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How Often Do You Replace Your Hard Drives?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the mean-time-between-failure dept.

254

Telemachas asks: "I recently purchased a Dell P4 2.8 GHz swap meet computer with a 200 gig hard disk for a good price and all is working fine. It does not seem prudent, however, to trust my data on a swap meet item. For another @ $ 75.00 each I can purchase new 200 gig HDDs. I would also like to do my first RAID system. I am now wondering how often, if at all, do Slashdot readers replace their HDDs?"

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254 comments

Uhh... (5, Insightful)

Omeger (939765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865034)

When they break?

Re:Uhh... (3, Insightful)

matt74441 (1000572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865066)

I second that. I like to avoid wasting money whenever possible, but thats just me...

Re:Uhh... (1)

undeaf (974710) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865324)

I also try to avoid wasting money, but the hard drive's the one thing I do upgrade the most frequently. I've been lucky to have avoided the really noisy 7200 rpm ball bearing hard drives, but despite that I've replaced an 80 gig drive with a quieter 160 gig samsung P80, and then I've added a 160 gig V80 to that.

Re:Uhh... (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865788)

I needed bigger space, so I'm using new drives I bought about 16 months ago that have all been working well. The data drives are all in RAID5 arrays under mdadm. Before that, I noticed that when I still used Windows, I would have drive failures about every six months or so. Once I switched over to Linux (about 2000), I found the drives stopped failing. Since then, I've had 2 drive failures, all hard failures, and no more software caused failures. I'm not planning on swapping out my drives before they fail. The boot/system drives are backed up, along with the data files, on a system that will soon be moved off site. I may, at some point, convert the mdadm RAID5 clusters with hardware based RAID, but if I do, I'll wait until I can get controllers that allow hot swapping. When I get to that point, to make sure business runs easier, I might swap them out every year or so, but I doubt it. As one other poster said, if a drive lasts 6 months, usually it will keep going and I'd rather not change it.

Re:Uhh... (3, Interesting)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865428)

Seriously. The older a drive is, in my experience the less likely it is to die. The first six months are the worst.

But then I'm running a pair of drives as raid 0 for speed, and figure if you loose important files due to disk crash, you needed to learn your lesson about backups the hard way.

Next time I'll do raid 1 as I'm told that some controllers manage to combine reads from both drives to get the same speed as raid 0. Size is so cheap these days there isn't much point not to do raid 1. Twice the speed of a normal drive and a vastly reduced chance of having to reinstall everything.

Re:Uhh... (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865472)

Try RAID 1+0

Re:Uhh... (1)

The Mysterious X (903554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865518)

If you're going to do that, you may as well do RAID 5, which has the smae level of redundancy, but mpre available space.

Re:Uhh... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865680)

A lot of cheap controllers though (including some integrated motherboard ones) do RAID 0+1. At least the last time I looked, the cheapest RAID 5 card I saw was approaching $200.

Re:Uhh... (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865760)

Then there's mdadm for Linux. I've found it to work wonderfully. And it's free.

Re:Uhh... (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865810)

won't make much difference with two drives..!

Re:Uhh... (3, Informative)

The Mysterious X (903554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865884)

Except that raid 0+1 can't be implemented with 2 drives, it requires a minimum of 4.

Never start replacing components (5, Funny)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865492)

I third that

Never start replacing components unless it's the power supply or fans. Normally once my hardware starts screwing up I just sell the whole thing at a swapmeet as generally all the components will start all screwing up together.

Err, good luck with your new machine.

Re:Uhh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865178)

Of course. For HDDs the Time Between Failure distribution is just too broad.

If you replace them on a schedule, you're still not guaranteed 100% reliability because a drive can fail way before MTBF, and you waste the drives that wouldn't fail if you had kept them. Seems like a lose-lose situation to me.

So backup often, or use RAID. Replace the HDDs when they break.

Re:Uhh... (4, Informative)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865280)

I entirely agree with everything you said, except this (minor nitpick, if nothing else):

So backup often, or use RAID. Replace the HDDs when they break.

There's really no replacement for backing up your files.

RAID 5 (or mirrored RAID, if that's your favorite flavor) protects against a single hard drive dying. But if the RAID card dies, you lose everything, especially if it's a proprietary card that's hard to find (more likely on a personal server); I've tried interchanging 3ware controllers and Highpoint controllers, and they couldn't read each other. Additionally, if more than one drive dies, you lose everything. Or, if there's some other problem (you know, the one you didn't think about before you setup the RAID) and the array gets corrupted somehow... well, you lose everything.

RAID can be a good supplement in addition to regular backups, but it's not a complete replacement.

Right (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865372)

The redundancy buys you reduced downtime in the event of most failures. Go with multiple RAIDs in different systems (or cities!) for backup.

Re:Uhh... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865412)

RAID 5 (or mirrored RAID, if that's your favorite flavor) protects against a single hard drive dying. But if the RAID card dies, you lose everything, especially if it's a proprietary card that's hard to find (more likely on a personal server); I've tried interchanging 3ware controllers and Highpoint controllers, and they couldn't read each other.

This is why you use software RAID.

Re:Uhh... (2, Informative)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866092)

No, that's why you have maintenance packs on your servers.

When your controller fails, it gets replaced OnSite by service technician, no matter how old it is. We use IBM xSeries, and still have some older machines operating. We bought Out-Of-Warranty ServicePacks for them, they're now 5 years old.

A controller in one of them failed, 3 hours later an IBM technician was OnSite with a new, same controller, replaced the card, and the machine was up and running again. That was a 5 years old IBM xSeries, with dual PIII at 1.1Ghz, mind you.

Of course, you don't want to buy service packs that cost more than the machine is worth now (but less than the money involved to migrate the existing setup..) in a private environment. Thats why you do only RAID1 there. I've been able to recover RAID1s from any sort of raid controller with a bit of fiddling. Most involve no fiddling at all, because they have the Metadata at the "end" of the drive, and just appear as a plain disk on a normal scsi controller.

