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I have a very nice desktop system that I've invested a lot of time and money into building. I have to leave for a year and will be giving the system to some family to store until I return. They are not very technical and won't be using the desktop at all in my absence.

What is the best way to store it so that everything still functions properly when I return? More specifically should I put it in the basement in a watertight bag? (it can get rather cold) or leave it in a spare room? Should it be plugged in and set on hibernate or not plugged in at all?

It has a NVIDIA 550 GTX graphics card and some liquid cooling systems. 4 hard drives (3 SATA one SSD). Most of the other hardware is pretty standard for a typical desktop.

I'm not sure what is the best route so any advice is helpful. The biggest reason I ask is that in the past I've just stored things like laptops in the closet and have returned to find a dead battery that barely holds a charge and the system just seems generally slower. I am not sure if leaving it plugged in to avoid full discharge on the capacitors might have some effect. I've searched for similar questions on SU but they all seem data storage related and not actually hardware related.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The best environment to store it in is the one you operate it in -- room temperature, dry, out of range of knocks and bumps. Why remove the hard drives, only to have to deal with storing them somewhere and putting wear on the connectors? Just make sure they're securely mounted before you transport the computer.

Do NOT put it in a basement or an attic. Too many critters and temperature fluctuations, and watertight or not, it's not technology friendly.

The only reason I could see plugging it in and turning it on would be to circulate the liquid in your cooling system every now and then, and I suspect different systems have different needs as far as that goes. Updates and patches can be done when you come back, you'll just want to allow some time for updating before you start actively using it again.

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I would definitely remove the hard drives and put them in shock-absorbing packaging of some sort. They may need to move the system physically for some reason and if they are not technical it could easily be given rough treatment. Alternately you could (if you want to go this route) put them (all the drives) in a safe deposit box in a bank where they will not get touched.

The physical system is probably best totally depowered (remove the CMOS battery) and placed somewhere safe (spare room sounds OK) that isn't subjected to things like direct sunlight or heat (radiator, floor register).

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