As your hard drives may store some important data it is an imperative to make sure to operate them in an appropriate, temperature-controlled environment. By understanding the potential dangers associated with cold weather, you can prevent data loss. In order to accomplish that keep the following tips in mind.
Back Up All Important Data
For any computer user having data properly backed up is crucial. However, in the scope of this article this is more of a general tip for keeping your data safe during any season. Use online backup software to protect your personal data. Keep at least three to five copies of all important data and check your backups regularly.
Ground Yourself Before Touching Hard Drives
Humidity levels are typically low during the first few months of a year, and low humidity levels mean a high chance of electrostatic discharge. If you touch a hard drive without grounding yourself, you can permanently damage its electronics. Before opening a computer or removing any components, touch a metal component of the PC besides the power supply. Disconnect the power supply before working on the PC. You should never work on a PC in a carpeted area for this reason.
Hard Drives Need to Operate at Room Temperature
Hard drive’s platters spin at high speeds and use extremely location-specific read/write heads to access data. The temperature fluctuations can cause a hard drive’s components to expand and contract, causing data issues. If you leave your computers running constantly you may not need to worry about room temperature since the heat of operation will maintain an acceptable approximation of it. However, if you cannot easily control the temperature of a larger room, consider placing small heaters in the room. You should never point heating units directly at computers or servers!
Allow Hard Drives to Adjust to New Environments
If you leave your laptop in the car overnight or you leave a number of computers in a cold, unheated room for several hours, you should allow your devices to sit in the warm air for at least an hour before you power them up. This decreases the risk of heat-related data loss issues substantially. Never operate a hard drive that is cold to the touch.