Do airport X-rays damage computer hardware?

Updated: 04/02/2019 by Computer Hope

X-ray of laptop computerIf you plan on traveling with your computer or mobile devices, you may be concerned about the X-ray security scanners an airport. These machines emit X-ray radiation, and you may wonder if it will damage your hardware. However, X-rays do not damage or destroy electrical equipment or data. The following article contains additional information about concerns related to computers and X-ray machines.

Note: This document contains information about X-ray machines. Taking a laptop, hard drive, flash media, or magnetic media through a metal detector can cause damage. Improper handling of your laptop while traveling can also cause damage. We also recommend users carry their laptops on the plane with them.

Blu-ray, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD+R, etc.

All optical discs are not affected by X-rays and will not be damaged or erased when sent through an X-ray machine.

Computer, Laptop, PDA or tablet

Computers, laptops, and PDA's and the components within them are not sensitive to X-rays and will not be damaged when sent through an X-ray machine.

Flash media (storage cards for digital cameras)

Unlike traditional film that can be damaged by X-rays, the flash cards used to store pictures created by your digital camera are not sensitive to light. Flash media will not be damaged when going through an X-ray.

Floppy diskettes

Floppy diskettes are only sensitive to magnetic charges, taking them or a computer with them through an X-ray will not damage the drive.

Hard drives (external hard drives)

Hard drives are only sensitive to magnetic charges, taking a hard drive or computer with a hard drive through an X-ray will not damage the drive.

MP3 players, cell phones, USB drives, or electronics

Like a laptop computer, MP3 players, cell phones, USB thumb drives, and electronics are not affected by X-rays unless otherwise stated by the hardware manufacturer.

Additional information