Re:Uhh... (2, Informative)

munpfazy (694689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865466)

What's more, there are a lot of other data-loss scenarios for which RAID won't help you at all: namely, anything that either destroys the pc as a unit or anything that causes your machine to actively destroy data.

To name a few:

* disasters, natural or otherwise, that fry, crush or soak the pc as a whole. (Lightening, earthquake, broken water pipe.)

* Theft or confiscation of your computer. (Sure, you can argue with the DEA that your drug dealing roommate never used your computer, and you might win and get your hardware back. On the other hand, if your roommate manages to pawn it first, you're out of luck.)

* Any trojan, virus, hacker, or dumb friend who deletes your files or screws up your file systems or partitions tables. Sure, in the case of a dumb friend (or a dumb you), you may be able to recover if you discover it soon enough. . . but in that case hardware RAID is likely to make it far MORE of a pain in the ass than it otherwise would have been.

Sure, they're probably all less likely to happen to most home pcs than the failure of a single hard drive. But they're not so unlikely as to be worth ignoring, if you care about your data.

In choosing between RAID, and buying a couple spare drives in portable enclosures and keeping a weekly backup in your desk at work, the later seems quite a lot more attractive to me. Of course both is an even better solution. (Both, with an identical spare RAID card in your desk at work is best of all...)

Re:Uhh... (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865500)

Not only can RAID cards die, they can also go haywire and destroy your array, making it unrecoverable even if you have a replacement.

I've had HP Netraid controllers in old server do this.

Re:Uhh... (2, Interesting)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865814)

"When they break" is the correct answer.
I replaced a drive because the new drive was getting rave reviews. One year later, the Deathstar died. The drive that had been replaced is still running in a friend's computer.

Remember, RAID with mirroring or parity is just for fault tolerance. RAID is not a backup. In a normal desktop, I would buy a faster drive than spend the money on a RAID.

Re:Uhh... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866206)

Remember, RAID with mirroring or parity is just for fault tolerance.

Well, sure but when the fault you are tolerating is the loss of all data on the disk, that's a pretty nice thing.

I know I should be doing regular backups, but I'm lazy. No systems perfect, but drive mirroring has already payed off for me so I think it's worth the extra $100.

5 years (1, Redundant)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865048)

I'm still using a 40 Gig HDD that came with a HP system (not in the same system any more) for the last 5 years. It's a Seagate. But I've used other drives that I've simply disposed of due to limited size and space in the tower that lasted for even longer.

Re:5 years (1, Informative)

Brother Dysk (939885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865114)

10 Gig HDD that came with an IBM PII (I think) is still spinning Windows for my Athlon64. Geek cred +1

Re:5 years (1)

xiao_haozi (668360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865360)

I have a few pre-pentium oem hdds that are still functional...of course I don't rely on any server critical information being on them...but i always have them working for something. (backup copy #3...sample os installs...etc) also went through my hdd collection on the desk and found a Conner FLBC4M4 drive in there...not sure on the age/condition but I'm pretty sure that one was still working as well last time i pulled it out of another pre-pentium box.

Re:5 years (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866116)

I'm not understanding the logic in using old low capacity drives for things.

Lets say for example (merely as an example!) that you have 10 old 10Gig drives spun up "because, well, they still work fine so why throw them away". Lets say they are nice low power drives, say 15W average? So that is 150W of hard drive.

I wont work this out in energy costs, cos everyone round the world pays a different amount, but work it out using your energy costs. How long until you spend more than a 100GB drive would cost you?

This is the main reason I upgrade drives now. Rather than adding more drives to my array, I consolidate down and try to sell off the old ones. This saves electricity, space and if its a problem for you, reduces heat given off.

Re:5 years (2, Funny)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866040)

Geek cred +1
Of course, what you forgot to mention is Windows (on any drive) ... Geek cred -2.


And I'm not sure that using an old drive is worth geek cred points at all, though I guess if it's all that's needed for your particular application, then I guess it's worth a little -- but a full point? Not unless it's ESDI, RLL or MFM!

Re:5 years (1)

undeaf (974710) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865356)

Simply disposed of? Didn't you at least harvest the magnets?

Do Raid 1, replace when 1 goes down (4, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865056)

For home, I never replace a drive unless one goes down. I just have one drive backup to the other (and vice versa) at night, then store my important files at work.

At work, we have everything setup as Raid 1, and only replace drives when they go down, which is rarely. Not sure if this is the best approach, but considering we take offsite incremental backups every 15 minutes it's not really a catastrophic event even if both go down.

I replace them when... (1)

Sinryc (834433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865058)

I replace them when they die or I need more space.

Re:I replace them when... (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865204)

Agreed.

Everything I actually care about is backed up to DVD. Most of the cruft filling my hard drives is either easily delete-able, re-rip-able or re-install-able. Heck, I run RAID 0 on one PC, so it's fairly obvious that all the data on that is lose-able.

Re:I replace them when... (1)

Skidge (316075) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865666)

Same here. And if they're not busted, I don't replace, I just add a new one if there's room for it. I've only had one drive failure in the last 10 years. It was a 120 GB Maxtor, I think. I had my music library on it and a few odds and ends. Luckily, it failed after I had just finished copying the music over to my new (at the time) PowerBook.

I've since added an external 300 GB external drive to my home network, and use it mainly for backing up my music and photos.

One day too late (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865062)

One day too late

Um, never (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865064)

Preemptively replacing hard drives is dumb, sorry. Back things up and replace them when they die, because they will.

Re:Um, never (1)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865498)

I replace one drive in my computer once every year for reliability and capacity reasons, but I use two drives. I take the most recently added drive in the system, which holds my data, and copy it to a new drive. I then copy the oldest drive (which contains the OS, Linux in my case) to my previously-newest drive. I finally put the oldest drive in an external enclosure, back up data that I'd like to keep as long as it fits, remove it from the enclosure, and shelf the drive until I need it. USB2 has made this much easier compared to my previous "add a third drive" method. I tend to spend about $100 on a drive per year, which is cheaper than a few SDLT tapes. It can be rsync'ed to without issue and then disconnected. Since the drive is typically not connected to the system, it tends to last quite some time.

