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Magnetic Wobbles Cause Hard Drive Failure

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the shake-it-up dept.

Hardware 276

An anonymous reader writes "According to this report by IT PRO, scientists working at the University of California have discovered the main reason of hard drive failure. According to researchers, some materials used in hard drives are better at damping spin precession than others. Spin precession of magnetic material effects its neighbors' polarity and this can spread and cause sections of hard drives to spontaneously change polarity and lose data. This is known as a magnetic avalanche. So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!"

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Sigh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910219)

Pretty sure this will also keep Linux from starting!

Re:Sigh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910573)

Well no shit, my car won't start if the engine dies either. Which moron is modding the parent "insightful".

Re:Sigh (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910625)

Afaik_ianal's Law: As the order of posting approaches first, the probability that your post will be moderated one way or the other approaches 1.

Since the FP was more-or-less on topic and not an obvious troll, the inevitable moderation just happened to be in the positive direction.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910739)

ahhh... the PC PC

Re:Sigh (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910741)

Only if you're making the assumption that Linux is running from a hard disk installation. Plenty of linuxes are actually run from a cd drive, in which case the poster is correct: this is really mainly a Windows issue.

Re:Sigh (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910899)

You can run WinPE from a CD too.

Re:Sigh (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 6 years ago | (#19911053)

Only for 24 hours at a go. After that, it auto-reboots to keep you from using it as your primary OS.

How timely... (1)

MonorailCat (1104823) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910241)

Windows has lunched critical startup files on me twice in the last two weeks, pretty sad for a 1.8yr old device.

How timely...Windows math. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910935)

Tell me about it. W2k(nonbootable CD)+SATA+Nonbootable PC=PITA. Doubly bad because this is the third times it's happened.

Re:How timely... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19911049)

I don't get myself whether this will improve Windows though. As you mention, Windows itself tends to eat files just for the fun of it. I've lost more drives in addition to sporadic data from Windows then ALL the hard drives that have died on me on all my machines in the past 10 years.

My favorite was using Windows Update "Hardware, Optional." I had a Western Digital PCI card because my motherboard BIOS didn't support large drives (>137gb or whatever) and that was the only way to do it (nowadays, clipped drives are actually read properly). Anyways, the card worked fine, I accessed the files regularly; 4 200gb drives hooked up to that card. On checking for security fixes one day as I reguarly do since I was running IE6 and XP, I noticed the (0) ahd changed to a (1). Saw there was a driver update. Hmmm....

Yes, I was suscipious. Yes, I know if it ain't broke, don't fix it, i.e. don't update your BIOS if everything works fine sort of philosophy. But it was OFFICIAL man. You also have to remember, this is after MS giving all that PR about WHQL or official approved drivers and software. And this was being pushed on MS's own site as an approved update. It was like Microsoft was saying, "Just do it. Your machine'll run better." It was, after all, a cleared driver coming from the main company itself. I even hated using Windows (although not as much as I hate it nowadays) and read /. and agree with the anti-MS sentiment and used to be a Mac user.

I installed the driver. It required a reboot. I rebooted. And XP promptly went about "fixing" allocation errors etc. on all the drives...Drive Check or whatever it's now called on startup popped up to fix "corrupt" files and "allocation errors." Hmmm...I was suspicious again, was going to pull the power plug (4 drives after all, going through each one after the other), then decided, "Nah, approved update."

I never felt stupider in front of a computer. Take the shock of losing hardware or data, and multiply by 100. I was, quite literally, ashamed, and on the edge of just giving up on computers entirely despite using them for over a decade. The update for some reason made the drives unreadable from their then current state, so drive check was set on them, which FARKED the master tables totally. The data itself is there, but without the tables, nothing corresponds. I still have the drives in the corner--partial files, file name mismatches, it's horrific. The filenames no longer corresponds with the correct files, i.e. file1 now points to part of data from file3 which was 4gb but now 1.3gb.

