Flash drive OK with X-rays?

  Pineman100 11:59 03 Apr 2006
Locked

I have to take a USB flsh drive abroad with me, and it will have some vital data on it. Is there any possibility that it will be adversely affected by the security X-ray machines at the airport?

  VideoSentry 12:03 03 Apr 2006

I have taken flash drives and memory cards through various airport security scanners with no problem, but if the info is that vital hand it over for a manual check.

  dms05 12:05 03 Apr 2006

I take my laptop through airport security often. I have flash drives, SD memory cards, mobile phone SIM's in my bag. I've never had a problem with data loss on any media. If worried keep it in your trouser pocket - it may not even set off the alarm.

  Totally-braindead 12:06 03 Apr 2006

I've also had no problems with the x ray machines at airports but I would suggest that if the files are that vital you leave a backup at home and burn the files onto CD and take that with you as well. Just to be safe.

  dms05 12:06 03 Apr 2006

At some airports the items you put into trays are simply passed through the X-ray machine.

  terryf 12:07 03 Apr 2006

But make sure it isn't too bulky when you put it in your pocket, some-one might think that you are pleased to see them :-)

  bjh 12:12 03 Apr 2006

I think I'm right in saying that the hold baggage X ray is generally more powerful than the hand baggage X ray, so avoid hold baggage.

If it is a plastic framed one, it may well not set off the personal scanner, so I'd keep it in a pocket and "forget " it was there - that's what I do, & it normally doesn't set the airports' security off (has done so, though).

I agree with the policy of taking a backup on CD, & would advise against using a CD-RW. I've always suspected that they might well be affected by even low-level X rays.

  Stuartli 12:20 03 Apr 2006

>>I agree with the policy of taking a backup on CD, & would advise against using a CD-RW. I've always suspected that they might well be affected by even low-level X rays.>>

As these disks are non-magnetic how can they be affected by X-rays?

I've taken lots of rolls of film through airport X-ray scanners over the years and it has never affected them.

  €dstowe 14:05 03 Apr 2006

It really is immaterial whether you are going through airport Xray or not, ALL data or information of any value or importance should have at least one extra copy, kept in a safe place.

  Pineman100 14:05 03 Apr 2006

As suggested, I'll burn a CD-R to duplicate the data. So I should have all bases covered.

  bjh 14:33 03 Apr 2006

Stuartli ~ Not sure about your view. X-rays are surely just a high energy part of the electromagnetic spectrum - they are light! The dye in the disc is sensiteve - for a cdrw, but not a cdr.
The airport scanners that you walk through ARE magnetic, and work on the principle that something that deflects the magnetic field sets the alarm off. A small paperclip won't set one off, whilst the same paperclip unwound will set it off.

Film certainly IS fogged by airport x-rays, especially high asa/iso numbers (more so at primitive x-ray scanners in 3rd-World countries). On long haul flights high iso film can even be fogged whilst in the cabin!
click here for details from Kodak

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