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Will airport x-ray machines damage an external hard drive?
August 28, 2007 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Do airport x-ray machines damage external hard drives?

I'll be traveling tomorrow with two external hard drives. I'll be taking them carry-on, so that they don't get all banged up. Should I just leave them in my bag and let them go through the x-ray machine? Or should I, like, take them out and hand them to the guy or something?
posted by Afroblanco to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
 
They'll be fine. The X-rays don't affect the magnetic alignment of the hard drive platters.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 PM on August 28, 2007


To make you feel better...take notice of all the laptops being removed from their bags then placed in tubs to go through the machine. Generally, the plastic on the laptop case protecting the hard drive is much more thin and flimsy than that of an external hard drive. Laptops have no problems with x rays.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 PM on August 28, 2007


To echo the reassurance, I travel with a laptop (sometimes two) and one or two external hard drives on a weekly basis and none of them have been damaged at all.

And burhanistan is correct, the x-ray machines don't affect the hard drives.
posted by bedhead at 10:10 PM on August 28, 2007


No, they'll be fine. Travel with my laptop and a 250GB drive containing my life, and so far all ok.
posted by djgh at 10:11 PM on August 28, 2007


Just leave the drive in your bag and don't worry about it. My portable hard drive was x-rayed three times last time I flew, and it still works like a charm.
posted by benign at 10:14 PM on August 28, 2007


The x-rays aren't an issue, but impact shock can be.

I once hit an asshole security screener who slammed the drives down onto the steel table, and then threatened me when I asked him to be gentle with them.

So just leave them in the bag - don't mention them or bring attention to them, they're safer that way. (Even if they want to inspect an item in the bag, they'll have you take it out)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2007


Thanks for the advice, all. My hard drives made the journey just fine.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:17 PM on September 2, 2007


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