Shame turned to sheer and complete smoldering anger. The result? It accelerated me setting up a big NAS setup by over a year. I will not upgrade to Vista. I will not buy another XP box or MS upgrade or MS software at all. I now use Ubuntu or OpenBSD on all my new machines. I am migrating my old Win98 machines to Linux boxes. I will have a few XP machines for like web viewing and crap and since I just haven't really gotten around to figuring out what I want to do with them, but I dread the data on them such that I now backup even non-critical files, because the hassle of simply just redownloading or restoring them or reinstalling or recovering or re-encoding a large CD collection or the sheer inconvenience of it all just outweighs the cost of getting 2 drives instead of 1. (I backed up critical stuff regularly before this experience.) And any business machines, which I usually have 1 or 2 in the set that has XP on it simply because I felt it needed to be there, is strictly not now. I'd rather buy 2 500gb and mirror data periodically then send 1 penny on Windows or MS software (and I haven't bought their hardware either despite liking MS keyboards and webcams...I half think that the keyboard is going to explode or the webcam suddenly going to have a stepper motor or something hidden in it that's going to switch on and follow me into the shower or something--I'm that paranoid, half-assed jokingly cynical about any MS product).

Question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910249)

So why does this only effect Windows?

Re:Question (5, Funny)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910283)

It doesn't effect Windows at all, actually. It might, however, affect Windows.

Re:Question (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910689)

Actually, perhaps a case can be made that you and all the other grammar-Nazis are wrong! Harddrive failures effect Windows, since I betcha lots of those failures lead to purchases of new machines, which almost inevitably come with a Windows license -- cha-ching! A new Windows license, out of thin air! Effected by an HD failure!

(Seriously, though, I'm currently frustrated by this very thing, since my notebook's HD is dead as a doorknob -- it only works at all with a livecd. I'm choked about the situation because I really don't want to buy a new notebook with a Windows license, but it looks like the best deal I can get right now doesn't have the option for anything else. I'll be kinda sad if I end up "owning" a copy of Vista.)

Re:Question (3, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910727)

Replace the HD or hand in your geek card please.

Re:Question (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910801)

Hah -- fair enough! But y'see, I have a friend who works for IBM, and has a family-and-friends deal on a line of IBM notebooks, and *that one* can play Civ4, which I hear can run on Cedega, and my current one *can't*, and...and...

Yeah, I'm just whining. But I would really rather prefer a notebook without Vista, and it doesn't look like I have any choice if I buy via my friend.

/walks off in shame

Re:Question (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19911057)

Geek does not necessarily equal hardware tinkerer. Linguistic wordplay gets the GP a (+1, Amusing/correct/geekly) from me. ;)

Re:Question (5, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910305)


When 'effect' is used as a verb, it means 'to create.' The article writeup has the same primary-school error. It's not that hard, people.

Re:Question (1)

GSloop (165220) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910629)

Damn - now someone tells me! :)

Thanks, that is the most concise and helpful definition I've heard.


Re:Question (2, Funny)

thanatos_x (1086171) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910409)

Because this is Slashdot. Everyone knows open source transcended hardware ages ago. Also it cannot affect OS X systems, as Apple is never to blame for anything going wrong with their computers. That leaves Windows as the only logical choice. You like logic, don't you?

Re:Question (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910429)

it affects every hard drive. However, 90% of the time that means windows. If you use mirrored drives (like ZFS), one hard drive shitting out on you won't cause problems.

Re:Question (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910475)

I would have used RAID 1 or RAID 5 as an example, rather than a specific file system. RAID can be done in hardware after all, and is traditionally faster that way.

Re:Question (1)

innerweb (721995) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910971)

Is there an open source hardware raid solution I can buy? And, can I hack it in PHP, Perl or Python (have to get my ppp in)


For impaired readers, the above is a crude attempt at humor.

Steorn's real reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910271)

...why Orbo didn't work!

First questions to mind: (4, Interesting)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910273)

Which materials/processes dampen the "avalanche" best? Which hard drive manufacturers use those materials/processes?

Re:First questions to mind: (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910525)

It's definitely not whichever vendor makes the "ramdrive" kind. I'm never buying one again.

Re:First questions to mind: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910905)

Hitachi/IBM are the least likely to show up in the repair shop.

Western Digital is the most common failed Hard Drive brand I see.

As my high school music teacher always said... (5, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910285)

"So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!"
It's a bad carpenter who blames his tools.

- RG>

Re:As my high school music teacher always said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910415)

What would a high school music teacher know about carpentry - or tools for that matter...

Re:As my high school music teacher always said... (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910499)

What would a high school music teacher know about carpentry - or tools for that matter...
More than an AC knows about metaphors, it would seem.

- RG>

As my basement dweller always said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910981)

"It's a bad carpenter who blames his tools."

Well that explains why geeks don't get laid.

