Roast Beef in the Computer

With the exception of the occasional toddler feeding a computer some cold cereal and milk, most of us wouldn\’t think of using our beloved computer for storing cold cuts, nightly leftovers, or roast beef. However many customers of mine seem to use their computer as a refrigerator none the less. Ok so I really haven\’t found a roast beef in a computer yet, however potentially as bad is the use of magnets on the outside of the computer case.

The use of magnets on your case can be a potential danger to your computer. Though most magnets are thin backing of a business card or an attention grabbing shaped advertisement of your local plumber, computer repair shop, or a snazzy magnetic calendar, and most likely won\’t be strong enough to reach your hard drive, it is a potential that I would rather you avoid. I see many of these magnets positioned directly adjacent to where the hard drive is located behind the side panel of the case. Any use of these and especially regular button or square magnets to hold up little Sally\’s finger painting is a big no no.

See, the hard drive is a magnetically susceptible device that uses magnetic tracks to find its way around and uses magnetic 1s and 0s that represent your pictures, songs, documents, and business accounting files. A magnetic device called a degausser (D gaw sir) can be used by some companies and agencies to attempt to destroy a hard drives ability to be used. As can be seen from this degausser manufacturers web page excerpt (DATA DEVICES INTERNATIONAL):

"The HD-1 Professional Degausser is specifically designed to erase higher coercivity media, such as hard drives and DLT tape cartridges. The machine effectively erases all metal particle formats, including Beta SP, Beta SX, Digital BetaCam, D1- D5, Travan, and all 4mm and 8mm data cartridges. Please note that hard disk drives cannot be reused after they are degaussed, as the degaussing operation erases the servo tracks written on the drive at the factory."

This is why having a magnet too close to a hard drive may cause it to act erratically on a mild level or cause it to fail entirely. This is true of any type of magnet or magnetic field. What field you ask?

Well, for those of you who have never seen the (shake rattle and roll) affect of a cell phone on your speakers, a television, or the old bulky computer monitors when it rings, just take my word for it. Having any type of phone on or directly near you computer can expose it to a highly charged pulsating magnetic field. That means the next call you get might be from your hard drive telling you to "take this job and"….well you get the drift.

The old CRT monitors (the big bulky ones that look like small TVs) also emit magnetic fields. Modern emission standards have reduced these to a typical 30cm distance, but if you haven\’t made your New Years Resolution to get thinner with a thin screen, then there is a potential for negative affects from setting the CPU (box) next to the monitor. If you look close, you\’ll notice most computer desks and hutches are designed to use most of the 4 foot cord on the monitor, with the CPU near the floor and the monitor on the desktop.

So its ok to use energy waves to cook your roast beef, and its ok to use magnets on the refrigerator, but let\’s not cook the hard drive with magnets on or near your computer. Use tape instead for little Sally\’s pictures. Hmm, tape that gives me an idea for our next article….stick around…you may get a shock (grin)