The Student Room Group

Will my hard drive data continue to be safe if I leave it?

I've had a 2TB external hard drive for a long time that I have used to store older files when my computer has gotten full. Unfortunately though, I never backed it up so I don't have second copies of anything on there.

This proved particularly problematic when, a few months ago, I tried to access my hard drive but all it did was make a constant clicking noise and my laptop wouldn't respond to it. I tried it again another time and the exact same scenario. I've now come to realise that this means that the hard drive is effectively kaput and I've stopped trying to turn it on and have just left it alone.

The only way to get those files back will be to send it away for specialist data recovery. However, this is expensive and can potentially rack up hundreds of pounds. Right now, this is not money that I can really afford to spend on something like this. None of the files on the hard drive are especially important, but I'd nevertheless like to have them back at some point.

This happened back in November so it's been left untouched for nearly five months now. So, if I were to just leave it alone for a while more, a few more months, even a few years potentially, would this be OK? Seeing as the device isn't working properly anymore, would leaving the files on there for a long period of time cause the data to degrade and eventually be unrecoverable, or would it all still be fine? And if not, how much longer can I afford to leave it? Thanks!
Reply 1
Unlike SSDs, a hard drive should be fine. Just don't move it around too much, and keep it safe and dry :smile:
do you have access to a computer that might be able to connect with your hard drive?
Reply 3
Yes, absolutely. The best thing you can do for your hard drive is to put it into an anti-static bag. I'm sure you have one; any electronic device you buy comes in such bags.

As you can see, you've learned an expensive lesson about backing up your data. You can perform local or cloud backups, but as long as you have two copies of the same data, you should be good to go. For more information, you can visit

Remember, backing up your data a day keeps data loss away :smile:
(edited 7 months ago)

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