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Old November 27, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Default HDD lifespan

For budget reassons i plan to reuse my current HDD for my recent build.Its a seagate 500gb...about 5 years old 7,200 spindles speed.My new PC will not use this drive as boot drive as I have a 256gb SSD so the old drive will be for useless progs music, pics and the such.My concern is age and relaibility with such an older drive....should I pony up the cash or should i be fine for 4-6 months?
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Old November 27, 2012, 10:50 AM
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I try not to keep drives over 3 years unless they still have warranty. I would invest in a new drive and just use that old drive as a backup to the new drive as in data in 2 places :P
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Old November 27, 2012, 11:00 AM
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IMHO - Although I still have a working and reliable Hitachi Deskstar 80GB, I would not, ever use it for mission critical stuff. Once a drive is as aged as yours, I would suggest that you get yourself a new HDD.


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Old November 27, 2012, 11:11 AM
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If you have proper backups it shouldn't be that much of an issue. My newest drive is 2 years old, the oldest is 25 and still in use.

On the other hand (though it is a rare happenstance) you can get drives that last 2 days or are DOA.
Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination.
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:25 PM
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ANY drive will fail - whether it's 5 seconds or 10 years into its lifespan is hard to predict. Always have a backup for this reason.

I'm running on quite a few "older" drives in my household. My parents' backup drive is from 2006, my brothers' drives are from 2007, and all the rest are from between 2008-2010. Every one of my HDDs is "pre-flood" because I haven't gotten enough stuff to fill the 3x 1.5TB I bought, and I use SSDs for OS. When I go to "reinstate" a hard drive, I do the following:
  1. Record SMART attributes
  2. Wipe the drive with at least 3 passes
  3. Run SMART extended test
  4. Look at SMART attributes again
If the drive survives all that without # of bad sectors going up, I continue to use the drive.

A little bit ago I posted a list of tools that you can use for the poking and prodding: Troubleshooting Essentials
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:47 PM
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If the drive wasn't exhibiting any issues up to this point, you will most likely be OK for a few months.
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Old November 27, 2012, 09:44 PM
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Typical lifespan of a hard drive is somewhere between 6 seconds and 60 years... Impossible to say. Unless it's been roughly handled, odds are that it would be fine for a few more months. However, best bet is to make regular backups whether it is to another drive, cd, DVD, BD etc.
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Old November 28, 2012, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by HoserEh View Post
My concern is age and relaibility with such an older drive....should I pony up the cash or should i be fine for 4-6 months?

Or both.

In reality, the lifetime of drives is USUALLY very good, but that is an AVERAGE. Any drive can die any time, or not die for a very long time.

Regardless of the age of your drives, I would suggest running an app that monitors SMART parameters. There are some freebies that work well. Checking them once a week at first, and if nothing shows then check them less frequently. If the app is any good, it will alert you when anything changes.

Acronis has a free disk monitor that is worth checking. Until you are spindle free (all SSD drives), this is a very good bit of insurance. There is also a plugin for MS Home Server that does the same thing.

This does not guarantee that a drive won't just up and stop working without warning - but it makes it less likely. Short of physical damage/shock/electrical shock, I have not seen a drive die without some warning. Not that I have had a lot of drives die, and I don't claim to be an industry experct, just someone working in this field for close to 30 years.

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Old December 2, 2012, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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FWIW, I have ~47,000 hours each on a pair of Seagate Barracuda 7200.10's from 2007. If you're relying upon any single drive to protect your data, then you really aren't managing your stuff responsibly. My drives are in RAID-1 with a larger 2Tb drive.

I actually damaged one of the drives, a 500gb, recently when I was installing another drive into the machine. Ripped a capacitor right off of the PCB. The RAID kept everything running, while I removed the drive and had the capacitor re-soldered to the board. I didn't even have to reboot! And this drive was the boot drive as well!

edit: even SSDs should be protected by some form of RAID as well. In Linux, this is fairly easy, since you can set the 'write-only' attribute on members of the RAID that have slow write speeds, and still benefit from the speed of the SSD.

edit: I had a Hitachi 2Tb 7K3000 fail about a year in-service on me about a year ago -- I was monitoring it with smartmontools and started receiving emails when the SMART counters were going up in a bad way. If you're running Linux, I highly suggest you check this out.

Last edited by pitz; December 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM.
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