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Thread: How long can you reasonably expect a hard drive to last?

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    Strelok16's Avatar
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    How long can you reasonably expect a hard drive to last?

    So yeah, both my hard drives in my PC are quickly headed towards the pile of old dead computer hardware in my room that I haven't bothered to get rid of yet. These ones lasted about four years. I already got some new drives to replace them and backed up all my stuff, so it wasnt that bad... this time.

    I understand that drives can and do fail randomly so you should make regular backups, which I do. but it just seems that i'm replacing hard drive too damn often. Drives never last longer than three or four years for me, which seems like a pretty short time when all the rest of my hardware is going strong. (so far at least!) so how long should they last? have I just had a string of bad luck, or is this normal?
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    Teen Wankeler thevictor390's Avatar
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    Most computer parts should outlast their usefulness. I have only had one hard drive failure, and it was a 3-4 year old work laptop. But I also have a ~1996 laptop with a 1.3 GB HDD that still works.

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    To me, 3-4 years for a regularly used HDD is about the norm.

    My definition of regular being the people that are on their comp every day for a few hours or so.

    I.E. people on hurrr.

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    Crazyjeeper's Avatar
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    Quite a while. My old work PC had a hard drive from 2000, still worked fine. A good friend still has two original 36gb WD raptors from 2004 and they have probably been on 90% of the time he has had them.
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    i have a 200mb hdd that still works



    Windows 95 ftw
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    I think it was Google which once did a statistics on hdd life. If I remember correctly, the verdict was that the disc either fails within the first two years or lives for many more.

    From my personal experiences, I'd say that it really depends on whether the specific manufacturer was producing a high quality batch at the time. I personally would start thinking about replacing a hdd after five years.
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    it all depends on the case and how you handle them.

    i have a raptor 74 gig that is over 6 years old that fine. i had a 250 gig WD die in the same computer after 4 years, and after it was put in a tiny network storage unit, but was the main os drive when it was in the desktop(used more then the secondary game drive). i had another dell case that a hard drive gave up after one and a half years. heat and shock are the 2 main causes of hard drive failure. my desktop is on 24/7

    my new desktop the hard drives have a 120 mm fan right in front of them and right behind them so they should last forever. laptop drives will fail, desktop drives shouldn't unless there not cared for properly. some times a cheap power supply can hurt hard drives too.

    i have built a few computers.... this year i have done about 8-9 systems and all have a fan right in front of the hard drive, none have failed

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    Most drives lasts 3-5 years for me. But I have my computer on 24/7, not sure if that helps or hurts the hdd's life though.
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    If your lucky, itll last you 10+ years. Ive had one maxtor that jsut didnt die and I only got rid of it when it was detrimental to the overall preformance of the computer (it wasnt a primary HDD so it didnt make that big a difference).

    Aside from those oddball ones that last a really long times (and the ones that die within a year) in my experience Id say a good 5-7 years. I currently have 2 drives that constantly fail, ones from a old HP bought in 00 or 01 and the others a Seagate bought in 03 or 04. Ive had other externals fail much sooner but im not counting that since externals get thrashed around a lot more than HD's in a PC tower.
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    Quote Originally Posted by awdrifter View Post
    Most drives lasts 3-5 years for me. But I have my computer on 24/7, not sure if that helps or hurts the hdd's life though.
    I usually turn my computer off at night and back on again in the morning, but yeah I donno about that either when it comes to how long parts last. My computer does tend to run hot, so maybe I should look into gettting a case that can mount more fans. I don't think the one I have now has spots to install fans around the drive area.
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    Until 5 mins before you need a file on it you have not, as yet, backed up - D'oh!
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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    Alongside of shock and overheating there's too many on-off/load-unload cycles, especially in laptop drives that may perform an unload after a few seconds of idleness.

    Keeping it on for a long period of time doesn't hurt as long as it's not getting too hot. I've just replaced two drives that had been on for a total of 4.5/4 years respectively, still working fine - gave one to my sister and it keeps on working there. 1.5TB > 120G+160G

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    Not A Dude katwalk's Avatar
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    Well judging by the fact I have a pile of internals, longer than the actual computer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strelok16 View Post
    I usually turn my computer off at night and back on again in the morning, but yeah I donno about that either when it comes to how long parts last. My computer does tend to run hot, so maybe I should look into gettting a case that can mount more fans. I don't think the one I have now has spots to install fans around the drive area.
    if your looking for a different case maybe look at this one
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119189
    i have used a few of them and there nice, pretty good air flow a spot for a 120 mm fan in the front right in front of the hard drive. they don't come with a fan but you can get a good quiet fan (something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811999061)
    if your looking for a little bit of a higher end case the one i have is http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119137 its a much higher end case, hard drive trays, a lot more wire management, and the ability to put up to 8 or 9 big fans in it.

    this is the cheaper cooler master case with a different set of feet its a very nice case for 30 bucks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobol74 View Post
    Until 5 mins before you need a file on it you have not, as yet, backed up - D'oh!
    This. I have seen a brand-new SATA drive going tits up while a backup of the valuable data that had just been transferred to the drive from compact flash was in progress. On the other hand, i have seen harddrives soldiering on for literally decades... Just make backups and not expect anything.


    Back on topic, i think about five years is a reasonable lifespan.
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    I have a HDD 40 gb from 2000 and it still works with no problem, and it was formatted for the first time, this month

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    I've had a hard drive last the guts of 10 years in a desktop. Maybe longer in my old mac from about 1993 or so.

    Laptops never seem to last as long though...

    I tend to leave my computer running, but then I'd frequently need to use it at any time so it makes sense to leave it on...
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    Strelok16's Avatar
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    Well surprise surprise, today I finally got curious enough to pop open my case and look for more places to put fans, and it turns out there is a fan mounting spot in front of the hard drives, so I went out and got a 120mm fan and stuck it in there. Hopefully that will help my new drives live longer.
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    I've never had a drive die on me.
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    I've never had a total HDD failure, but a few have shown the classic signs of bad sectors and I've replaced them before anything serious has happened. In the 90's I had two Maxtors within a year, both began developing bad sectors (the second one rather fast) and after those I got my first Seagate (Barracuda IV). I'm not totally sure but I think that's the one currently in my little home server, still going strong.

    After that I've had a bunch of Seagates and I think I've had only two that slowly began developing those bad sectors and all have been replaced (5 year warranty ) without problems. At the moment I'm really low on free space and as soon as I have the cash I'm getting a 1TB 7200.12 which will actually double my overall HDD space

    Oh and about cases and HDD temperatures, I must say that the Antec 300 is one awesome (and cheap!) case. Plenty of airflow even with the two default fans, a filter to keep out most of the dust flying around and my HDD's are as cool as ever. Three 7200rpm Seagates and they all run 24/7 at ~30 degrees celcius. And that's in a room with an ambient temperature of 24C at the moment.
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