Which University of California?! (3, Interesting)

tutwabee (758134) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910295)

It's lovely how both Slashdot post and the original article state that scientists at the "University of California" discovered this. This could mean the University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, or others. The website link is to the University of California, Santa Cruz website so I assume that's where the scientists were located.

Re:Which University of California?! (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910493)

I heard that they discovered how to "fix" vampires at UC Sunnydale.

Re:Which University of California?! (3, Funny)

background image (1001510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910717)

I heard that they discovered how to "fix" vampires at UC Sunnydale.

Well I, for one, welcome our new, neutered vampire overlords...

Re:Which University of California?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910837)

Santa Cruz, eh. Damn hippies are high again. Really, which was wobbling, the dudes or the discs?

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910875)

In addition to the link in the second paragraph, the fourth paragraph says this:

  "Research was carried by Joshua Deutsch, professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Andreas Berger, who did the research while at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies."

Re:Which University of California?! (4, Informative)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910979)

Here [ucsc.edu] is a link to the UC Santa Cruz press release and the professor is indeed there (I'm sure you can find him). A little spiel from me: I took a class on nanomagnetism this past term and definitely learned about this effect for individual spins and for domains and it has been known for quite some time. Without reading the PRL article because I'm off campus and don't have a personal subscription ($$$ and, hey, this is /.), my guess is that the model explains the why a lot better than existing ones, and how we get from individual precessing spins to the average spin of the entire domain without brute-force computing it, which is nearly impossible. That being said, different ferromagnetic materials are very different in their interactions between spins and orbits between nearby spins and orbits and so I'm not sure without looking into it how many different ferromagnetic materials this applies too.

Grammar Nazi x2 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910303)

Spin precession of magnetic material effects its neighbors' polarity

That would be "affects" its neighbours' polarity with an option on calling neighbours' erroneous too - depending on the precise physical phenomena that they are trying to describe.

SOME types of failures... (5, Insightful)

DTemp (1086779) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910365)

So this claims that most hard drive *failure* is caused by this. Now, I'm sure this causes isolated data loss here and there, and maybe I've had a different experience than the average person, but most of my hard drive failures in the past had loud screeching or clicking noises. I dont think this was caused by magnetic spin!

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910541)

Mod parent up. Where are the statistics that disk magnetism is the leading cause of failure? I'm sure it causes some failure. Most? I'm not buying that from my personal experience with hundreds of hard drives.

Re:SOME types of failures... (3, Informative)

IndigoParadox (953607) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910937)

It seems possible that this magnetic affectation could be a cause of spontaneous damage the hard drive servo information [storagereview.com] .

This would cause one of the clicking-type malfunctions which you described, as that "clicking" you hear is the noise the head assembly makes when the drive is rapidly moving it back and forth across the platter attempting to get a fix.

It "effects" it's neighbors... (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910373)

... but does it affect it's neighbors?

Re:It "effects" it's neighbors... (2, Funny)

Refenestrator (1060918) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910451)

You mean "its" there, not "it's." Certain possessives don't have apostrophes in ou'r language.

Re:It "effects" it's neighbors... (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910561)

Does it affect it is neighbours? What are you talking about? Oh, you meant its.

If you're going to comment on someone's grammar or spelling, make sure your own is correct.

Re:It "effects" it's neighbors... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910781)

Thankyou, I take great delight in watching grammar Nazi's shoot themselves in the foot.

Does it only affect windows? :) (1)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910379)

"So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!"

Well, it just happened to my desktop machine. Windows just stopped booting. Some weird kernel messages or something like that. Odd thing is, it didn't affect my Linux partition!? What are the odds of that? Are you sure this isn't some report sponsored by Microsoft to make it look like it's not their fault?! :)

Buy lots of ram (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910383)

It's cheap and it will minimize thrashing on your hard drive. Perhaps it will make it last a little longer.

Actually, for the speed it operates at and amount of use, the hard drive is probably one of the most reliable things in a computer.

Re:Buy lots of ram (1)

FamineMonk (877465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910515)

I was going to make a post about how nothing else in my computer fails as often as hard drives, but then I remembered that hard drives spin really really fast and pretty much everything else has no moving parts.
So I think you might have a valid point.

Re:Buy lots of ram (2, Informative)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910521)

True, I would say a machine packed with RAM will wear the drives about 10 times slower than a machine tight on memory. By "tight on memory" I do NOT mean a machine swapping like crazy. A lot of machines tight on memory aren't using their swap-space at all.

