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Packaging and Shipping Tips
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Tips for Safely Packaging and Shipping Your Media

While most shipping companies take precautions to prevent digital storage devices from taking damage in transit, you should always pack your shipment carefully to ensure that your case arrives in the best possible condition. This is particularly important if you need to recover information from a device that has sustained physical damage.

Secure Data Recovery Services offers the following tips to keep your media safe during shipping:

1. Pack your device tightly with high-quality materials. We generally recommend wrapping sensitive media tightly with several inches of bubble wrap. Tape the bubble wrap on all sides. Never use styrofoam packing peanuts, as they do not provide complete protection.

Pack tight

Proper packing materials will prevent your device from moving in its packaging during shipment.

2. Use electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection where applicable.

Hard drives have exposed printed circuit boards (PCB), and they require protection against static discharge. You can find anti-static bags at most electronic stores and some shipping offices.

Protect against ESD.

Any device with an exposed circuit board should receive protection from electrostatic discharge.

3. Choose an appropriate shipping container. You should not use padded envelopes, cartons or any other container that could break apart during shipping. We recommend a cardboard or plastic box. Make sure that the container is properly sealed on all sides before shipping it.

Use a sturdy cardboard box

Choose an appropriately sized box that will not allow your media to move during transit.

4. Get a tracking number for your shipment. This will allow you to get information about unexpected delivery delays. Shipping insurance is often worthwhile for devices with a high material value, but shipping insurance usually will not cover the costs that result from lost data.

Tracking numbers help to protect your media in an emergency.

Check with your delivery when buying shipping insurance.

5. Clearly mark your package. Put your case number on several sides of your box. Do not list the contents of the box (for instance, "hard drive" or "computer parts"). Marking your box with your service ID number will ensure fast processing when your case arrives at our office.

5. Identify your case. Write your service ID number clearly on three sides of your package in bold print. This will allow our staff to easily identify your media when it arrives.

Identify your case on the box.

Write your service number on at least three sides of your shipping container..

6. Always ship to the address that our customer service team provides. Do not ship to another Secure Data Recovery Services office location. Retain a copy of your shipping documents and service ID number.

6. Ship to the address listed on your case setup email. Keep a copy of your case setup number and shipping information.

Ship to the address listed.

Our customer service team will provide updates after your case arrives at one of our locations.

These general tips apply to all devices. For more detailed information regarding specific devices, read the section below.

Packing Solid-State Drives and Hard Drives

If you are shipping an internal hard drive or if your drive's printed circuit board is visible, place it in an anti-static bag before shipping it. External hard drives do not need additional ESD protection.

Surround your drive in 3-6 inches of bubble wrap. Using a strong shipping tape, tape all sides of the bubble wrap to keep the drive protected. Your drive should not be able to move while in transit.

You can also use a shipping container designed specifically for hard drives, but make sure that your drive fits perfectly and that it cannot shift in its packaging.

To ship multiple hard drives, surround each individual drive in 3-6 inches of bubble wrap. Do not wrap multiple drives together. Label each drive differently to allow our staff to differentiate between them.

Packing Smartphones, Tablets and Other Mobile Devices

iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices do not require additional electrostatic protection. Use sufficient bubble wrap or shipping foam to give the device appropriate shock protection.

We recommend 3-6 inches of bubble wrap, taped securely on both sides. You can use the case or container that came with your device, but consider additional protection for the device's screen. Do not label your package in a way that divulges its contents (for instance, "iPhone," "Apple Device," etc.).

Packing Flash Media

Put your flash media in a case or in an anti-static bag before shipping. Wrap your media in several inches of bubble wrap, then tape it to prevent it from slipping out of the wrapping during shipment.

While some flash devices are small enough to ship in an envelope, we strongly recommend using a box to give the device an appropriate level of protection.

Packing Data Tapes and Legacy Media

Data tapes and cartridges are sensitive to strong magnetic fields, so write the words "Magnetically Sensitive" and "Fragile" on your packaging in clear, bold letters.

Keep your tapes in individual cases. Surround each with several inches of bubble wrap and lay each tape so that it is horizontal in your shipping container.

Packing RAID Arrays and Multi-Drive Systems

If you are shipping an entire RAID array, contact our customer service team for detailed instructions. We usually prefer to receive the media from your array, as we can reconstruct your RAID without access to your controller card by using specialized equipment.

Please follow these tips when shipping RAID media:

  • Labeling is extremely important, particularly when shipping larger systems. We ask that you clearly label each individual drive with its position in the array.
  • Protect each drive from electrostatic discharge by enclosing it in an anti-static bag.
  • Wrap each RAID member in 3-6 inches of bubble wrap, securely taping both sides.
  • Choose an appropriately sized shipping container that fits all of your drives without bulging. Make sure that the drives cannot move in their packaging.

If you need to ship a controller card, place it in an anti-static bag and wrap in 4-8 inches of bubble wrap. Place it at the top of your package or ship it separately from your hard drives.

Have questions about packing a device not listed above? Call our customer service team for assistance.

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