The effects of magnets on computers

Written by daniel westlake
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The effects of magnets on computers
Can magnets hurt electronics? (hard drive image by BigDog from Fotolia.com)

There are many different conflicting views on what magnets do to computers, as for years people though magnets would cause a computer or other electronic device to malfunction if they were kept nearby it. But with newer technology and more investigation, people are finding this isn't true.

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Zapping Data is a Myth

For old floppy disks, this was true. Magnets would erase any data stored on the floppy if just held on to it for a few seconds. However, according to an article in PC World, these days most data that is being transported from one computer to the next is held on a compact flash or SD card, which a magnet has absolutely no effect on. There are no magnets available to the public at least which can affect the ions in a flash card, or else they would be strong enough to suck the iron ions out of your blood cells. Magnets also won't affect most modern hard drives when it comes to data, as they are not strong enough.

Magnets Effect Computer Screens

Some magnets effect some computer screens, according to Komando.com. Most laptop screens these days are liquid crystal displays (LCD), which have little to no magnetic qualities and won't respond to any type of magnetism. On monitors that are older or still use cathode ray tubes (CRT monitors), magnets could have an effect on them, causing distortion or general malfunction. But this usually only happens if something magnetic is literally set on top of the monitor for an extended period of time, causing the magnetism qualities to spread throughout the back of the monitor itself.

Speakers in Computers

While speakers have magnets, these are also generally not affected by an external bit of magnetism, unless of course that magnetism is really strong. According to Komando.com, some external speakers that are hooked up to your computer may be distorted due to magnetism or fall apart over time if the magnet is left in the area, but for the most part, magnets will have little to no effect on these newer technological devices. This is because the manufacturer took the vulnerability from magnets into account when they made the new versions of these devices.

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