An External Hard Drive kept in the cold

  wee eddie 20:00 01 Jan 2017

I keep the third part of my backup on an External Hard Drive, a WD My Passport, which is kept in a Fireproof Box, with the rest of my household Documents, down the bottom of the garden in a shed. It is perfectly dry but, at this time of year, gets very cold.

My question: When I bring it in, each Sunday, to do the weekly incremental backup. Should I leave it an hour or so, to return to room temperature, or does it not really matter?

  bremner 20:18 01 Jan 2017

Storage in a cold environment where water could freeze is in its self not a good idea.

click here

  wee eddie 20:43 01 Jan 2017

I'm on the West Coast and next door, but two, has a palm tree in his garden, so -18'C is not really a problem

  BRYNIT 20:45 01 Jan 2017

If I was to store my backup drives in a shed I personally would wrap the fireproof box in a blanket or if it's small enough put it into a cool box to prevent it from getting to cold.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:46 01 Jan 2017

Yes I'd let it warm up before use and cool down after use before taking out to the colder environment.

  bumpkin 21:45 01 Jan 2017

Why keep it in a cold shed anyway. You say a fireproof box so why not in your house.

  wee eddie 21:54 01 Jan 2017

I live in the 1st Floor Flat. Should there be a fire, the floors would almost certainly collapse and the box would probably break open as a result of a fall.

As it is, I usually bring the Drive in, a couple of hours before I connect it to the PC. However, as a result of this conversation, I will probably extend that period during the cold weather,

  bumpkin 23:14 01 Jan 2017

I don't know what is in your box but if I lived in a flat and the floors collapsed in a fire I think it would be the least of my worries. Clearly the contents are important enough to you to consider these possibilities so why not have 2 copies. Hard drives are cheap enough and copies of important documents can assist if you need to obtain originals. I hope you do not have this misfortune anyway and I would also let it warm up first. I would also think that frequently changing the temperature of something as sensitive as a hard drive would not be good for its longevity.

  Forum Editor 23:27 01 Jan 2017

Any electronic device that is brought from the cold into a warm environment is going to be at risk from condensation.

It is liable to form inside the drive, where you won't see it. If you must keep the drive in a shed, you would be well advised to make a thick polystyrene enclosure for it.

A far better solution in the circumstances would be to use cloud storage for your files. They will be far more secure there than in a garden shed.

  wee eddie 23:43 01 Jan 2017

The Fire Box is made of polystyrene filled with some form of powder.

The fire safe contains Insurance Policies and a record of the contents of the flat. The Hard Drive, my Accounts and Tax Papers and my derided Autobiography, as well as the usual family detritus. I also have a NAS Drive in the Flat which handles daily backups but that is, so they say, not safe from Ransom Ware

Looks like a little more thought is needed

  Burn-it 23:57 01 Jan 2017

It may be silica gel powder which needs to be "cooked" occasionally to drive off any moisture it has abbsorbed. Cold does not hurt disks. Moisture in the form of condensation will unless dried out before use.

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