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Windows 7: Storing external hard drive in a safe

16 Oct 2011   #1
TheArchitect77

Windows Professional 64-bit
 
 
Storing external hard drive in a safe

I'm planning to buy an external hard drive to back up some of my files. I have also considered some good measures on keeping my back in a good location. I have seen that a lot of stores carry safes for the storage of what ever is important. Is it okay to store an external hard drive along with other digital media in a safe? Will the external drive wear down with it being in such an enclosed place?


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16 Oct 2011   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I suspect a safe would be as good a choice as any to store a drive in assuming the temperature was acceptable.

But--I think you should try to keep at least one set of backups at a completely different location than your PC if possible.

The safe might prevent a theft, but it won't protect you from fire, flood, etc.

And if the safe is small enough to be stolen, it's useless anyway.
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17 Oct 2011   #3
pincushion

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
I suspect a safe would be as good a choice as any to store a drive in assuming the temperature was acceptable.

But--I think you should try to keep at least one set of backups at a completely different location than your PC if possible.

The safe might prevent a theft, but it won't protect you from fire, flood, etc.

And if the safe is small enough to be stolen, it's useless anyway.
You can get safes that do this - for a limited time period at least - and some can be fixed in place. I use a portable one for my backups but that I know is vulnerable to theft. At least I have the option of taking it with me if necessary.
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17 Oct 2011   #4
Corazon

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

The question is: Do you want to protect the drive or do you want to prevent the data on it from being stolen?

If you don't care about the physical drive being stolen then encryption might be a better answer.

TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X and Linux
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17 Oct 2011   #5
SledgeDG

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 

The only way an external drive wears down while not in use is excessive heat, moisture or strong magnetic fields.
I store all backups for the whole company in a safe on site. (plus one set off site). We do that for now over 15 years without the slightest problem. (Granted that's a safe you couldn't even move with a fork lift I personally don't trust encryption since I'm not convinced that the backup would be usable in each and every odd situation (say your hardware totally changes because the building burned down, or for some reason a bit on the HDD flipped in a critical area etc.) That data is vital for the existence of the company and I'm not willing to take any chances.
For less important stuff it'll be fine to have one set stored away and perhaps another set in grandma's dresser
-DG
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17 Oct 2011   #6
TheArchitect77

Windows Professional 64-bit
 
 

Nice, I appreciate the feedback from all of you. I do realize they sell fire proof safes at reasonable prices. I know portable safes can also be stolen more easier, but I plan on storing it in a safe location and probably embed it in a fixed spot.
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17 Oct 2011   #7
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

For me, I prefer to keep the data off site. I keep 2 external hard drives and I always have at least 1 that is offsite. A fire rated safe is better than not having one, but you have to be aware that they are only fireproof for a limited amount of time. For example,

Quote:
This First Alert 2.13 cubic foot fire safe is UL classified for 1 hour to withstand an external temperature of 1700 degrees Fahrenheit while maintaining an internal temperature of less than 350 degrees. The safe has been tested by an independent testing lab and verified to protect digital media including memory sticks, CD’s, DVD’s and external hard drives.
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17 Oct 2011   #8
Overtkill

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Get a good fire rated safe. There are also ways to prevent theft as many safes have options like being able to bolt them to the floor from the inside. Especially to something substantial like a concrete floor in a secure location that isn't the wiring closet. Do your best to secure this area and disguise the safe in a cabinet or something.

A good backup plan as so many of these folks have pointed out is critical if you really value your data. the 3-2-1 rule for example.. 3 copies of your data, on 2 different types of media, with 1 existing in an offsite location. A very effective and very simple method.

Thanks for reading...

-Overt.
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17 Oct 2011   #9
Corazon

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SledgeDG View Post
I personally don't trust encryption since I'm not convinced that the backup would be usable in each and every odd situation (say your hardware totally changes because the building burned down, or for some reason a bit on the HDD flipped in a critical area etc.) That data is vital for the existence of the company and I'm not willing to take any chances.
You're entitled to your opinion of course and it's probably wise since you're responsible for an entire company's data - but I do trust it completely and feel that I have no need to worry about the risk of corruption. Each 16-byte block of data is individually encrypted, so even if one bit should flip, it only affects a fraction of a sector on the disk. If a bit flips on an unencrypted sector, it'll throw a checksum error, and that happens practically never...
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17 Oct 2011   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

In theory a metal safe should act as a Faraday cage protecting your HDD from external electromagnetic waves. Probably good for really long term storage.
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