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I have lost many electronics that I keep unused for a long time before due to the near sea (high humidity area) area that I live in. I learned this the hard way, so in order to protect hard drives unused for long periods that I use as back up, I wrapped them using a cling film to be air tight and prevent moist air or dust to the hard drives. Then I heard hard drives need access to normal air pressure. I have three WD hard drives one external (My Passport 1 TB) two internals one is SATA the other is IDE, which I sealed for more than a month now. Is there a problem with sealing the hard drives that way, should I worry about the drives?

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Not the same question per se, but the answers to Do not cover this hole? should help. –  Dennis Mar 5 '13 at 18:06
    
Not understanding the close votes here. How is this not constructive? Vacuum sealing an HDD could be rather useful IMO. –  Tanner Mar 5 '13 at 18:47
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My question was whether my HDDs are stored safely or not.. I read that post before I made my own. As helpful as it is, it's not specific to my case. Thanks for the heads up anyways :D –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:48

5 Answers 5

First of all "normal air pressure" and "air tight seal" are not mutually exclusive. Secondly "normal air pressure" requirement is just for the operating mode not for the storage. The bottom line is your drives are going to be fine. I mean if they fail - that won't be because you stored them in an air tight container.

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even if the weather got warmer or cooler, I think that will affect the pressure? Are they tolerable to that kind of pressure changes? –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:18
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yes. hard drives are resilient enough to be shipped by air in airplane's cargo hold. –  Alex P. Mar 5 '13 at 18:22
    
So the do not cover any holes warning is only for operating mode? –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:25
    
yes. just worry about the humidity (and shocks... and electrostatic discharge) –  Alex P. Mar 5 '13 at 18:27
    
Thanks a lot for your clarification Alex, but if u wouldn't mind how to store safe of electrostatic discharge?? –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:33

Wrapping using cling film should keep dust out. Keeping moisture out is less likely. I think there will be little effect on moisture in the air INSIDE the wrapping unless it is completely air tight and has been wrapped in a different atmosphere. So, other than regular moisture problems, I suggest that the most important problem is temperature. If the drives are cold, moisture can condense causing a problem.

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I have used two layers of cling film over each other, and made sure there is minimum air inside. Do you have any tips?? –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 19:19
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Resealable bag with a dehumidifier packet inside will take care of potential condensation problem. –  Alex P. Mar 5 '13 at 19:23
    
I don't know how to get hold of both maybe the dehumidifier packet is easier.. Would current packing most likely cause condensation problem than no packing at all, and I should remove it, or better to keep it until I find an alternative? –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 19:31

I don't think you should worry about your drive, as the air pressure is actually around the same (at least it should be, maybe with small differences). As long as water or large amounts of dust does not collects inside, your hdd should be fine.

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do you have any trustable data backing up your answer? –  Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Mar 5 '13 at 18:09
    
Which data do you need? like how old the drives are? I'll be happy to provide you with any further details.. –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:17
    
AS you know, the Hard drives are produced for example in China. Then, they travel long distances to the shops in a sealed box, and an anti-static bag (can as well be cling film or aluminium foil). They are often even getting in on much more pressure on the transport airplanes, and even more water when transported with the boats –  CamIce Mar 5 '13 at 18:17
    
I guess nothing to worry about then... I'll leave them like that :D –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:22

Wrapping the hard drives in cling film does not seem to change the pressure much, unless you used some sealing technique involving a vacuum to suck the air out.

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no I only wrapped them making sure there is minimal air possible (I stuck the plastic close to the drive as much as possible), without using vacuum of any sort.. –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:16
    
In that case, you might want to put a dehumidifier in the same storage location as your disk drives. The cling wrap will save your from them from the dust particles, but the high humidity might still work its way through the wrapping. Remember to replace the dehumidifier, as it gets used up. –  stonefruit Mar 5 '13 at 18:20
    
I didn't place a humidifier in the first place, but thanks :D that a good tip.. –  Jim Arnold Mar 5 '13 at 18:26

I see a challenge using cling film for long term storage. That is, you could actually be trapping moisture in if you wrap them on a muggy day.

The area of susceptibility on the drive is the control board and maybe the pins, Molex pins or SATA connectors. hdd

The gap between the board and the film could cause you problems over time in storage. You probably notice this when you stretch the film tight across the PCB board (as the body edge of the drive is higher than the bottom of the board). Thus there is a gap where air (possibly moist) is trapped.

I suggest one Ziploc bag, white rice, a Post-it note, a can of air and a permanent marker.

  1. Put drive in Ziploc bag.
  2. Fill bag with white rice.
  3. Note on Post-it any files you want to know that are on the drive and slide it between the rice and the bag, so you can read it later.
  4. Seal bag.
  5. Write the type of drive, date of storage and what ever else you want to know a year down the road on the Ziploc bag.

Seal the bag and store away.

When you want to recover the drive, blow it off with canned air.

Good things about rice and this idea:

  1. It absorbs moisture. If you put a muggy drive in the bag, it will "dry" the unit and keep moisture at bay.
  2. No static in the rice bag.
  3. It is biodegradable.
  4. You can reuse it over and over again unless it gets wet.
  5. Pressure would not be an issue (as a listed concern in one of the comments or reference to "what's this hole for").
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