The next year the backup drive is replaced, stuck in my secondary testing PC and wiped with DBAN. I'd rather not use a 3 year old drive in a system I care about. SATA is playing a bit of havoc with my schedule this year, so I've taken the opportunity to replace both drives. My secondary PC has SATA ports, and the newest Seagate 400gb drives are reaching 70mb/sec read speeds according to hdparm, so I don't mind.

Rarely (1)

StithJim (943396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865068)

I hardly ever replace a hard drive. I mean...sure. I've replaced a couple when I make housecalls or whatnot, but I have harddrives on a Gateway 2000 that's past the decade old line that works perfectly. Sure it had a gig and a half, but it works as an internet terminal that runs linux. I've upgraded hard drives, but always keep them around (the magnets are fun to play with) and I am always sure to have a back up or at least multi levels of redundancy to keep things safe.

Be careful with those magnets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865154)

You should really be careful with those magnets. They're extremely powerful.

When I was in college, I knew one guy who took them out of a drive, and was playing with them. This would have been back around 1992, when drives had to use far more powerful magnets than they do today. In short, he somehow got them too close to his scrotum. The two magnets snapped together, crushing one of his testicles. The doctors couldn't do anything but remove what was left. Of course, we laughed at his misfortune until we graduated and moved on.

Re:Be careful with those magnets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865580)

lol.

*snap*

Yesterday (1)

Dik Zak (974638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865082)

Yesterday I replaced my 20GB Fujitsu drive that I've had since 2000. It's still working fine, it just got a bit small. Harddrives are actually astonishingly reliable.

Frequently. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865096)

At least every 3 months. By then the iron on the platters is already starting to oxidize. There are probably errors already being corrected for every 100th sector read, and likely some sectors have been remapped to a different physical location (rather than all in a neat contiguous length of sectors), which slows down my PostgreSQL sequence scans when the table is out of cache.

Re:Frequently. (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865218)

WHAT?!

Re:Frequently. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865288)

I'm just making shit up, I was hoping for a reaction like that. Seriously though, I keep backups of important data and replace the HDs when they die.

Re:Frequently. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865332)

Only a Slashdot editor does that. Now get back into the basement. :P

Re:Frequently. (1)

ScrappyLaptop (733753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865508)

Good beer, right out the nose...it's a shame to waste it like that.

Re:Frequently. (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866136)

Good beer, right out the nose...it's a shame to waste it like that.


Isn't that alcohol abuse? :D

Anyway, last hard drive upgrade I did was what I would call an upgrade of opportunity. I had recently scored a nice system for $25 at a thrift store. This "greenbox" system, as I call them, is a Gateway box with a 1.5GHz P4, a pair of 256MB PC800 RIMMs (I went ahead and shelled out the $75 on eBay for 2 more 256MB sticks for her), CD-RW drive, 40GB hard drive, and a few other goodies.

I went ahead and pulled the drive and replaced the 13GB drive that was serving as /dev/hdd in my main system with it. The 13GB went into the Gateway box, since it was still perfectly good. Before that though, I replaced the 8GB drive that was serving as /dev/hdb, since I thought it was going bad. The new drive is 200GB. I later discovered that the problem with the old drive was simply a loose interface cable. So that drive is now in my Hardware Testing Station (a Dell Optiplex something or other...Pentium 200, 128MB RAM.)

Also, I recently replaced the 810MB hard drive in my other laptop (just an old Toshiba Satellite running 98SE Lite) with a 6GB drive, and the 810 is in my even older WfW 3.11 TI Extensa Laptop, and the Extensa's old 540MB drive was resold on eBay for a fiver, if I remember right.

Hardware generally does not go to waste around here, unless it's undeniably dead.

But normally, like many others here, I just add drives as needed, such as the 250GB Linkstation network drive that is connected directly to my home network's switch, or the 300GB USB hard drive I bought last summer for my primary laptop (Gateway MX6440). Generally, hard drive upgrades and additions are done because I want to and can do it.

Re:Frequently. (1)

holdenholden (961300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865456)

Main screen turn on...

Water cooling gone bad? Hmm? Hmmm???? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865648)

By then the iron on the platters is already starting to oxidize.

my, oh my. I never thought someone would take the phrase "water-cooling" a computer to the extreme, and actually submerging the whole damn thing in water. I am blown away that your harddrive actually rusted to death, and didn't stop working immediately. Do you have a connection with a HD manufacturer's secret R&D department for waterproof harddrives that you aren't telling us about?

when it broke (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865112)

after like a year of constant 140F-ish temps, my laptop hard drive finally died. Then I replaced it lol. Other than that why would you put yourself through the hell of reinstalling XP and all your software? Imaging rarely works cuz of XP protections for OS drives and you'll often find yourself talking to Indian people about why you're reinstalling XP. There's just no reason to replace them until they break, just back up your data often.

when they die (1)

B00yah (213676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865116)

for serial. I keep any pertinent personal data on other local drives than the OS itself, and then replicate that data out to my file/backup server, which does raid. If at any point any drive in there fails, I'll replace it, but not until it dies. Drives shelf lives are variable, and I want the most for my buck.

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865118)

never

I moved from 80 gig to 300-400 gig.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865158)

(hi, using AC since im too lazy to log in)

I found the Seagate 300 gb 16 meg cache IDE drive to be at a nice price point ($95 or so), so I popped one of those in my old crapbox. It runs pretty damn nice, so I added a 400 when those were on sale with crappy rebate (about $110, iirc).

Seagate is good about their rebates, actually, I have gotten them quickly.

The 5 year warranty is not bad, either. Just do as the company says to and use a cooling fan on the drive, they love to run hot. I have yet to have one fail on me, but since drives are moving parts there is always the possibility.

I would not go back to smaller sized drives, it seems like once I add a new one it fills up fast.

