maunfacturers tend to suggest an operational temperature between 5 and 55 degrees celcius.
"Hard drives have fluid bearings. Any fluid can freeze if it gets cold enough, including the lubricant inside the hard drive. If the hard drive starts to spin up (which happens as you boot your PC), the platters will not turn because the fluid isn't viscous enough to allow the platters to spin at the proper speed. As a ruslt, your computer will either not boot at all with an error at POST or it will boot up and give data access errors once booted."
ive seen users report very poor write speeds at 10 degrees celcius, and much better once the drives were allowed to warm up as well.
Can the temperature get as low as you want without something happening to the drive as long as no condensation forms?
No. Too low a temp affects the lubricants used in the hard drive, just as it affects engine oil. This means that drive operation is affected because the lubricant becomes too "stiff".
However 10C should be okay. Seagate say their hard drives have a minimum operating temperature of 0C. and I expect that applies to most if not all other brands given that they all employ the same basic technology.
interesting! I am new to the whole hardware scene, never knew cold weather could affect HD's... I was actually worried as I got my HD shipped from NewEgg about two weeks ago and was worried that the cold weather could damage it..
I let it sit in room temperature for a few hours and then stuck into the PC, thank god it worked..
Could the cold weather on that day possibly shorten my HD's life span?
This morning I experienced corrupted files on boot with an internal case temperature of 19c. After 25 minutes of Windows 7 recovery failure, it successfully reboots anyway. There was a very short strange clicking noise on the first boot that I suspect was from the harddrive. The harddrive is about 4 years old. Maybe the fluid and other moving parts in an older drive are affected more by colder temperatures. Letting the drive warm up a little before it boots might help avoid corrupted files in colder temperatures.