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Windows 7: Do ext. drives need to run now & again so they keep working?

18 Nov 2014   #1

W7 64 Ult
Do ext. drives need to run now & again so they keep working?

Hi. Someone on another forum I am on says that a disk needs to be run every now and then to keep from locking up, and that the odds that a hdd will fail are higher if it sits unused for a long time.

I am not trying to call anyone out here - it's just that I have never heard of this. Is this true?

Thanks in advance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2014   #2

Windows 7 pro 64bit

I have never heard of that either but i just tried a ext. HDD that i got last christmas and have only used once and it works like a charm passes all the burnintests that i could through at it and still reads and rights just fine :)
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18 Nov 2014   #3

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

I think this is a case of someone making wide reaching conclusions from from a few isolated incidents. Yes, drives have failed after being left for a long time. But drives can fail for a wide variety of reasons without warning or apparent cause. I had one drive that was working fine one day, next morning it wasn't even recognized by the BIOS. Drives have also be left for years, put back into service and then work flawlessly.

Edit: The longer an external drive has been unused the greater the chance that something has happened to it, such as being dropped, without the owners knowledge.
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20 Nov 2014   #4

Windows 7 Profession 64-bit

Someone on another forum I am on says that a disk needs to be run every now and then to keep from locking up, and that the odds that a hdd will fail are higher if it sits unused for a long time.
Perhaps if the drive was old already and sat unused, in a cold basement for YEARS, the lubricant in the drive motor could harden and seize the bearings.

But that is the same for anything with a motor. You often have a give an old desk fan, for example, a flick with your finger to get them going. You just can not do that with a drive.

"ALL" drives will fail - eventually. So regardless, make backups.
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20 Nov 2014   #5
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

A hard drive has no idea how old it is.

If a hard drive is stored in a proper fashion it should work as good as it did before being stored.

If it is stored in a fashion where the contacts or the board get corroded. If for what ever reason the internals get contaminated yes it could fail. Those things could also make a fairly new hard drive fail.
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20 Nov 2014   #6

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

There was a period (80's & 90's) when the lubricant they put on the disk surface could break down and cause the head to stick in place where it sat on the disk. It was referred to as stiction and in extreme cases, the stuck heads would cause physical damage to the disk coating when the drive was powered on.

Modern drives don't suffer from stiction and, even if we are talking about an older drive, periodically powering up the drive wouldn't help things. If the head was stuck to the platter, powering the drive could damage it. Keeping the drive spinning was really the only way to make sure you didn't encounter stiction.

If a drive had sat for a long time, there was a train of thought that if you tapped on the side and rotated the drive in it's horizontal axis you might be able to get the platters to move slightly and break the stiction without causing damage.

It could be that the person recommending running an external disk periodically had heard stiction stories and thought their recommendation would help.
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