Re: Refreshing data on a hard drive (to prevent it from "evaporating" over time)
Where did you read this? Got a link?
While that is true of magnetic tape and floppy disks, it takes many years (even decades) for that to happen. Tape is more vulnerable because it is layered when rolled up on the reel so the magnetically charged particles in the adjacent layers can affect each other over time. Floppies are stacked too and both tape and floppies use lubricants and other chemicals and compounds in their coatings and substrates to keep them flexible, slippery and to prevent them from turning brittle. Those chemicals and lubricants break down over time.
Hard disks don't have the chemicals and lubricants and the platters are inside shielded housings so they would take much, much longer. It is much more likely the motors and mechanical/moving parts would seize, or an electronic component in the drive would fail before the magnetically charged particles lose their orientation (which is what happens - they don't "evaporate"). It is also more likely the interfaces would become obsolete first. For example, soon all motherboards will have only SATA drive connections. IDE will be obsolete so even if you have a stack of perfectly good IDE drives, you would have to dig up an antique motherboard with IDE controllers, or suitable adapter (and IDE cables that were still good) to access them.
Reading (or scanning) does just that - it reads the data (senses the particle alignment). Only writing the data aligns particles. So to refresh a disk in the manner you speak of, each byte of data would have to be re-written to the disk (or copied from one disk to another) and I personally think that may have a greater risk of data corruption.
If you want to preserve your data forever, you can't! At least you can't by keeping it in its present form. You will always have to migrate from the legacy, soon to be obsolete, storage media to the next generation storage technologies.
So if you have a bunch of data on old IDE drives, you better be transfering them to SATA drives now. Then in 5 or 10 years before SATA becomes history and the new technology is starting to take over, you will have to transfer it again.
Or you can transfer all your data to "cloud" storage on the Internet. But of course regardless the storage technology used, your data will be worthless if there is no current software to read it. For example, will Word 2030 be able to open your Word 2010 documents? I don't know.
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