Sure, sometimes an old drive can be trusted, but only as far as it can be thrown. What old pulls I have played with, I've wasted some major brands (maxtor, wd, maybe a quantum too) but I have yet to waste a Seagate....YMMV~

Outpost.com usually has some nice deals on retail boxes.

Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (4, Interesting)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865180)

I started building computers twelve years ago.

The only drive I've had die before I retired it myself from sheer obsolescence was an IBM 20GB "DeskStar" model; this happened about five years ago, IIRC. The drive made noise and froze the system when I would read particular files; to my frustration, it occurred when I read some of the files that were important to me (documents, programming projects, one folder of MP3s, etc.)

My solution was to put the drive in the freezer for a few hours; UNBELIEVABLY, it worked - I would have about ten minutes to copy as much as I could off the drive before it would start making noise again. I got most of what I needed off of it.

Incidentally, IBM was very good about the whole thing; they sent me a new drive the day I called them. Too bad they sold their HD division to Hitachi...

Anyway, I've had FAR worse luck with power supplies; I usually go through one of those every other year. Recently, ALL of the drives in my RAID 5 array (4x 120GB Seagate drives) as well as a fifth one (an identical Seagate 120GB that's standalone) started making noise at around the same time; of course I assumed there was some defect with this particular drive model.

But thankfully, it turned out only to be my power supply (the +5V line would deliver +4.4V ~ +4.6V, while the +12V line would fluctuate between +11V and +13V). I can only conclude that Seagate drives are less tolerant than IBM/Hitachi's of power supply fluctuations, since I also have an old 80GB IBM/Hitachi Deskstar and a much newer 250GB SATA IBM/Hitachi drive, and neither batted an eye.

Likewise, the system showed no other symptoms that pointed at the power supply; so a week or so ago, this post would have looked very different, with a few "F-You Seagate"'s thrown in there. :)

Re:Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (3, Informative)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865436)

Just a tip on the power supply sutuation. Spend a bit of extra cash and get a name brand one. The fans are quieter and the lifetime is a great deal longer plus they are generally a lot more efficient.

I'd always stinged out on the power supply but ever since I took the plunge and got a good one I'll never go back.

Re:Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865616)

Can I ask for some recommendations? Little late at this point, but it would still be useful info. :-)

The one that died was an Antec 430W; it came with my case and was manufactured in 2002 (although when I built it I put a 480W in there which I fried two years ago and switched back to the stock one; this was incredibly stupid of me. I blamed myself both times since I was running 6 hard drives, 5 case fans, an All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro and a Creative Live Drive, on top of the usual CPU cooler, CD-ROM, floppy, etc.)

I believe RAID is a little more stressful on the power supply than standalone drives because they all read/write at exactly the same times.

I replaced it with a 550W Antec (the repair guy that I took the PS to for testing recommended not switching brands but getting an Active-PFC supply and more watts); additionally I broke my RAID array apart and only have 4 HDD's in there now. Everybody I've ever talked to recommends Antec; most of the user reviews on sites like Newegg are good for Antec products, and I seem to see an excess of "no-name" brands in the power supply department... not a lot of brands I really know except for the same ones that make fans & whatnot.

But, if this PS dies, I'm never buying Antec again.

Incidentally, this one cost me $130 + tax at Microcenter, while there were others with nearly identical specs for $60. I would have bought from Newegg, but paid more for the "I need it right now" factor.

Re:Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865818)

I've heard nothing but bad stories about Antec supplies. Mine died awhile ago after working for only 9 months. I got an Enermax.

power supply recommendation (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866008)

PC Power & Cooling. Don't bother with anything else. I have yet to have one die on me, and I've been using them for around ten years. Their Silencer models are awesome.

Re:Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (1)

Arctic Dragon (647151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865502)

I've experienced the same bad luck with power supplies. I have yet to experience a hard drive failure (I'm currently using drives from Maxtor, Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital and Samsung; I have a 5GB Maxtor manufactured in 1997 that still works fine), but it's a different story with power supplies. I've seen about a half dozen fry in the past couple years; the computer I'm using now, built in October 2005, is on its third one.

I've been lucky to never have had to replace a hard drive. I've always been able to remove them and install them in newly-built boxes to store pr0n.

Re:Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (1)

Fonce (635723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865880)

Do note that your power supply's performance can affect drive life, or the life of any component, for that matter. A smoothly running supply tends to lead to smoothly running hardware. One that keeps varying in voltage, particularly above the intended, tends to wear on parts faster, particularly hard drives.

I have a dual-Xeon setup and as a result, I use a server power supply. I believe it's 600w. Anyway, it's worked more smoothly than any I've ever had, including some good ones.

I'd recommend Ultra, Thermaltake, and Silverstone power supplies, particularly in the higher wattages. Ultra's X-Connect are awfully good. I've not had one fail and I've put probably 25 in here and there. SuperMicro makes incredible power supplies that are designed for abuse, but these are truly server PSUs.

As for hard drives, keeping them cool is key. I've yet to run across a modern hard drive that doesn't run incredibly hot, so having a fan blowing across it/them (preferably drawing directly from the outside) and having an exhaust fan in the back along with using a drive spindown for when you're away for long periods of time are your best bets for drive longevity. I've got six Seagate 120Gb that are in my media server and they spent three years on a college LAN getting slammed 24/7. I kept them cool and they've kept me lousy with music. So keep your drives cool, well-powered, and turned off when they're not used and you'll have them around for a long time.

Re:Good Luck w/ HDD's, Bad Luck w/ Power Supplies (1)

cruachan (113813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865912)

I've had similar experiences. My home office generaly has around 10 - 20 harddrives running in various, generally around 6 or 7, machines. A few years ago when HD's were around the 20 - 40Gb capacity I used to loose one a year or so, but always with indications of something going wrong and time to back-off. More recently I've not had a HD go for some considerable time but I've been loosing a PSU a year - they used never to die.

