I fully agree on that point , and I tried to make that clear in my post ..... but if it wasn't clear enough , then the fault was mine . Minimalist used text from the original ZDNet article as the title for the thread , and was entirely correct in doing so. Bill_Bright wrote :- Was the data verified intact before put in storage? Was the device properly stored in it's plastic case the entire time? Did the handler take the essential ESD precautions before, during and after storage? Was the device left undisturbed throughout the many years in storage? What were the actual environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, exposure to light) while in storage? Oh Yes Bill .... now that is a major factor ! By their very nature , thumb drives ( USB sticks ) are often in trouser pockets and the whole ESD factor comes into play . And there are so many variables here .... Polyester trousers or Natural fibre ( eg Wool ) trousers .... ......Leather shoes or synthetic shoes ... walking on carpet or on industrial flooring. The Van Der Graaf generator and the Wimshurst machine were invented by combining exactly these elements .... ... insulator material , naturally electro-static material .... plus motion . The trouser pocket is potentially a mini-version of these devices . If anybody doubts this , think of the times when you have touched an elevator door , a water-pipe , or even a car on a hot , dry day .... and you got a sudden jolt .... sometimes you can even hear it ! Imagine what could happen if that ZAP is discharged into the SSD that you just touched , or that's in your pocket ! I spent many years in the electronics industry , and the various company's policies on ESD protection were often strongly enforced .... .... eg . " at all times , employees must be wearing grounded wrist-bands , working on anti-static mats ... etc ."