One collects a lot of data over time, and everything has to be stored somewhere. Until now I've solved this by getting more harddrives, but I am pondering a somewhat long-term solution to this problem.
Would it be possible to take an harddrive, fill it up with loads of dara one seldom uses and put it "in storage"? That is, the harddrive is placed entirely free and disconnected for long periods of time, when I would need something from one I'd just connect it and fetch whatever I need.
Is this possible if the harddrives are stored "properly"? Are there any risks with this solution, and how could I minimize them?
Hard disk drives store data as weak magnetic fields on a platter, and over long periods of time can become weaker, more random, and possibly not readable. Also there are two bearings with lubrication that could change properties, not necessarily from wear, just passage of time. Even in a dry, stable temperature condition, they are not a permanent solution. The warranty issued by the HDD companies of 2 - 5 years speaks to how long they consider their mechanica devices to actively last. Some will last a lot longer, some shorter.
Probably the most "permanent" method to store electronic data is on a CD-R or DVD-R (not RW) Phthalocyanine based media. They can last 100 years.
At present all data storage needs to be refreshed periodically, and importantly to make sure you have a way to read the "old" media years down the road.