The basic principle is that all spare RAM is used as IO buffers and caches thus lowering the number of physical accesses to the drives needed, lowering drive wear and speeding up the machine. You can never have enough RAM, unless you have more RAM than drive space ;-)

Re:Buy lots of ram (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910955)

Isn't there a law of diminishing returns regarding RAM, something about more than 4 GB being a waste of money? I forget where I heard about this and it almost certainly is related to Windows machines only.

Nothing insightful to say. (2, Interesting)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910405)

Groovy. Maybe we'll get some more reliable drives based on this discovery. Sadly, every drive I've ever had fail was due to heat. When I was 12, I learned why most people use properly ventilated cases and refrain from leaving a server running in an attic closet. According to the logs, those drives hit upwards of 85C before failing. Fairly impressive, I guess.

Interesting but WRONG conclusion. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910413)

Reading TFA, it sounds like they have found a mechanism for data being randomly lost, NOT bad sectors developing on a disk.

I would not call this a mechanism for "hard disk failure."

So do lots of other things (5, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910489)

When I think of hard drive failure, it's almost always due to a drive hardware failure. Bad motors, bad chips on the controller board. Another popular failure is due to flaky firmware on the drive controller causing the tracking information on the platter to become overwritten.

Magnetic wobbles? Let me see a show of hands - how many have had their data spontaneously change due to this phenomenon. Yeah, I thought so...

Re:So do lots of other things (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910563)

Some years ago I wanted to place a bigger cooler in my system. The drive-bays were in the way. I though using a grinding machine was a good way to remove some metal.

I did not take the 3 minutes to take the back off and take the drives out.

I'm not sure if it were magnetic whobbles that destroyed my drive though.

Re:So do lots of other things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910847)

actually it would definately been the electric motor in the grinder that fucked it. brush motors generate large fluctuating magnetic fields as they spin.

Re:So do lots of other things (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910997)

the hard drive is very well magnetically shielded and unlikely to be harmed by the motor. vibration OTOH can be quite bad for hard drives. and that is assuming the motor housing is made of plastic just for the lulz.

Re:So do lots of other things (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910577)

Agreed 100% - mere data corruption cause hard drives to start clicking or taking 4 seconds for every seek, does it?

Re:So do lots of other things (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910777)

Indeed- most of the failures I've seen are of the 'click of death' sort or the head-crash sort.

Re:So do lots of other things (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910797)

Besides, "hard drive failure" to me means hardware damage, not data loss. Too often people say their "hard drive crashed" when in fact their hard drive mechanism is in perfect condition, and has preserved all data exactly, just their OS corrupted the data through intentional writes. And who cares about things that flip some bits? The drive's error correction will fix them in due time, resulting in no loss of user data. The things that worry me are the heads crashing into disks or motor bearing failure. Those aren't generally recoverable without lots of cost.

Re:So do lots of other things (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910925)

Maybe we need a Mobius Strip-based hard drive technology powered by Hidden Dark Energy. Could happen!

Windows won't start?? (5, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910527)

So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!

Because... I didn't install it?

Re:Windows won't start?? (3, Funny)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910711)

Congrats, you've figured out the key to enjoying your new PC :-)

Re:Windows won't start?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19911033)

Buying a Mac?

(Just kidding!)

As usual the slashdot summary is wrong (1)

Cafe Alpha (891670) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910537)

The article says "one of the major causes of hard disk failure," not "the major causes of hard disk failure."

It seems to me that years ago, slashdot authors did more than dump articles into summaries with reading them first. What happened?

Re:As usual the slashdot summary is wrong (3, Insightful)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910883)

>It seems to me that years ago, slashdot authors did more than dump articles into summaries

Your memory is faulty.

I'm disappointed. (5, Funny)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910631)

This has been up at least an hour.

So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!

Where are all the jokes about this? Seriously! A bad hard drive is not the only reason Windows won't start. It's not even in the top ten. I've had Windows not start maybe once in ten years over a hard drive. I've had it not start for a variety of other reasons... well the number is greater than one, but I don't keep count (I bet twitter did, though).

C'mon you slackers, it was a slow day, where are my +5 funny posts about the ineptitude of Microsoft?

How about a bewolf cluster of failed drives!... (3, Funny)

Cafe Alpha (891670) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910787)

No that's not it. In Soviet Russia, you fail hard drive... No. Where's that goatse link?

