Putting a hard drive underground?

tech4all

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 13, 2004
3,400
489
NorCal
I know this seems like a crazy idea but hear me out.

While I have a Time Machine back up hard drive, I'd like to have an 'off-site' back up hard drive. So I was thinking of getting an external HD putting is some sort of durable case (thinking a Pelican case), put it underground in my yard. This way my data is safe in the event of a fire or burglary. It would be updated once a month or so.

A problem though: condensation. Would a Pelican case (which would probably be put into a box or something itself) seal out moisture? Would getting those silica gel packs and putting them in the case help?

I know there's "cloud" solutions, but I'm still curious about this idea. Any insights?
 

tech4all

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 13, 2004
3,400
489
NorCal
That's another idea, thanks. Not sure how much they would cost at my local bank.

I just want to know if it's possible to do this. I know it seems crazy, but if I can get it to work without damaging the hard drive with moisture (or anything else I haven't thought about) it might be worth a try.

Thanks again for the suggestion! :)
 

eternlgladiator

macrumors 68000
Jun 20, 2010
1,761
100
Twin Cities
Safe deposit box is the best bet. My huge one used to cost around 30 per year. A smaller one that would fit a hard drive should be around 10-15. Don't bury it. Even if it survives what if you can't find it again. Not a good idea.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,217
1,606
You only need a ziplock bag and a silica gel bag to keep it dry and a suitable box
 

tech4all

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 13, 2004
3,400
489
NorCal
Is it too much data/inefficient to store on the cloud?
Currently have about 500GB of data.

Safe deposit box is the best bet. My huge one used to cost around 30 per year. A smaller one that would fit a hard drive should be around 10-15. Don't bury it. Even if it survives what if you can't find it again. Not a good idea.
I already know where I would bury it. It's not a huge area. I don't finding it would be problem.

Might consider a safe deposit box though.

You only need a ziplock bag and a silica gel bag to keep it dry and a suitable box
So having a box of some sort with a Pelican case in that (so the Pelican case wouldn't get too dirty), and putting the HD with plastic around it with silica gel in the Pelican case could work.

I think a pelican box/military ammo box and some silica gel would be perfectly fine. But if I was you I'd go with a relative's place.
Yea I could even try my Grandmothers house. Well at least I have some other ideas now. Underground, safe deposit box (which I didn't even think about), and relatives house.


Thanks everyone for your replies. I know it seems crazy, but I'm just curious as this point on how to do it. Thanks for the suggestions! :)
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,660
2,808
Perth, Western Australia
Is it too much data/inefficient to store on the cloud?
Yes, in addition to the issues of ownership/privacy.

Put all your stuff in the cloud, you're open to the whim (or legal obligations) of the company hosting it. Just look what happened to megaupload.

Heaps of people were storing legal content there, and now it is unavailable.
 

thatoneguy82

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,895
2
Beach Cities, CA
Unless you have military secrets you need to bury, stop now and take a deep breath.
Haha. My thoughts exactly.

If secrecy is needed, you can always hide it in plain sight. Hollow out a big enough book and put it in there. Open up a BD/DVD player and put it in there. Find or create a loose small panel in your house. Many more.

I think it's easier and maybe better to hide things in plain sight since most people wouldn't think to look at those areas if they actually were looking for something.

Maybe I watch too many movies...
 

R94N

macrumors 68020
May 30, 2010
2,097
1
UK
Sounds like an interesting idea but I would be worried about forgetting where I left it. There's a lot of 'what ifs'.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,873
32,198
Boston
I think there's too much that can go wrong with storing the hard drive in the ground.

Just look at all those "sealed" time capsules people have been doing. They dig them up years later and most of the stuff put in them showed signs of significant water damage.

Its safer, better to take the drive off site. I take mine to my office. There's family, safety deposit box, friends house, etc.
 

MasterHowl

macrumors 65816
Oct 3, 2010
1,017
18
North of England
That's such a good idea... I'm paranoid about a fire destroying all my data (and killing my cats), or my backup drive getting stolen/breaking.

It'd be good to get a Time Capsule and burry it in the garden (as well a power supply)...
 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,278
45
HR 9038 A
Okay, so you bury your hard drive. Agents are after you and you know they're waiting at your house but you need to get the drive. You can sneak into the backyard and try to dig it up real quick but there's too much risk.

Instead, you walk into a bank like a boss and get it from your safety deposit box. Before you know it you're on a plane to Puerto Rico while agents with metal detectors scour your backyard...finding nothing.
 

steviem

macrumors 68020
May 26, 2006
2,218
3
New York, Baby!
That's such a good idea... I'm paranoid about a fire destroying all my data (and killing my cats), or my backup drive getting stolen/breaking.

It'd be good to get a Time Capsule and burry it in the garden (as well a power supply)...
Do you keep a backup of your cats?
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
3,435
Twin Cities Minnesota
I agree with many others. While it is nice to have land to bury things in, the possibility of damage is high.

Encrypt and store at a friends, or relatives house, a save place at work, or possibly even an unused car.
 

tech4all

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 13, 2004
3,400
489
NorCal
Okay, so you bury your hard drive. Agents are after you and you know they're waiting at your house but you need to get the drive. You can sneak into the backyard and try to dig it up real quick but there's too much risk.

Instead, you walk into a bank like a boss and get it from your safety deposit box. Before you know it you're on a plane to Puerto Rico while agents with metal detectors scour your backyard...finding nothing.
LOL :D

Guess this wasn't such a good idea after all.

I really do appreciate everyone's feedback and will reconsider my options if I decide to add an off-site back up HD.
 

bgd

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2005
237
11
SG
I think you should try this, I for one am interested to hear the results.

Put something that you don't mind damaging in the case to test the theory. I've seen pelican cases dropped, driven over and submerged. Lets see what happens when you put one underground.

:):)
 

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