How do hard drives go bad?

By nstrong
Apr 4, 2006
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  1. I know viruses cause problems, but why else would a 180GB hard drive just all of the sudden go kaput? It's less than 2 years old!!
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,040   +223

    First, the average MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) for HDs historically is
    FIVE years when operated 24/7.
    Second, they are electro-mechanical devices and parts do fail. Even a brand new HD
    will be shipped with sectors that are flagged by the MFG as do-not-use
    and when/if you surface test, you may create still more. In the early days
    ('80s) it was common to HDs with 100s of bad blocks while few came with ZERO :)

    Factors that contribute to HD failure: Overheating, physical abuse
    (eg dropping a laptop), forced shutdown which then need CHKDSK /F
    to get running again, power outages or unstable voltages, and like people, aging.
  3. N3051M

    N3051M Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,800

    - heat
    - excessive stress (including running it for long periods)
    - defective parts

    three most common, i'm having a bout of hdd problems as well at the moment..
  4. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,382

    Living in a bad neighborhood, malnutrition, born with defects, childhood sicknesses/virii, Drug abuse, abusive parents & the list goes on.
    That's why we call them "HARD" Drives :haha:..................jk ;)
    Some, less than honorable company's design things to reach end warranty.

    What make of Hdd is this?


    As fbieler47 has mentioned below
    "Low amount of ram makes the hard drive read and write constantly, so more wear and tear."
    This could tear down most any Hdd, espescialy in laptops.
  5. fbieler47

    fbieler47 Newcomer, in training Posts: 43

    And don't forget that some Hard drives are just Born EVIL, Like my 250GB deathstars.

    Low amount of ram makes the hard drive read and write constantly, so more wear and tear.
  6. N3051M

    N3051M Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,800

    Not to hijack this thread.. but anyone knows the normal temp. for a hdd to opperate? and the maximum temperature when the hdd says to itself "Right. Going for a perminant vacation. Not coming back"....
  7. nstrong

    nstrong Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies, all. Maybe another stupid question here, but is it really a bad ideas to sit the tower on carpet? The fans all had decent area around them to ventilate but the tower sits under my desk on carpet.
  8. Peddant

    Peddant Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,644

    The most dangerous temp for an HD is room temp.That is,startup temp Normal running temp 38.C.Blow up temp 65.C

    My PC sits on the carpet.Don`t see any temp difference from when it was on the desk.
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    carpets can build up static. I don't recommend it.
  10. fbieler47

    fbieler47 Newcomer, in training Posts: 43

    carpet is nice if you like the dust that accumulates


    Lots of dust sucked into the computer when it is on the floor, Dust bunnys, Or gorillas in the dust at my place. Clogs heatsinks, slows air circulation, Insects like the warmth of the computer environment.
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