Because I live in a rural location I've always keep a spare HD so I could back of data immediatly I found a problem (ok, critical stuff is regulalrly backed up anyway), and since PSUs seemed to become an issue I keep a spare one of those too.

Which is not to say most HD seem never to fail. My oldest functioning one is a 8Gb on a P450 linux machine which is used for downloading and some test server functionality. Runs fine.

Vote (0, Troll)

Holi (250190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865182)

I vote for this as one of the dumbest questions ever, replace them when they die, before is a waste of money.

That's easy (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865206)

When they start to play the violin, it's time to kick their butt outta the case.

S.M.A.R.T. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865224)

I replace my hard drive when the S.M.A.R.T. info starts to signify problems, such as too many relocated sectors.

Hard drives suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865240)

Hard drives are the single most common point of failure for hard drives.

You really see it in laptops. Remember how quiet your laptop was when you first bought it and started it up? And now, a year or two later, you can hear it read the hard drive from across the room? Keep using it and you'll get these surprisingly loud clicks and soon things will be a-corruptin'.

Now Linux nerds with closets full of beloved "vintage" computers might find their hard drives last forever, but those of us who use our computers find that only rarely do hard drives pass their third birthday without some bad sectors spreading like cancer.

They're cheap enough that business travelers I know are putting their important data on flash drives and treating their laptops' hard drives as essentially disposable. Road warriors are lucky to get a reliable year. Fortunately a new laptop hard drive is less than a new laptop battery.

As they miniaturize they become more fragile ... I just wish people were better about following through with RMAs. They just take so darn long.

Don't pre-emptively replace hard drives (5, Informative)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865244)

As I've already seen a couple of people say, don't preemptively replace your hard drives.

Allow me to add: Here's why.

Hardware failure rates follow a curve on average. They fail a lot after initial purchase, then slope down to their minimum after a couple of [relevant time periods] (probably "weeks" or "months" for hard drives, varies by what kind of thing it is), then slowly slopes upwards again.

(Please do not miss the phrase "on average". Certain specific flaws can cause a certain product line to have unusual characteristics, like a sudden spike at six months or something. However, unless you somehow figure out a way to guess which hard drives are going to have such failures in six months when it's pretty amazing for the exact same hard drive to even be on the market for six months, the fact that these things can theoretically happen can't have much impact on your decisions. After all, if you knew that was going to happen, you'd just plain not buy the drive, period, regardless of the argument in this post.)

Therefore, if you've got a "burned in" drive, you will be replacing a known-high-reliablility component with a component with a lower expected reliability. (I use "expected" in the probability/statistics sense here.) Unless you've discovered that you do have one of those funky products that all die in ten months, this is a bad move on average.

I replace hard drives when they fail. I try to act as if they could die at any minute, although I fail.

(But I try to get better. I'm in an all-laptop house, so it's difficult to have the convenience of an integrated backup solution and an automated, unforgettable script. However, with the recent Linux kernels finally supporting my SD card reader, I've gotten a high-capacity, slow, cheap SD card to stick in the previously-useless slot and I have an rsync now backing up the files I'd cry if I lost every hour. Sure, 1GB can't backup my entire system but most people's "cry if I lost it" datasets would fit into that. (Yes, there are exceptions... but if you're one of them, you've already got another back up solution in place, right? Right?))

Re:Don't pre-emptively replace hard drives (0)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865308)

I respectfully disagree. Here are three reasons:

The hard drive industry (so far) has this magical quality of doubling their products' capacity every year or two. This dovetails nicely with the rate at which crap piles up on your hard drive, necessitating an upgrade of capacity.

Disk drives have bearings and heads that wear out over time. They may not wear out enough to fail in a couple years, but why go through the grief of a disk crash if you don't have to?

New software comes out every few years, such as new OS versions etc. If you are planning to install a new OS on your computer, why not do a clean install on a shiny hew disk drive and keep the old one on hand as insurance against catastrophe?

Re:Don't pre-emptively replace hard drives (2, Informative)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865690)

[W]hy go through the grief of a disk crash if you don't have to?

If you have proper backups, a disk crash is no more grief than installing a new drive.

I've had two hard drives fail in the last 6 months (Same model. Adjacent serial numbers even)
Here's now much grief they gave me:

1) Get a new hard drive.
2) Unplug old drive.
3) Plug in new drive.

Exactly the same as if I replaced them before they failed.

Drive Failures (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16866398)

Every drive failure I've experienced has had two things in common.

1. There were obvious warning signs(strange noises, etc) while the drive was still functioning properly.
2. The failure isn't sudden death of the drive, the drive has a fairly long period of almost working right.

Replacing the drive as soon as it starts to exhibit problems is much more important than worrying about the age of the drive.

No need... No harddrive! (4, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865250)

Running Knoppix on a dumb terminal with only a cd-rom drive, network card, motherboard, etc. without a harddrive, and then backing up everything onto a server over a broadband internet connection. Off site data center takes care of data backup, redundancy, etc. No mess!

God I hate hard drives (1)

anom (809433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865272)

First year in college, 2 maxtor 250's died. RMA'd and both warranty replacements died. Then the HD in my laptop died. Then one other random HD died. That's why I have everything important on at least 3 hard drives and use RAID5 for all of my general storage.

Re:God I hate hard drives (1)

DirtyHerring (635192) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865754)

Maybe you should get better power supplies?

Re:God I hate hard drives (1)

anom (809433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866082)

Tested the voltage on them several times and they checked out.

