Shelf life of Used Hard drives?


May 19, 2012
I have two hard drives of WD 1TB(internal) mainly used for backups but now they are full with data and I intend to keep them safely at some nice dust-free place as I won't need to access them for sometime(few months to 1-2 years max).

So I want to know can hard drives go bad just by sitting idle for few years,anyone has any experience of UNUSED hard drive going bad OR not going bad even after many years.

Because if there is even a little chance of them going bad this way then I may plan to access them regularly after some interval.

^ Concur
Had some old HDDs that had been stored for just over 4 years. They worked, and are currently in use. Only two intial problems (see below).
NOTE: these were Enterprise Drives, higher end than normal consummer drives.

With long term storage there are only a few problems.
A) Bearings can creat a problem, For the drives I had stored, I had to give them a "gentle hit with my knuckles" to get them to spin up - LOL. BUT as stated these drives were stored for 4 Years!! (in use for 4 years pior to storage).
B) The magnetic domains that store the "Bits" are affected by adjacent domains and can become corrupted, This would be longer than the "2 years you referenced, Only one of three drives had this problem. Easily prevented by backing up to a 2nd drive and then restoring say every two/three years.
C) There is always a possibility of an electrolytic cap "drying out", simple solution is once every 6 months to a Year, just power up for 5 miutes.