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Thread: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

  1. #1
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    Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    My laptop and I have been through international departures security a dozen times in the past twelve months, and the laptop has to get unpacked everytime we go through the X-rays as a matter of modern-day protocol.

    Next week, for the first time, I'm also planning to board a plane with an additional two WD Passport 500Gb external drives which house all my data since 1981, (I am using identical twins in case one breaks down).

    I might be worried about nothing, but considering that everytime I go through departures' security they instruct me to take out the laptop separately, could it be that the X-ray system might have a detrimental effect on magnetic storage media, ie. HDDs?

    If so, should I leave my twin external HDDs in the laptop bag along with all the other peripherals, or should I take them out and pass them through the scanners along with the laptop itself?

    As mentioned, I might be worried about nothing, and just asking whether any other jetsetters around here might have had any positive or negative outcomes regarding data on external HDDs passing through the airport security scanners.

    Thanks in advance if the reader is able to cotton onto this query.
    The code is free but the data is priceless.

  2. #2
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    http://ask.metafilter.com/70343/Will...nal-hard-drive

    according to their experiences, no.

  3. #3
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    Perfectly safe. Thousands of laptops go through x-ray scanners every day without issue. I myself have had laptops & HDDs that went through the X-ray scanners.

  4. #4
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    I'd imagine that if airport X-ray scanners really had negative effects on hard drives, then TSA (or non-American equivalents) would have already implemented separate scanning systems for computers and other electronics.

    But to really answer your question, no. X-rays do not affect hard drives any more than ordinary visible light does.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    Thank you all three very much. I am relieved of a worry that I was uncertain about, but trust that it will be no problem to pass through the security with these extra HDDs. I'll pack them with the peripherals and try to find more likely possibilities of data storage hazards to worry about in future.
    The code is free but the data is priceless.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    X-Rays are very, very high frequency. As such, they tend to just zip straight through things without affecting them much (which is what makes them useful). You're not going to get any induction taking place within the hard drive.

  7. #7
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    It can read your Educational Videos

  8. #8
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    Quote Originally Posted by juancarlospaco View Post
    It can read your Educational Videos
    If I wasn't using my real name on this forum, I might have replied that that's no worries because all the Educational Tutorials stay nice and snug on a thumb-drive in my pocket, but seeing I'm not here under a pseudonym, and heading through customs next week, it might be best if I don't mention it, eh?
    The code is free but the data is priceless.

  9. #9
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    Do you have other backups of the drives? I would be more worried about the airline losing the bag...
    The glass is at 50% of its capacity.


  10. #10
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    Re: Can Airport Security X-Rays Effect Hard Disk Drives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Moran View Post
    everytime I go through departures' security they instruct me to take out the laptop separately, could it be that the X-ray system might have a detrimental effect on magnetic storage media, ie. HDDs?
    BTW, the real reason they do this is so that they can get a clear picture. All the gubbins inside a laptop makes it an excellent place to conceal a bomb. Frankfurt(IIRC) was actually notorious for having a "stop and boot up" rule to prove that it's a real computer.

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