Do airport X-rays damage computer hardware?

Updated: 06/07/2019 by Computer Hope
X-ray of laptop computer

If 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 metal detectors, such as those at airport security checkpoints, can cause permanent damage. We strongly recommend you back up all data on your computer before travelling by air.

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

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

Flash media (storage cards for digital cameras)

Unlike traditional film that's damaged by X-rays, the flash cards used to store pictures created by your digital camera are not sensitive to light. Flash media are not 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, smart phones, USB thumb drives, and electronics are not affected by X-rays unless otherwise stated by the hardware manufacturer.

Additional information