October 20, 2011

The Life & Death of a Hard Drive

Eric Griffin


Hard drives die pretty often.  In our office alone we’ve had 4 drives die in the last 4 years, 2 of them were only 1 year old!  It seemed unusual, but after doing some reading it’s not as uncommon as you might think.  Google did a study to try and determine what contributes to death, what signs may forewarn you and how often they actually die. What they found was fascinating.

They found that hard drive failure didn’t depend on usage or temperature.  I always thought my main drive is more likely to die than my backup drive, since it’s being used to much more.  Not true.

They also noted that while manufacturers claim a failure rate of just .88%, Google found it to be 3% (over 100,000 drives from varying brands).

What does all that mean?  Basically, drives die.  Expect them to die, for no real reason and at any age.  As for warning signs? They did find that if you encounter an error during a disk scan, your drive is 39 times more likely to die within 60 days.  I don’t know about you, but I’m putting “scan disk” on my calendar every month from now on.

[via Google Labs]

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