Re:I'm disappointed. (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19911029)

Well this article isn't funny because hard drives don't really fail because of wobble. They fail because Balmer throws them.

Mac OS X (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19910693)

Luckily Mac OS X is safe, as it is pretected by a global reality distortion field.

This could explain where my files go.... (4, Funny)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910763)

I backup all of my DVDs to my computer because I have a notorious habit of losing them. Every once in a while I'll go to watch a movie that I swear I've backed up and can't find on my computer. So at least now I can blame it on some science thing and not just my failing memory. Every day science makes one less thing your fault, lol.

Looks like a precession hit the article (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910807)

During that brief time, each magnetic field contributes forces that affect the precession of neighbouring fields. Each of these spins Combining all those wobbles adds up to a lot of energy that changes the polarity of neighbouring bits and spreads across the surface, causing sections of disk drive to be wiped out.

That's what they get for using a hard drive!

Reliability (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910863)

Don't you guys find it amazing how reliable harddrives are? I've been using harddrives since the early 1990s and I only had two of them fail me, after they were in service for five years or so. I find that pretty amazing, taking into account the density of the data and the way the drives are constructed. And they're cheap too!

Re:Reliability (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910975)

Nah. I had three drives die over the span of a year in my home PC. The first one lasted about 8 months, Maxtor replaced it with another that lasted one more month, and then they sent me a bigger one which lasted about 3 months. By then, the warranty was over, and I bought a Seagate instead (with a longer warranty).

Then there was the time a power outage caused both drives to fail in my server simultaneously... it'd been up and running for around a year with no problems. A little bad weather and boom, not only was my uptime ruined, but so was my data. And of course, this happened at precisely the time when I'd forgotten to make a recent backup.

Now, it probably wasn't a coincidence that both drives in the server and the first two drives at home were all the same model!

Re:Reliability (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19911007)

You're lucky, or buying the right drives... I'm a broke student, so, I keep buying WD's and cursing them when I get the 'click of death', however at this junction one of two things happens:
1.) It's 3AM Sunday morning and Wal*Mart is the only place I can get a drive. I purchase the next WD that I will later be cursing.
2.) I go to buy a drive (either online or otherwise) and WD's are cheaper than any other real drives; Maxtor's not included - I don't consider them a harddrive, but rather, a ticking timebomb holding my data captive. I purchase the next WD that I will later be cursing.

That being said, I just bought 4 WD 500 Gig AAKS series drives after reading the reviews at Toms Hardware. Fortunately newegg sent me 4 drives from the same lot, pallet, box, partition. I think they all have sequential serial numbers. I think I know how this ends.

In the last 10 years, I've lost about 3 drives to the 'click of death', 1 to power related issues (bad molex?), and I think 1 to a blown motor or thrown bearing. I've got 2 drives starting to act up and they're both at the 3-year-old-failure barrier. Granted, 1 of those is an external that probably gets its heads slammed every now and then, so that's mostly PEBKAC. Oh, yeah, and 2 DOA drives from a shady vendor at a computer show.

What kind of drives do you usually buy, and how often? Your success rate surprises me, to be honest.

Re:Reliability (1)

dgagley (468178) | more than 6 years ago | (#19911045)

I have actually had good luck with WD drives. Over the years I have had bad batches but they were with Segate and Maxtor drives. I still have 1 gig drives I keep as emergency drives I can throw in a external case.

I have bad luck with DVD burners writing on low humidity days however.

Not "the" but "a lesser known" (4, Informative)

mritunjai (518932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19910941)

This phenomenon is only one of the several ways for bit rot to creep in and make you lose data.

In bit rot, bits on HDD spontaneously change. It is generally not observable and the results are often blamed on applications and/or OS.

It is lesser known because in the current state of technology, the aplications, OS, filesystem and even RAID can't even detect the problem much less solve them. (RAID doesn't work because it can't tell which copy is right and which is wrong. It assumed what it got from disk is what it wrote to it.)

ZFS (Solaris/SUN filesystem) solves this problem by using end-to-end checksums. However, it exists for few platforms only.

This is not NEWS... (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#19911003)

...it is irrelevant. From the article:

"Obviously, disk drive makers have already learned by an enormous amount of ingenuity and trial and error what materials make good disks," Deutsch said. "But now we understand a lot better one of the reasons why..."

Sounds a lot like this is a problem hard disk makers have already overcome.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19911015)

In Soviet Russia slashdot articles are relevent.
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  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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