Fileserver (2, Interesting)

mauldus (661873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865276)

I don't upgrade single drives at a time. I have dedicated file servers to put the majority of my data on. The first was 8x20GB drives, then 8x120GB drives and my current is 8x250GB drives. I rebuild when I run out of space and can afford the upgrade. When I do, I take down the old system and have several drives to throw around in spare systems and friends computers. This happens every few years I guess. The file servers are all RAID 5 and I upgraded to a gigabit network with the last one so it's pretty speedy and redundant. It's also handy when you have data to share between several computers and several users. Though, I believe my next system will simply be a MacPro with 3x750GB drives. I'm getting to the point where I wish the majority of my data was on my computer locally so I don't have to worry about permissions and resource forks. I'm also getting tired of the whole second-computer-for-data thing. I'm ready to consolidate. I guess I'll finally have to do decent backups though in case a drive goes down.

when they die (1)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865302)

The last time I had to replace a drive (in my own system) was 3 years ago. Not sure what happened, just came home one day and my computer wouldn't even post with that drive installed. Was a 60 gig Maxtor that was still under warranty, they replaced it with a newer model. I still use that drive to this date along with a 120 gig thats about 2 years old and a 300 gig sata drive I got last month.

From what I've seen harddrives have a very good life expectancy for electronics with moving parts. I know people still using 8 gig drives that don't show any signs of failure. I even have a very old laptop with a 800meg drive that still boots and doesn't have bad sectors.

What I do in cases of a used drives is check for signs of failure, bad sectors, file system corruption ect. As well as cycling the system to a full power down ware the drive stops spinning a good 5-6 times in a row. (being the local computer hobbiest I get asked to fix or build computers for people that don't have the money for new)

 

Replace them when they blow up. (3, Insightful)

Spit (23158) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865316)

And recover them from the backup. You do make backups don't you?

Yeah, this is pretty subjective (2, Insightful)

webheaded (997188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865340)

I've got drives older than I am sitting around that still work. Granted I don't use them anymore, but they ran for quite some time.

As most people have said, the best thing to do is backup a lot, and replace it when it starts to go bad. If it starts making loud crazy noises, chances are its on its last leg. If you get random boot errors...same thing. Basically, when it starts fucking up, its probably time for a replacement, but beyond that...well...just ride it out. Don't spend money you don't need to spend just to keep on a schedule. As long as you back up things that are terribly important you should not have a problem.

For the 80 gigs of pr0n well...its not like you watch ALL of it anymore anyway right? You're gonna get new porn regardless so its probably not a huge loss if that all goes down with your HDD. Then again, they are coming out with some rather large new removeable formats (Blu-ray or HDDVD) so maybe its not as hard to backup as you'd think. ;)

Until they make odd noises (2, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865380)

Until they start sounding funny, generally, but I always make backups of real data.

Never. (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865406)

I've never had a hard disk die on my personal computers (Although I seen dozens of dead SCSI drives in servers) and never needed to replace one. If I start running low on space I just offload to firewire drives, DVDs, etc., but mechanical failure has never been an issue.

when they die ... or I kill them. (1)

ssand (702570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865490)

I've only had two hard drives die on me. The first being a 12 GB hard drive that died 8 months ago that was over 7 years old. The second one, I fried when I hacked together a machine for my workbench. What may be your best option would be to get one backup drive, internal or external, and use it strictly for backing up your important data once a week or so. This way you have a backup hard drive that is rarely used, and you can replace your drives if they die.

Dont do it now if you are doing Vista (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865496)

I have about 3 100gb drives, 1 300gb drive, and 1 200gb drive.

I recently dumped them all in favor of 2 fast and quiet 320 gb sata seagate drives. First, because of power and heat concerns (I figure 2 hard drives compared to 5 would have less heat concerns) and second because of noise (the maxtor and samsung drives seemed unusually loud, like they were about to fail).

For some reason my crappy sony DVD recorder didn't like sharing an IDE with a hard drive (yes, I tried all the different master slave and cable select options), and my new motherboard only has one IDE slot (I have no idea why), so I had to replace all my IDE drives with sata drives anyways.

I figure these will last me a good 5-6 years unless WD releases a 10,000rpm 3gb/s raptor drive that is both quiet and blows these drives out of the water (the raptors are faster, but not by much).

However, my main point is that if you are upgrading to Vista (yah, I know, this is slashdot), don't upgrade now if you are patient (I'm not). Samsung will be releasing a flash hybrid harddrive compatible with vista (and perhaps linux) in January that should speed up boot up and cache times.

As needed (1)

Gemini_25_RB (997440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865514)

When the drive breaks, starts to run slow, or has other problems, I replace it. When it runs out of space, I get an additional drive (and throw out the oldest/smallest/junkiest one I have).

When they fail (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865530)

I make sure I back up all my important data. When one craps out, I buy another one. Sort of a poor man's RAID 1.

Never underestimate the power of simplicity.

When they fail or if I need more space (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865544)

I replace them only when they fail or if I need more space. Seriously, hard drives are getting cheaper every day. Why buy ahead if you don't need to? My home server's system drive is a 13GB Maxtor that I bought in 1998. I have Debian and swap installed on it. I keep all of my data on six 200GB drives with software RAID5. Sure, the 13 gig could die at any moment so I keep backups and run smartmontools [sourceforge.net] to help warn me if it's about to die. But if it's not broke, don't fix it.

dont replace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865556)

I dont replace them, i just relocated them, to my wall of shame (DeathStars {ibm}, Maxtor {extra crunchy}, Seagate {only my controller failed, go fig}) .....one torx screwdriver away from fingerprints

smartmontools... (1)

mkoz (323688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865592)

Check out smartmontools (http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/) it is a very good way to keep track of drive health... but backups are always good ;-)

HDs aren't built like they used to be (1)

phizman (742537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865614)

From the time of my 20MB HD in my first 286 until about the time 40GB drives were common, I didn't have a single drive die. I think maybe a couple sectors on one 2GB disk, but it never got any worse. I used to laugh at people who ever had a HD die.

Well ever since disks have gone over 40GB, I've had nothing but bad luck. I'd guess across all my systems I have about 8 HDs running and have a HD die on me about every 6 months. I try to ensure that all the drives are well cooled and that the case is solidly mounted to elimiate vibrations, but they still die. HD prices have dropped, their capacity increased, but their reliabilty dropped. Now I just buy drives in pairs because I can't trust drives anymore.

