View Full Version : Odds of Hard Drive Failure

02-25-2006, 07:34 AM
Assuming "regular user" usage... what are the odds of a hard drive failure?

I have a co-worker telling me the story of some "weird hard drive failure" message from his Sony unit. Then he told me about Sony Tech Support's diagnosis of -- well -- a hard drive failure.

From what I've been told, he only bought his unit with a year or two. So, it's relatively new.

I have never experienced Hard Drive failure; and I had asked my co-worker to bring it to the office. Other than strange noises and failure to boot the system, what else should I be looking for with regards to "hard drive failure"?

02-25-2006, 08:35 AM
That depends largely on the hard-drive make and the model. For instance, the Maxtor 80GB series was known to often corrupt data because of the compression they used to make the data fit (as they didn't want to add extra magnetic platters). Seagates were the worst with their 120GB series which had imprecise head control, which caused head crashes. I recall actually hearing clicks and scrapes across the drive platters when a friend's 120GB Seagate managed to crash.

Globally, the chance of a hard-drive failure is not very high - but, like I said, there are some series of hard-drives which were just poor. On the other hand, you might run into the ugly duckling of the production batch. Finally, if the harddrive isn't properly mounted (counting ventilation, position and proximity of other drives into accound) it'll be problematic as well. Maxtor is probably known for its supposed susceptibility to heating - however that only holds true if it's in a hard-drive rack, surrounded by two more harddrives, but with no 80+mm fans surrounding them, which is how most people keep them.

As for the symptoms - odd sounds, boot failure, data corruption, unusually high temperatures - any of those can but may not mean a harddisk expiring. SMART systems monitor the drive status, both hardware and software, and their data is available through Everest Home Edition and the like - and those often give a readout of the temperature. Concerning the odd sounds, most of the newer harddrives has acoustic management (or,in plain, when they click off, they slow down so they'd be quieter.

Generally, expect the harddrive to last about as much as the warranty covers it - although my harddrives have been working even past twice that.

03-06-2006, 10:20 PM
Like Stealth said hdd fail due to the environment they subjected you. Even if your hdd can sustain lots of G's but if you shake it when its hots those G's warranty wont stay in place. So keep your hdd in good environment and chances of it crashing would be low.