Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage? Answered!

Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage? |

SSDs have replaced HDDs for productivity and gaming thanks to their next-generation features.

Modern users have shifted to SSDs, paving the way for many advantages. With this revolutionary drive in the world of data computing and storage, the accessibility of data and information leapfrogged the inconvenience of lengthy loading into instant processing and multitasking.

Besides being used as primary storage for computers, SSDs are also considered by many for long-term storage purposes. This article will review the pros and cons of external SSDs and whether it’s a good choice for storing and preserving data for a long time.

Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage?

Yes, external SSDs are proven to be the best storage devices for long-term storage. It is because they offer reliable data integrity and error connection, ensuring your files won’t be lost or altered while stored. They are also equipped with encryption and security features to protect your data.

SSDs are also portable and lightweight, making them easier to carry. They also have lower latency and access times compared to traditional HDDs. They resist magnetism and EMI and operate silently with less noise and moving parts making them more efficient and ideal for work and storage.

  • Data Integrity and Error Correction
    The first advantage of SSDs is that they have NAND flash memory, which ensures the integrity of your files and avoids file corruption and errors. Employing Correction codes (ECC) detects file errors and repairs them, ensuring the consistency of files and maintaining what is original.
    With this feature available on SSDs, the chances of data corruption and loss are significantly reduced, making SSDs a reliable choice for long-term storage. You would be less worried about spending money and time to retrieve files that could have been damaged or lost otherwise.
  • Encryption and Security Features
    External SSDs also provide intense security features to prevent data from falling victim to hackers, unauthorized access, and system breaches. This includes hardware-based encryption and password protection. These security measures add an extra layer of protection to stored data.
  • Lower Latency and Access Times
    SSDs offer much lower latency, faster access times, and quicker access than traditional HDDs. This is due to the different architecture of the SSDs and the presence of NAND flash memory that outplays the fair and slow performance of devices with HDDs.
    As a result, external SSDs can respond much faster, reducing the time needed to access stored information. This ensures efficient and fast data retrieval and writing for long-term storage, leading to an improved, faster, and more convenient user experience.
  • Lightweight and Energy-Efficient
    Unlike HDDs, SSDs have few mechanisms and no moving parts; therefore, they are lightweight and easy to carry. Because of their architecture, they also consume less energy when operating, which is very efficient in prolonging functioning times with battery-operated devices like laptops and tablets.
  • Resistance to Magnetism and EMI
    SSDs don’t have spinning parts or disks like HDDs, which is why they’re not susceptible to the resistance of magnetism. Rather, SSDs use non-volatile memory cells unaffected by magnets or magnetic fields, making their data safe from disruptions and loss.
  • Better Shock and Temperature Tolerance
    SSDs have higher shock tolerance levels compared to HDDs. This means they can withstand physical shocks and vibrations better. Because of this, SSDs can better tolerate environments where rough handling and heat might be a concern, like bags in the absence of cases.
  • Less Prone to File Fragmentation
    Fragmentation occurs when files are split into smaller fragments and scattered across the drive, leading to slower read/write performance in HDDs. Thanks to SSDs’ not having physical read/write heads, this is not a concern, which means you get consistent performance over time.
  • No Noise or Vibration
    SDDs are silent and motionless owing to their structure. SDDs are free from vibrations and sounds, making them appropriate for an environment that needs quiet, such as a recording studio or office. No noise and vibration contribute to a quieter and more stable storage environment.
    Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage? Answered! |

How to Store an SSD for Long-Term Storage

To store an SSD long-term, back up data, choose a dry, cool location, and use an anti-static bag for protection. Shield the SSD from physical impact with cushioning, label the container, and ensure proper insulation. Prevent data loss by periodically powering up the SSD and inspecting for damage.

Avoid stacking SSDs, use moisture-absorbing packets, and keep records of storage and checks. Maintain a well-ventilated space, and avoid extreme temperatures and magnetic fields. Prioritize careful handling and periodic maintenance to ensure data integrity and prolong the SSD’s lifespan during storage.

  • Backup Your Data
    Before storing the SSD, back up all the crucial data you have on it. This ensures that your important files are safe even if something goes wrong during transfer and storage, and you have a backup option. You can use other drives or online cloud-based storage for backup.

Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage? Answered! |

  • Choose a Suitable Storage Location
    Keep your SSD in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated location. Avoid areas prone to humidity, direct sunlight, extreme temperature fluctuations, and exposure to magnetic fields or electromagnetic interference. Ensure you also keep it away from drops, hazards, and don’t stack or put anything above them.
  • Use an Anti-Static Bag
    If you have an anti-static bag that the SSD came in, or if you can obtain one, place it inside. An anti-static bag helps prevent electrostatic discharge, which could potentially damage the SSD’s components. They are cheap but can protect your precious SSD.
  • Keep it Moisture-Free
    If there’s one thing that electronics and gadgets hate, it’s moisture. Moisture can lead to corrosion and damage to the SSD. So, consider adding a moisture-absorbing packet or desiccant to the storage container or bag to prevent moisture buildup and keep your SSD dry and safe.
  • Cushioning and Protection
    This is why you should never throw away the original packaging of your SSD since you can use it for keeping your SSD. Use cushioning materials like bubble wrap or foam padding to protect the SSD from physical shocks or impacts. The goal is to prevent any shock or movement that could harm the drive.
  • Avoid Long Periods of Inactivity
    SSDs are fast and secure storage devices that can malfunction if left inactive for a long time. Periodically power up the SSD and connect it to a computer (even if it’s just for a short time) to ensure the stored data remains intact. This helps in preventing data loss due to charge leakage.
  • Regular Checkup and Compatibility
    Keep in mind that technology evolves, and interfaces might change over time. To ensure future compatibility, keep track of any necessary adapters or cables to connect the SSD to newer devices. Also, inspect the SSD for any signs of damage, corrosion, or degradation.

How to Use an Old SSD as External Storage

You can convert your old SSD to an external storage device using an external SSD adapter. Make sure that the adapter you buy is compatible with your SSDs interface. Back up your data to ensure the integrity of important files. Follow the directions from the manufacturer to install and set up your SSD.

  • Check Compatibility
    First, you have to ensure your previous SSD is functional and check the SSD’s form factors and interface to avoid compatibility issues. SSDs often have SATA, PCIe, or mSATA connections. If your SSD has a different interface, you’ll need a suitable outside enclosure or adaptor.
    Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage? Answered! |
  • Backup Your Data
    Before proceeding to any of the following steps, make sure that you back up any important files and data from the old SSD using any form of secure storage you have. You can use another hard drive, SSD, or online cloud storage like Google Drive or iCloud.
  • Get an Adapter or External Enclosure
    Purchase an external SSD enclosure or adapter compatible with the interface if your previous SSD has a regular SATA or mSATA connection.  These are available cheaply on Amazon. Ensure it supports the same connection as your computer or device, such as USB 3.0, USB-C, or Thunderbolt.
  • Install the SSD in the Enclosure or Adapter
    Now it’s time to install the SSD to its adapter. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer while carefully inserting the SSD into the adapter. Close the enclosure if necessary, lock it in place, and check that all connections are properly positioned. 
  • Format and Setup Your SSD
    Plug your device into a PC and check if the external SSD is recognized. If it’s not automatically detected, you may need to format the SSD to a compatible file system (e.g., NTFS, exFAT, APFS) for your operating system. After that, you can now use your DIY external SSD.

Downsides of External SSDs in Long-Term Storage

SSDs also have downsides, such as limited read and write cycles that limit the lifespan of these storage devices. SSDs also have a higher cost per GB, making them more expensive than HDDS. They also need power cycling and data refreshing to avoid data leakage.

  • Limited Write Cycles
    SSDs have a finite or limited number of write cycles, meaning data can only be written to and erased from the drive a limited number of times. While modern SSDs have significantly improved in this regard, it’s still worth considering for long-term archival purposes
  • Higher Cost than HDD
    SSDs are significantly more costly than HDDs when calculated as a cost per GB of storage. Because of SSDs’ outstanding speed and exceptional performance, an SSD’s cost is almost double that of an HDD. So if you are on a tight budget, you have to consider its price.
  • Needs Power and Data Refreshing
    SSDs are designed to work constantly. That’s why they were equipped with faster read and write times and designed how they are. Long-term storage can mean keeping the device stagnant for extended periods. For example, an SSD might be kept for years in a drawer or cabinet without being used.
    SSDs can store data for a long time, but they might not be as resilient as HDDs when it comes to retaining data over several years. That’s why periodic power cycling and data refreshing is needed to ensure data integrity. Plug your SSD into a computer and review your files at least twice a year.Are External SSDs Good for Long-Term Storage? Answered! |


External SSDs excel in long-term storage with benefits such as robust data integrity and error correction. They offer enhanced security features, lower latency, and swift access times. SSDs are lightweight, energy-efficient, and resilient to magnetism, EMI, shocks, and temperature variations. 

Their resistance to file fragmentation and noiseless operation make them well-suited for extended storage in various environments. There are some downsides, like limited read/write cycles, higher costs, and the need for power cycling, but the pros outweigh the cons.

For extended SSD storage, back up data, opt for a cool, dry place, and use an anti-static bag for protection. Shield from impact with cushioning, label the container and ensure proper insulation. Prevent data loss by periodic powering and regular inspections.

Avoid stacking SSDs, use moisture-absorbing packets, and maintain ventilation to keep the SSD in tip-top shape. Keep records, handle with care, and prioritize periodic maintenance for data integrity. After all, proper storage preserves the SSD and your data’s lifespan.

Transforming an old SSD into external storage can extend its life. Confirm functionality and compatibility, considering SATA, PCIe, or mSATA interfaces. Safeguard data by backing up files, then acquire a suitable adapter or enclosure matching the interface. 

Securely install the SSD, following manufacturer guidelines, and confirm the connections. Upon attaching the SSD externally, format it if necessary, ensuring compatibility with your system’s file system. This process enables repurposing the SSD into a DIY external storage.

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