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How do you prevent a Hard Drive from dying?

By maniac_lonestar ยท 18 replies
May 13, 2007
  1. I need all advices possible please, because I don't want to buy 1 hard drive every few years.
  2. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,006

    The only way to prevent that from happening is to never buy one! What HDD are you looking at buying? The best thing to do is buy a quality hard drive from the start. Like Western Digital, Maxtor etc. I personally have only had 1 fail on me over the years.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    Seagate os currently the leader for long life and low trouble. Maxtor has failed and been bought out by Seagae. Western Digital has had a lot of trouble with its drives larger than 80 GB. Samsung and Fujitsu are coming on strong.
    There are 19 Seagate hard drives now with five year warranties. No need to get anything else, but gamers still like Western Digital despite their short life spans.
  4. maniac_lonestar

    maniac_lonestar TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 116

    I have a Maxtor One Touch I sold/manufactured in 2003. 180 gigs I think.

    I just hope that if I only use it once a day to backup my stuff, which my backup only takes me 15 minutes then I turn if off unless I need something, then it would last 3,000 years.
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    HDDs will always die. Best idea is to keep loads of backups.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,498   +1,433

    look at the MTBF numbers for the vendor/model number, if you can find them
    (MTBF: Mean Time Between Failures). The higher the better.
    The Mean is the same thing as Average.

    Typical life of small system HDs is FIVE YEARS. This is a guideline.
    Heck; I've got a scsi hd that has run for more than eight years before the
    system was retired -- never failed and zero defective tracks too.

    There is a concept called RAID; Rudundant Array of Inexpensive Disks which
    uses the same devices as any PC or server (typically scsi rather than ide however).
    The concept is to avoid failure by having duplicate data. The name implies
    that HDs are (today) inexpensive. That's tounge in cheek to home users without
    a corporate I.T. budget.

    The point is PLAN on having a failure -- it's not a question of IF, but rather WHEN :(
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    Phantasm66 has it right. Hard drives will always die.
    MTBF has no meaning for an individual hard drive. It is a statistical projection based on all drives of the type... But does not know anything about the computer, the cooling, the frequency of use, and how full the drive becomes. It does not even have relevance for Government security computers. There are plenty of research articles about it. There is absolutely no way to predict the life of your own hard drive based on the MTBF estimate offered by the company which makes them. None. Otherwise, the price and the warranty would reflect it.
    Hard drives are now less expensive per MB or GB than they have ever been, with the 40 GB drive faster at 7200 rpm, more reliable with S.M.A.R.T. technology, and under $40 in most markets... though not in your neighborhood store. SCSI drives commonly last for 7 years, but you pay dearly for that SCSI reliability and few computers other than IBM Intellistation and other IBM models are even designed to use SCSI... only networked systems do. You pay about 7 times as much per GB, and the SCSI drives are usually much smaller in capacity.
    What counts most is the limited warranty provided. But even the warranty instructions say you have to backup your data.
    Seagate offers a 5 year warranty. Samsung and Western Digital now also provide a 5 year warranty on some models.
    We have seen brand new drives of every manufacturer fail within the first 30 days of use... and have them in our shop as collectors items.
    A quality backup system is your only hope.
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    HDDs are built for temporary storage... especially in the SATA / PATA market. That market's all about getting the biggest, fastest HDDs out for the lowest overhead. They build these things knowing they will die.

    Keep loads of backups instead.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,498   +1,433

    much of Raybay's comments could be argued, but the topic has lead to the right
    conculsion: HDs fail and we need to address that problem.

    I'm sure the originator has got that point by now :)
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Google's Take on hd life, warning PDF.

    I found this interesting
    Makes me feel better about running one of my drives in an external enclosure without a fan.
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,498   +1,433

  12. maniac_lonestar

    maniac_lonestar TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 116

    Wow you guys make it sound so scary, I think I'm just gonna wait 2 years for Hard Drives to get even more cheaper, like USB Flash Drive.

    Edit: Will an external hard drive die faster when you keep it OFF or ON most of the time?
  13. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,009

    I would guess keep it off most of the time
    there is a burn in curve about to much off and on
    keep drives very cool keeps them running longgg time
    eventual ram drives with 32gb boot up takes about 30 min
    but man will it fly after that
  14. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    There is a dramatic difference. Hard drives are quite reliable, whereas flash drives are not. But you always need backups of both if your files are valuable.
  15. fr0stasdell

    fr0stasdell TS Rookie

    Ya always keep a backup on a Online storage..{FTP:):)} Best to clean ur computer once a week for potential performance.. and or keep everything co0o0l.. same amount of air flow in as out..
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Temperature, at least according to Google who tested a large number of drives, is not as important as commonly believed. I outlined that thought in my quote above, and provided a link where they talk about it in greater detail. I've often thought that people are too hung up on temperatures, I take no special measures to make sure my HDs are running 'cool'.
  17. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    Considering technology changes rapidly every 18 to 24 months, buying a new hard drive whether it is broken or not may be required not an option.

    Personally I have owned many hard drives. 18 years ago they were quite unreliable and performance has increased greatly since. While recently I have not experienced catastrophic failure, it is possible and does happen to people.

    If you are concerned about data - ALWAYS back up to a secondary device.
  18. maniac_lonestar

    maniac_lonestar TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 116

    I thought flash drives lasted longer.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,382   +3,602

    You Don't!
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