Tips for Prolonging the Life of a HDD



Apertura_hard_disk_04by David Zimmerman

Being in the data recovery industry for the last 15 years, we’ve seen a lot of people lose their data due to hard drive failure. When we say failure, we’re referring to failure of electronic and mechanical components where the cost to recover the data is usually into the thousands of dollars and the possibility of a complete loss is actually pretty high. Typically hard drives don’t wear out unless they are in a high production server environment. All new drives are rated and have this thing called MTBF, which means Mean Time Between Failures. Most drives on the market today are rated for around 300,000 hours, which equates 12,500 days or a little over 34 years. Sounds like a long time, but who is going to be using the same drive for 34 years. That must mean my hard drive is reliable and will last forever, but it’s not. Statistically, all that this means is that if I have 300,000 drives in a room simultaneously running under ideal conditions – every hour, one will fail. I have had brand new drives fail within a week. Sure, it’s covered under warranty, but my data was not. Fortunately I didn’t lose anything but a lot of people are not so lucky. Hard drives, the devices they are in and all forms of storage media should be treated with care.

Simple things like the following tips can help to extend the lifespan of your hard drive:

  • Make sure your computer is connected to a good quality UPS with built in surge protection. Power spikes and surges associated with storms or bad power sources are common culprits in hard drive failure. If your UPS comes with management software to turn your system off safely during a power outage, use it.
  • Power management is there for a reason. If your computer is always on, allow it to go into sleep mode giving your hard drive a rest during long periods of inactivity.
  • Environmental conditions and proper cooling are an important factor. If your system has inadequate airflow, heat can build up and cause component failure. Very dry climates can also make your hardware more susceptible to damage from static electricity. The typical discharge is around 20,000 volts (fortunately not much in the way of AMP’s), and while not dangerous to you, it can be fatal to your electronic circuitry.
  • Always use care in handling notebooks, portable computers and external HDD’s. Moving and banging these devices while they are working or not working are never a good idea. Although everything is shock rated, do you really want to take that chance?

To help prevent yourself from being a statistic, it is also a good idea to install and use a utility to monitor the SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis Reporting Technology) status of your hard drives advising you of deteriorating conditions on the measurable attributes of your hard drive’s inner workings. Signs like read and write errors, motor speed and a number of different types of errors can indicate an impending failure.

David Zimmerman is the CEO of LC Technology International.

 

One Response to “Tips for Prolonging the Life of a HDD”

  1. Tivi Asanzo Says:

    Environmental conditions and proper cooling are an important factor. If your system has inadequate airflow, heat can build up and cause component failure. Very dry climates can also make your hardware more susceptible to damage from static electricity. The typical discharge is around 20,000 volts (fortunately not much in the way of AMP’s), and while not dangerous to you, it can be fatal to your electronic circuitry.
    Read more: http://vienthongthanhpho.vn/thuong-hieu/tivi-asanzo-1084.html

Leave a Reply

WWPI – Covering the best in IT since 1980