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Windows 7: HD Life Question

02 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 64bit
HD Life Question


Have a new HP PC with a 1 TB drive.
Pretty sure it's a Seagate.

If the PC is left on, essentially, 24 hrs/day, what is the expected lifetime ?
A few years, or even less ?

I am of the opinion, but not really sure, that it is the stopping and then re-spinning up on a new start that really minimizes the life mostly; not just constant running.

Is this true ?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2010   #2

XP Pro/Vista Ultimate (64)/Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition(64)

average lifespan of computer products is:
warranty period +/- 1 month

just kidding (?)...

I've had drives fail within 6 months of manufacturing, and others that have lasted nearly 10 years (anyone wanna buy a working 10Gb IDE drive? :P)

quote from: How Does a Hard Drive Work? |

  1. How it Works
  2. This is a brief description of what happens when a request for data is made by the computer. The computer sends the message to the controller once data is needed. The controller checks its registry for the location of the data. Once the data is located, the controller moves the appropriate heads to the place they need to be. The controller then uses the actuator arm to read the data off the magnetic platters that are attached to the heads.

    The motor in the hard drive speeds up when data is read or stored. The motor's job is to operate the spindle that spins the magnetic platters to the speed required. When the platters reach their full operational speed, the actuator starts to read the data. The makeup of the hard drive is similar to that of an old record player; the record is the magnetic disk and the needle is the actuator.

    The data is sent to the controller card's buffer after it is read. The buffer has solid-state memory; a more faster and reliable memory source. The buffer's performance is based on its size; a buffer is usually 2 to 8 megabytes of space. The buffer then sends the data on to the motherboard through a cable. The motherboard then processes it and handles it in the appropriate way.
Now that's out of the way...
MTBF and MTTF calculation

The manufacturers product page should provide this information, sometimes on a tech specs sheet
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2010   #3


Heat is what kills hard drives. Keep it below 40'c and you will double the lifetime as opposed to the end user who runs it at nearer to something like 55'c...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Jan 2010   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Google conducted such a study a few years ago. Lots of online info about drive failure, but not many hard and fast rules.

Google’s Disk Failure Experience

Google publishes hard drive failure study - The Tech Report

Google Teaches Us Five Things About Hard Drive Death - Drive - Gizmodo

From the last link:

Robin over at StorageMojo waded thought Google's "Failure Trends in a Large Disk Population," a document that details the search engine's first hand experience with hard drive failure rates by way of polling 100,000 of their own drives.

•First of all, Mean Time Between Failure rates mean nothing.
•Secondly, SMART hardware monitoring missed 36% of all uh-ohs.
•Third, overworked drives fail similarly to standard drives after the first year.
•Fourth, Hard drive age means less than you think.
•Fifth, failure does not go up when temperatures are higher than usual (unless super high.)

Google even has insight on which brand that had the longest life.

But decided to leave it out because that data "wasn't useful in understanding the effects of disk age on failure rates."
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 HD Life Question

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