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April 09, 2010

Hard Drive Lifespan

I used to think, perhaps naively, that hard drives would generally run fault free forever unless there was a defect or detrimental event. Failure after failure didn't seem to change my opinion, there always seemed to be something I could point to that caused the error. Whether or not that was true, I've switched my opinion and now consider the drives to have a lifespan. Much like a floppy disk of old that you expected to slowly die and eventually become unreadable, I expect my disks to slowly die with every minute they spin. As I'm writing, I know 4 of my disks in use are exhibiting signs of failure. A disk in my desktop computer is throw soft SMART errors, data seems fine so far, a second disk is throwing hard SMART errors and I've noticed corruption. A disk I've swapped out of my TiVo is showing signs of read errors, but is currently still able to hide them and won't throw any error conditions. My classic iPod is also showing signs of read errors, excessive head movement, stalls and skips and odd errors when trying to write to it.

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