On top of everything being RAID to make up for crappy HDs, I still had storage issues but this time getting burned by a bad SATA controller. It occasionally wrote corrupted blocks to one of the disks in the set without erroring, but it was definately a noticeable problem when files would randomly be corrupted.

Best way to sum it up: don't trust your HDs to last, don't trust your controller, don't trust your RAID, and don't trust your backups. Be as paranoid as possible with your backups by making sure you can actually read your own backups and make more then one backup.

Wha...? (1)

segin (883667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865640)

REPLACE hard drives? I usually just keep them around until I get tired of the knocking noise, after which I use the magnets to build GSM signal jammers, because them damn cellular phones keep putting a weird clicking noise on my sound system. Then people are all whiny cause their phone doesn't work, and I just don't know why :) I even suggested to someone that they wrapped the arm the held the phone up in with tin foil and they actually did!

When they're too small. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16865646)

I've been using home computers since before they had harddrives, and in all this time I've had only two failures. ... I just did a quick count of current and retired drives in the house: 17. That doesn't include drives I've put in gift machines, or tossed in periodic clean-outs. (Overdue for another, yes.)

Perhaps I've been lucky, but I've also come to suspect that people with chronic failures have bad power supplies and/or tight, hot cases. Keep your drives spaced and cool.

So I just buy new drives as the size-price ratio makes it absurd to not upgrade, and retire the old ones farther down the ide and into secondary machines. Eventually a drive is too small to bother with, like, these days, anything smaller than a DVDRW.

That normal upgrade cycle has kept me and friends and family ahead of any old-drive-failure point there might be.

More regularly than I'd like (1)

dalutong (260603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865656)

I have had to replace a few hard drives (in multiple machines) over the past few years. Maybe 1/4 of all my machines have had some hard drive problem. I've come to the point where I always have a regular backup system for all of my machines. If I could have a RAID-1 setup on my laptop I would. I have software RAID on most of my desktops/pseudo-servers. Maybe that's excessive (if it is non-essential stuff then a usb backup is enough) but I've had enough bad luck that I'm sick of losing data. And hard drives are just so cheap nowadays.

Old drives LESS likely to fail? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865838)

It's been my experience that hard drives will either fail within a year or two, or will last quite a long time.

Although I know from an engineering standpoint, that old drives would appear to be more prone to failure, I've observed that drive failures tend to be randomly distributed events. In other words, a new drive may be just as likely to fail as an old drive -- it's just a matter of odds and time.

Swapping out an old drive for a new one does not even necessarily reduce the risk of failure. Many drives fail in their first months of operation. QA certainly isn't what it used to be.

If you're this concerned about the integrity of your data, you should be making frequent backups and/or using a mirrored RAID setup. With RAID you don't need to worry about drives aging and swapping them in and out, because you lose nothing when a drive fails, allowing you to wait until it does so, eliminating any guesswork. When a drive fails, you replace it, and in the meantime the spare picks up the slack. As long as you've got a clean power source, and replace the dead drive in a timely manner, the odds of the other drive failing in the interim are miniscule. (If you're *really* worried, you can jump up to a 3 or 4 drive configuration, although at that point, you should probably be considering some sort of tape backup solution instead to cut out the power supply as a variable)

In other words, don't sweat it. Keep an eye on the SMART data, and use RAID, and for all intents and purposes, you can sleep soundly at night.

It depends on price (2, Informative)

hansendc (95162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865938)

Rule number one: always keep an extra drive around. Drives are cheap, and they die regularly. Also, the cost of buying that _one_ extra drive is constant. You always have an extra drive around. It's not like you have to buy two each time you go to the store. You drives will die at 8pm on a Sunday night, just before you go on that 3-week business trip, otherwise. I promise.

Rule number two: never spend more than $100. The best $/GB always seems to me to be in the $100 range these days. I usually make sure to pick up drives at Fry's whenever I see something substantially larger than what I have now for less than $100.

Rule number three: Stay ahead of drive failures. If you have important data on those crappy, cheap $100 IDE drives, replace them every two years at least. In those two years, you can double your capacity for less cost. Use the old drives for backups of important stuff, just in case a newer drive bites the dust. Or, leave it as-is, and use it like a snapshot of your working data.

Re:It depends on price (0, Redundant)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866436)

In my experience, if you buy a $100 drive to have as a spare, by the time one of your existing drives failed, that $100 drive will be of a size so small you can't even purchase it anymore, and will certainly be smaller than you want. Also, if you are anything like me you'll need a spare SATA disk, a PATA disk, and a 2.5" disk. Now you are talking about $300 (more in my currency), and there are better things to buy for that kind of money.

My rules would be:
. Run RAID such that you have 1 redundant drive per 1-4 other drives (eg a single RAID5 set of no more than 5 disks, or just RAID1 on two disks). Buy a laptop that does RAID1.
. Back up your stuff.
. Actually monitor your disks. Modern disks should indicate that there are problems long before getting the data off becomes a problem. Sometimes they go from working perfectly to completely dead (motor or head actuator burnout), but often it's a gradual thing. A client of ours had a computer running for months that would take 10 minutes or more to boot because there were some 'barely readable' sectors. Proper disk monitoring [sh/w]ould have picked it up much earlier.

Wait, we replace them? (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865962)

God... I have a 10MB hard drive (it's part of an IBM XT, which I got from my maternal grandfather) that, to the best of my knowledge, still works. Though that whole system's been sitting out in the garage for a couple of years now, so I don't know how reliable it is anymore. Generally I don't worry about replacing the hard drives in a system - when a system becomes too old or otherwise nonfunctional, every functional hard drive (and even marginal ones, if I have a Linux boot disk - dd is great) gets migrated over to the new system if possible. This is why I've had to actually buy an ATA controller card - the current system has three HDs and two DVD+/-RW drives in it, all ATA. (It's also about five years old - older Athlon OCed to be about a 2200+, 1.25GB RAM, Win2K, etc.) I'm so not looking forward to the next new system I get - it'll eventually be dealing with something on the order of 8-10 SATA drives, I imagine...

