat - I used the term "storage" in the sense of storing the drives, while not powered. Cardboard would only catch fire if there already were a fire for some reason. For operating drives they need to be spaced apart by some rigid mounting system, as I indicated earlier. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 20 at 21:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

For storage, the issue would be them sliding against each other and the top of one drive damaging the circuitry on the bottom of the drive below it. A cardboard spacer would solve that problem.

Static electricity is a risk in theory, but I've abused hard drives like this for more than a decade -- I have dozens stacked -- and have only had one that I put away good not work when I unpacked it, and that was a 20MB(!) drive that had been stored open in a moist garage for a decade. Still, putting them in an anti-static bag is a good idea if you've got one.

For operation, the issue would be the drives getting knocked over, shorting each other out, or overheating. For short term operation if you're careful, there's no real problem. For long-term operation, there's the possible issue that vibration might cause gyroscopic effects that lead to torque on the bearings, causing them to wear prematurely.

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+1 Thanks for sharing your experience with us - at the least, I will put some card board spacer in between the hard disk. –  Jack Jan 10 '12 at 7:45
    
I stack them as well. For long term operations, a $5 household fan does the job on the whole stack. –  surfasb Jan 10 '12 at 9:37

As long as you don't bang them up, and no metal is touching the circuitry that shouldn't, you should be fine

Worst case scenario? Put them in a giant condom

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Ideally they should also be stored separately in anti-static bags. –  Hydaral Jan 10 '12 at 1:12
    
Ideally, maybe even in this static.scan.co.uk/images/products/1015204-a.jpg –  XXL Jan 10 '12 at 1:17
    
+1 I rather put them in anti-static bags or the static.scan.co.uk/images/products/1015204-a.jpg if I want extra safety coverage. –  Jack Jan 10 '12 at 7:43
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Always practice safe computing. I hear this also stops viruses. –  Sirex Jan 10 '12 at 7:56

If you really want to run harddrives like that (I did for testing purposes) put a sheet of paper between them to insulate the controller from the top of the harddrive below. Under normal circumstances temperature should not be an issue.

I had harddrives stacked like that and I never had issues with that. The magnets inside the drives are not strong enough to penetrate through the harddrives cover and the cables are shielded, too.

I still would not reccommend using harddrives like this, especially if you have no backup of the data.

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I'd put more than a sheet of paper, so as to not block the breathing hole. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jan 10 '12 at 1:17
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Temperature is an issue. Google's paper is only a theoretical study with some overall data accumulation, not backed up by much science. It's mostly only a "probability" case. Operating lower than 20* C or higher than 45* C causes the magnetic head stack to go bad much faster, than if it was cooled properly. Also, keeping the drives like that causes a significant amount of vibration - this is not a good thing, it will degrade the MHS as well. –  XXL Jan 10 '12 at 1:23
    
@Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams: the "breathing" hole is hardly "breathing". It's so small, that there's practically vacuum inside the hdd (which it ain't, though). But as of again - stacking drives like that will only make them noticeably heat up each other. –  XXL Jan 10 '12 at 1:25

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