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I'm planning a ride from Texas to Colorado and I really need to take my computer (laptop). Any experience with how a hard drive handles the bumps? The plans it to put it in the computer bag, then in either a pannier or the topbox. I could strap it to my back via backpack, but I'd rather not do that.
 

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Obviously put the computer in a padded sleeve or figure a way to keep it shock proof which isn't hard to do. The only thing is not keeping it in a top case for long because of the heat. I would keep it in a backpack if I were you, then you don't have anything to worry about.
 

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Make sure it's turned completely off, not just sleeping. Hibernating should be fine. If it's a newer laptop with a SSD you really have nothing to worry about.
 

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I'm planning a ride from Texas to Colorado and I really need to take my computer (laptop). Any experience with how a hard drive handles the bumps? The plans it to put it in the computer bag, then in either a pannier or the topbox. I could strap it to my back via backpack, but I'd rather not do that.
When I commuted and/or traveled for business, I always carried my laptop in backpack designed for computers. When traveling on the motorcycle I used a padded case and just put in one of the side cases and packed around it. Always made sure it was actually turned off, as that parks the disk drive heads on HDD. I now use a tablet, but really would like one of the new Surface Pros or Book. Never had an issue with how I carried either the laptop or tablet.


YMMV
 

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I thought new laptops were all solid state hard drives. I know apples are.


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No so. Most tablets use ssd. So do many ultra slim laptops. But SSD is an added expense not usually found on entry to mid price laptops

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I have a Pelican 1495 CC#1 case for my 17" laptop, they make cases for smaller laptops as well




I paid about $125. iirc, I got mine on amazon

I've been contemplating fabricating a quick release bracket to mount as a top case, but in the meantime, I have had it bungeed to my luggage rack for thousands of miles including washboard gravel roads and sub freezing winter frost heaved roads
 

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Hard disks that are designed for laptops are designed for these types of circumstances. Obviously when they're in use, the read/write heads are just micrometers above the spinning platters and any light bump will cause the heads to contact the platters. Which means instant ruin.

Some high-end laptops and/or hard disks have G-sensors that will sense a sudden change in G-forces. Regardless of what the hard disk is doing at that time, they will force the heads to move to the "park" position instantaneously if the thresholds are exceeded. This will save your heads and platters in case of, for instance, a fall.

However, when the hard disk is spun down the heads are "parked" in a safe location away from the platters. In this position, they can easily survive the biggest jolts - even jolts that would destroy the laptop itself, such as dropping the whole laptop on a concrete surface. Which is a lot more than what your laptop is going to endure on the motorcycle thanks to suspension and a padded case/bag.

Hard disks are routinely spun down. In fact laptop hard disks are designed with many tens of thousands of spin down/spin up cycles in mind. If you have not messed around with your power saver settings, a spin down will typically happen:
- When you shutdown, hibernate or sleep your laptop.
- When you close the lid even if this doesn't cause a hibernate or sleep
- When the laptop is not in use for more than 5 or 10 minutes and running on battery power
- When the laptop is not in use for more than 30 minutes and running on AC power.
To be sure, check your Power Saver settings and adjust if required.

Obviously if you have a laptop with SSD you have even less to worry about. SSD is now standard in high-end laptops. Low-end or older laptops can typically be upgraded to SSD and I highly recommend you do so. Your laptop will boot up a lot faster and in general will feel much more responsive especially for disk-intensive operations.
 

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I have a small padded satchel that I bought at Office Depot just for these purposes. The bag fit perfectly in the top case of my BMW R1100RT. I've been all over the southeast on week long trips and the typical road surfaces without doing damage.

Now the same bag works as well in the left OEM sidecase of the DL. Given that it is sharing the space with other stuff I do pack so no hard items are wedged against the laptop bag.

So just shut it down, secure it, and then go. No problem.

:thumbsup:
 

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I'll second what Backpacker has said. Upgrade to an SSD for speed and durability while traveling. There are some very reasonable prices out there and some, like the Samsung SSD's, come with cloning software that makes it really easy to move the complete OS and all your files over to the the new drive. Then you have your original drive at home as a spare if anything happens.
My 3 year old trusty MSI laptop crapped out recently (not from touring with it). It was a 15.6" model and I decided to try a smaller screen Asus 13.3 Zenbook laptop. Great laptop and much lighter/smaller than my old one. It's like an Ultrabook size without the high prices like the Macs etc.
I wasn't sure if I would miss the larger screen or not but this thing is just fine for travel.
 

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I'm often on-call for work and have to carry my laptop because of that. I carry mine in a padded sleeve, in a backpack, in the drivers side pannier vertically. I've done this for many years without any issues. However, the laptop must be turned OFF or in HIBERNATE. Mine is always OFF when traveling on the bike and HIBERNATE in the car. It's a HP Elitebook 15".
 

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I have carried two Toshiba laptops ( 15" ) many times on trips. They are not SSD. I have a padded soft carrying case. Put them in the topcase. Never had a problem.

I also carry a tablet. Like Stalky Tracker, I would like a Surface Pro or any tablet that actually worked well enough to run my business from. Forming invoices, shipping labels, cut and paste work and so on just don't work well on tablets. Even e-mails are not as easy to do. Laptop for hotel room, tablet for while at a rest stop!
 

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Make sure it's turned completely off, not just sleeping. Hibernating should be fine. If it's a newer laptop with a SSD you really have nothing to worry about.
+1.

HDDs shut down and move the heads off the discs when powered down. I've carried my netbook a lot. Just make sure it is in a padded case and can't fly around inside the pannier or top box.
 
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