How to Protect Hard Drives Against Cold Weather Hazards

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Prevention is simply a matter of patience. An outfit like DriveSavers systematically takes temperature readings in a clean room whenever a drive comes in. A drive isn't fired up until it is measured at ambient temperature.

But in a home or office environment, you have to wing it. If you have no idea where that drive has been -- say, a new shipment of hard drives just arrived and you are eager to install them -- Bross thinks it would be wise to wait overnight before spinning the drives or turning on the computer if the drive is already installed. In fact, hard drives that are installed in computers are harder to judge, since the machine offers some insulation for the drive. This means the drive might take longer to get very cold. It would also take longer to return to room temperature. At the very least, you should use caution. If your laptop is cold to the touch, wait for it to warm up before you start it up.

I asked the team in Antarctica if they had advice for handling electronic gear. What not to do? Lessons learned? They are pretty busy underwater -- where there is no Internet access -- but I heard from diver Henry Kaiser, who offered the photo (above) on what not to do with a camera.

"One of the tenders dropped a camera into the dive hole," he says. "I saw it falling through the water column. So we took some pix of it, down at 70 feet." It's a sure bet that land camera won't turn on now.

He also offered a wise suggestion. "Don't lick the antenna." Good advice -- apparently he saw "A Christmas Story," too.

(Note: Links in this piece are provided for your entertainment, but some have audio and video. Enjoy.)

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This story, "How to protect hard drives against cold weather hazards," was originally published at Read more of Christina Tynan-Wood's Gripe Line blog at

This story, "How to Protect Hard Drives Against Cold Weather Hazards" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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