What is the Best Solution for Storing Hard Drives?

hey everyone,

I have got a couple of Samsung HD501LJ 's 500 gb internal sataII hard drives that I am using to store all of my OLD family videos and pictures. So, obviously this stuff is valuable to me and my family and we want to make sure they are protected and maintained.

What is the best way or method to store these 2 drives?

--I was thinking just put them back in to the plastic case and bubble wrap that they came in. Then, put them in a fire safe box for long term storage.
The drives will only be taken out of the firesafe box and their package every couple of months or so. At which time, new photos or videos will be added to the drives.

Is this a good method for storage? Or is there a better way to store the drives?

Please give me any suggestions you may have for ensuring that long functioning life of these hard drives.

PS- At some point in the future, when Hard Drives, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, or Flash drives become really really cheap, I will copy these drives to one of those types of storage, because I know at some point, these 2 HDDs that I have will break on me.

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More about what solution storing hard drives
  1. No one has any suggestions, yet?

    If not, I have decided to put the 2 HDDs in my fireplace for safe keeping, at least until after winter.

    --- if you have a suggestion, please let me hear it! thanks.
  2. Unlike floppy drives....hard drives do not generally fail from lack of use.
    I have some SCSI drives that were stored in a storage closet for over 12 years, and they function now, just as they did. The inside of hard drives will remain clean as long as there are no radical changes in temperature where condensation can form as they are factory sealed.

    To answer your question directly...the fire safe box should be adequate.
  3. Copy the drives now. Ya never know when a gremlin or problem will strike... besides drive failure there are floods and other ugly things that happen. I would use several 320GB as they are especially cost effective versus their size.

    And then keep the backups in a second place..... The simplest for most people is storing the backups at work. Doubtful both places would have a "problem" at the same time.
  4. I would suggest making a second copy of your files onto DVD media. It's fairly inexpensive and the discs aren't susceptible to vibrations, static, moisture, etc. It's best to spread the risk out across multiple mediums.

    I wouldn't trust storing that much of irreplaceable data in a single device. Even if you store it most of the time, maybe it has some defect from the factory that is just waiting to break.

    You also might look into hosted storage for your files.
  5. Fireproof box is a great idea and someone else mentioned storing
    copies in two different places but I'm surprised nobody mentioned
    getting a USB or Firewire enclosure... you mentioned these are
    internal drives, are you planning on opening your case and plugging
    them in each time you want to add to them? If you are really paranoid
    you might want to pack it with a few of those little packs that absorb
  6. USB enclosures would give an added benefit of a little shock absorbtion
    as well - a bare drive should be handled a little more carefully than one
    in a plastic housing.
  7. I have been told and read that now that people are using USB, Firewire and SATA drives for storage that it is best to refresh the drive at least once every few months. Than means, plug it in and let it mount up and run for a few minutes. We have large data storage for HD video on 1.5 TB drives and we cycle them every 30 days (just pop them into a external SATA device) and let them run for a few minutes. We have had drives just sitting for several months and then went to use them and the drive would not mount and the media we thus lost!
  8. I store all photos and video files from previous years on a Western Digital NAS where they will be readily available so long as I am connected to my home network. Photos and video files from the current year are on my main (laptop) computer, but are backed up daily to the NAS along will all my other personal files. No fancy backup software, I just use robocopy.

    Once a year I copy all photo, video, financial, and other personal files to a couple of USB hard drives and take them to a safety deposit box at my bank where they will be secure and in a cool dry environment. I take the USB disks from the previous year out of the safety deposit box when I put in the new ones and take them home for recycling the following year. A couple of times during the year, I try to remember to backup my files to these USB drives to protect against a virus or accident causing loss of the videos that were added to my home network since I last took a backup to the safety deposit box.
  9. I put my hard drives in bubble wrap and store them in some sealed plastic food cases I've found that are almost exactly the right size. I've hidden them in my house so that they're less of a target for burglars. I also have copies on another set of drives that are stored in my safety deposit box.

    To make sure you don't loose your data due to drive failure over the long haul, you NEED to do these two things:

    1) Have at least two copies, one of which is preferably stored offsite. Assuming you choose your offsite location intelligently, this means that your data will survive just about any scenario that you yourself will survive.

    2) Periodically scan both copies. I update the onsite drives and once a month I swap them with the offsite ones. When I bring the drives back from offsite I plug them into the computer and make sure I can read every file without errors (I use a checksumming utility to verify the file checksums so I know if even a single bit has changed). That way I can recover the files from the other drives if necessary before both copies become unreadable.
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