Lifespan Of A Hard Drive

  @Home 08:50 10 Mar 2004

My ‘old’ Hard Drive packed in a couple of days ago and while it was only used for storing programs and not for my OS, it made me think why it should have packed in at all?

A Brief History:
It is 2 years old and I used it as my main HDD and had it partioned it up until 4 months ago, when (after running a HDD Diagnostic tool)I noticed it had some bad sectors on it so I replaced it. I think I did a full re-install of XP twice on it and once (while new to the world of PC’s) crashed it big time after installing and trying to run 2 Anti-Viruses together.

When it did pack in it got me thinking a few things –

So does a HDD deteriorate if you do regular re-installs of your OS?
Does it also wear it out if you install programs that you wish to try and un-install them if you don’t want them?
What exactly does wear a HDD out?
And lastly, what can you do to prolong a HDD life?


  Jester2K 08:54 10 Mar 2004

The only thing that wear the drive out is using it. The longer you use it the "quicker" it wears out.

Having said that a PC that is mainly doing low disk intensive tasks will last longer than one running lots of high disk intensive tasks.

Don't worry about OS reinstalls and installing / uninstalling programs.

What make and model was it?

The only way i know to prolong a HDD is to use a HDD cooler to keep it cool. Apart from that don't switch the PC on!

  Jester2K 08:56 10 Mar 2004

BTW I have a friend who is still using my old 4-5 year old 4 Gb Seagate drive in his PC. Still works fine.

  @Home 09:06 10 Mar 2004

It was a 60Gig IBM. I cannot remmeber the model number.

  Chegs ® 09:13 10 Mar 2004

IBM "Deathstar" hdd's are notorious for dying.I have always used Maxtor hdd's,and have 3 ranging in age from 5 years to almost new.I run my puter 24/7,only restarting after installing apps,as its the on/off cycles that stress components most.

  JerryJay 09:30 10 Mar 2004

Most HDs have 3 years warrenty. You maybe able to get a new one, but make sure you "kill" all your files totally (not just delete files) before you send back.

Once PC is on, HD starts to spin and this will make it wear out (just the same as cars). One way to make it longer is to use power management to switch HD off when it is not in use. You can set this either on the same place as screen saver or in bios if bios support it.

  Sir Radfordin 09:42 10 Mar 2004

As with most things electrical they often fail at start up or shutdown (think how often a light blub goes when in use?) I've got hard drives in use that have been going for 10+ years but others that have failed after 6 months.

Keeping a drive cool may make some difference, and not using it for intensive tasks may also help but it is hardly worth having it if you don't use it to its capacity. Much better to make sure you have good backups and use the hard drive as you need to without worrying about how long it will last.

  Infamous 09:54 10 Mar 2004

I Had a HDD fail on me it was a IBM 40 gig gave me soo much trouble before it died, it had 3yr warranty it died with 3 months warranty left check the status of the drive at IBM. Then if its valid then do the test they recommed using there software and print out the results and send it too IBM in holland. This sounds a long process but it only cost me £6 to send it and in 2 weeks IBM sent out a 80 gig brand new drive.

p.s i still bought a new WD 120 gig

kept the new drive for my sisters pc as she does not use it much

Also do remember to follow the instructions how to package the drive or it will be rejected when it arrives there


  @Home 10:06 10 Mar 2004

I don't think I'll send it back to anyone, as I tried to erase all the data on it using an IBM diagnostic tool and it so many bad sectors on it that it couldn't erase the data.
All I got was a large red error message saying data cannot be erased 3(I think)bad sectors found.

I think I'll just wang it in the bin.

BTW I am replacing it with a Samsung SpinPoint P Series SP0411N.
Does anyone have any comments on this?

  TBH1 10:49 10 Mar 2004

Infamous is right, find out from hitachi/ibm site if its covered - - obviously if it ain't working you can't run diagnostic utilities on it - - the same reason you can't erase all the data - in an ideal world it would be better to erase your data - -but how many of us can do that when a drive fails ?.As Infamous said, pay particular attention to the packing - - it almost seems as though they are looking for a reason to reject it.

  JerryJay 13:57 10 Mar 2004

Good idea to bin it. I post a question about Samsung drive and positive response: click here

But, I read somewhere early version of Samsung drive had reliablity problems, new versions are fine, very quiet two, maybe you could spend more to get a bigger one. Big ones must be new versions.

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