life of a hard drive

  lofty29 10:12 29 Jan 2008

I now this is like how long is a piece of string, but any ideas of the lifespan of a hard-drive, my C is about 6 years old now, which holds all my programmes, and I am thinking of cloning it wth a replacement ready for when it packs in, what is the best cloning tool?

  bjh 10:40 29 Jan 2008

Acronis seems to be favoured by many, myself included. There's even a free version 8 doing the rounds of the rival computer magazines at the moment (and may your eyes burn out if you read the printings of Beelzebub!). Version 8 is certainly sufficient for what you want - cloning hard drives and the like - I still use it on a couple of machines, but I don't think it allows incremental backup like the higher version.

As to the life of a hard drive? You are right, and I have no idea how long your piece of string is. I had a couple of failed Maxtor drives that were under a year old, unrelated failures, quite light use. Those are the ONLY hard drives that have ever failed through normal usage. About six months ago I powered up a 300 MEGABYTE drive (also Maxtor) that must be something like 15 years old. Worked perfectly. All data intact. During its life it was a shared lab machine, on all the time and used by about five mucky PhD students at once. Hell for a computer (and none too pleasant for me either!)

The only other drive that failed had abnormal use - a desktop that was treated like a laptop, dragged from lab to lab, humped up stairs, dumped on tables and generally abused. It got its revenge, wiping all my data for 3 months of research, and proving the other point about hard drive life........

.... that they always last a day less than your backup routine!

Given the age of your old drive, a new drive is worth getting. The old one can remain as a backup to the new, with both in the machine at the same time. I would guess your old one will be small, given its age, and you can thus buy one on a relative budget.

Also, keep a backup on a cd or dvd, and put that somewhere safe, away from the computer, just in case...

  €dstowe 10:43 29 Jan 2008

I am amazed that you don't have a backup done as part of your normal maintenance procedure especially with a drive that old.

I always use Acronis True Image which will file and/or system backups as well as cloning a drive.

  lofty29 10:49 29 Jan 2008

Thanks for your reply, I always use seagate drives nowadays, Had a maxtor once failed quite quickly, and saw some bad reports on them, also some years ago worked for a computer firm as a storeman and most of the drives that came back u/g were maxtors, although had one bad batch of seagates, sods law I suppose. only use C which is 20gb for os, d is 80gb which I use for my storage

  lofty29 10:53 29 Jan 2008

HI Edstowe, always back my data via dvd disk, its mainly the programmes I am concerned about, dont want to go through all the reloading etc, and some of them I don't have the cd for anymore

  octal 11:00 29 Jan 2008

In my old job there was one of the computers with a HD which was there when I joined and was still going strong when I left and that was 16 years!

  lofty29 14:23 29 Jan 2008

I have seen on ebuyer that they have a western digital 80gb ide hdd with good feedback, anyone had any experience of these. I was thinking that I could hook it up via a ide-usb connector which I have and copy over the content that way, this would avoid having to dissconnect my present second hhd. any coments???

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