Depends on how you use your Hard drives... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865968)

As someone who uses drives 24/7 (they are on all the time) it is better to sell them on ebay before their warranty is up. Now that Seagate has 5 year warranty on their standard drives, always sell them at around the 1.5-2 year mark and upgrade to newer drives. If you don't use your drives 24/7 and only use them much more rarely then you can get away with not replacing them longer but...

I have learned the hardway from when I was younger: If you can afford RAID, even simply mirroring, do it. I use RAID 5 and there is no way I'm ever going back to a non-RAID setup, you save loads of time in not having to back stuff up to CD or DVD. Although you should ALWAYS back up smaller important files to either 1) Flash or 2) CD/DVD.

Some information is irreplacable, never get complacent. Especially since computers are now the nerve centers of our lives in many respects, they hold countless hours of work and irreplacable memories (photo's, etc).

Regularly enough for resale value (1)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16865990)

This may go against the grain here, but I replace my desktop drive about every 12-18 months. As I see it, here are the benefits of doing so: +1) The drive still has decent resale value at that point, particularly if you sell on a computer forum and not on ebay. This helps reduce the cost of the hard drive update. +2) Drive capacities are increasing quickly while costs continue to decline. This reduces the cost of the upgrade. +3) Replacing before the warranty period is up means that the likelihood of experiencing a hard drive failure is low. +4) While WinXP is a lot better than Win9x, it still doesn't hurt to do a fresh reinstall every 12-18 months. A hard disk replacement is the perfect timing for this. Of course, there are some valid counter-arguments to these points: -1) Security. (i.e., somebody could recover your private data.) I run Darik's Boot 'n' Nuke a few times, so I'm not terribly concerned about this. After running such a program, the odds of somebody successfully recovering data on a home budget are pretty low. -2) You may be replacing too often. Well, I can't do much about that. But good drives don't cost much more than $100-$150 these days. A little peace of mind is worth something, and the regular size/speed upgrades are a nice bonus. -3) This is no substitute for backups. I completely agree, and make backups of my most critical data to remote servers. -4) Perhaps this isn't necessary. Perhaps not, but a fresh format is a helpful after 18 months. Any way around it, I acknowledge that this strategy is a bit more expensive than may be necessary, but it has served me well in the past six years +. I've only had one drive fail in the past, back when I let my drives go well beyond the warranty period. Of course, that drive was a total loss, with no recovery of value to apply to the new drive, and there were some non-recoverable files. In my opinion, preventing problems before they occur is preferable, and getting speed and capacity boosts are just icing on the cake. -- Paul

Regularly enough for resale value (w/ formatting) (1)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866028)

I accidentally posted my comment (meant to click preview) without inserting my formatting tags. Please disregard and read this instead. Sorry!! -- Paul

This may go against the grain here, but I replace my desktop drive about every 12-18 months. As I see it, here are the benefits of doing so:

+1) The drive still has decent resale value at that point, particularly if you sell on a computer forum and not on ebay. This helps reduce the cost of the hard drive update.

+2) Drive capacities are increasing quickly while costs continue to decline. This reduces the cost of the upgrade.

+3) Replacing before the warranty period is up means that the likelihood of experiencing a hard drive failure is low.

+4) While WinXP is a lot better than Win9x, it still doesn't hurt to do a fresh reinstall every 12-18 months. A hard disk replacement is the perfect timing for this.

Of course, there are some valid counter-arguments to these points:

-1) Security. (i.e., somebody could recover your private data.) I run Darik's Boot 'n' Nuke [sourceforge.net] a few times, so I'm not terribly concerned about this. After running such a program, the odds of somebody successfully recovering data on a home budget are pretty low.

-2) You may be replacing too often. Well, I can't do much about that. But good drives don't cost much more than $100-$150 these days. A little peace of mind is worth something, and the regular size/speed upgrades are a nice bonus.

-3) This is no substitute for backups. I completely agree, and make backups of my most critical data to remote servers.

-4) Perhaps this isn't necessary. Perhaps not, but a fresh format is a helpful after 18 months.

Any way around it, I acknowledge that this strategy is a bit more expensive than may be necessary, but it has served me well in the past six years +. I've only had one drive fail in the past, back when I let my drives go well beyond the warranty period. Of course, that drive was a total loss, with no recovery of value to apply to the new drive, and there were some non-recoverable files. In my opinion, preventing problems before they occur is preferable, and getting speed and capacity boosts are just icing on the cake. -- Paul

Once they're fragmented (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866016)

because honestly, what's the point of defragmenting a hard drive? It's just going to fragment again. And don't get me started about journalized file systems, that'd make too much bloody sense!

don't use the raid chip on your motherboard (1)

Matje (183300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866044)

Chances are your motherboard will have a built-in raid chip. You'd be well advised to skip that chip and use a PCI raid card or some other solution.
Since the onboard raid chips are tied to a specific CPU family, you won't be able to move your hdd's to a new motherboard in a couple of years time. I just found out this week that the raid i'm running from an intel ICH6R chipset on an ASUS motherboard cannot be migrated to an Intel Core 2 Duo because the ICH6R chip doesn't support that CPU...

such bad memories (1)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866246)

I remember, a young(er) me waking up bright and early on a saturday morning to begin preparations for a LAN party with the guys. Pepsi, hot pockets, plenty of extension cords, gamecu--... what's that clicking noise? !@#$%^&*()!!!

Not often... (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866338)

My first two hard drives were a 17GB Seagate and a 80GB Western Digital. Still using both of them (the Seagate was pretty cheap, but the WD was one of the first 7200rpm drives here).

Niggers. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16866346)

The answer we were looking for was "Niggers". We would have also accepted "Niggras".

How Often Do You Replace Your Hard Drives? (1)

mcocke (710952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16866420)

When they fail... With Maxtors, generally that's warranty period + 1 week. Seagates and Western Digitals, generally warranty + 1 year. Of the 3 brands, Maxtor has the worst chance of not making it to warranty - I don't use them anymore.
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