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Life span of internal hdd if used infrequently

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tantrik123    3

Processor: Intel Core i3-4130 CPU @ 3.40 GHz
Motherboard: Asus H81M-E
Memory: Transcend 2GB DIMM DDR3 1333 MHz (Channel B)
Undefined 2GB DIMM DDR3 1600 MHz (Channel A)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64 bit

 

Dear friends,

I am planning to buy 2 hard disks: one 250 GB WD and one 320 GB Seagate. The 250 GB WD hdd will have windows 7 OS installed and the 320 GB Seagate will be for backup only. I will be using the 320 GB hdd only to copy, paste and store files from the 250 GB hdd in case the 250 GB hdd crashes even though the 320 GB hdd might first crash out of rare possibility.

 

Now I have two options: (i) install both the hard disks inside the cpu and (ii) install only the 250 GB hdd in the cpu and use the 320 GB hdd as an external hdd with an enclosure. I want to decrease the chance of 320 GB hdd failure within a short duration of time and make it work as long as as possible. Which option will reduce the chance of the 320 GB hdd failure in a short time?

 

Few years back I used only a 160 GB seagate internal hdd which lasted for nearly 3 years and 8 months. If I use the 320 GB hdd internally only for backup (no OS installed, no heavy use etc) will it last longer? Does an internal hdd (for backup only) spin (i.e work) all the time like the one with OS intalled since it is connected with the motherboard and power supply and thereby reduce its life span? Does it spin only when I enter into the hdd for copying and pasting files? Which option will be the best for my requirements?

Thanks in advance. 

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zhangm    1,284

Hard drive failure vs time follows a bathtub curve. There's an initial high rate of failures from bad drives (manufacturer defects, bad shipping/handling, etc). Then the rate of failure falls to fairly low annual levels. Finally, the rate creeps upwards again as drives age and fall apart.

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Now I have two options: (i) install both the hard disks inside the cpu and (ii) install only the 250 GB hdd in the cpu and use the 320 GB hdd as an external hdd with an enclosure. I want to decrease the chance of 320 GB hdd failure within a short duration of time and make it work as long as as possible. Which option will reduce the chance of the 320 GB hdd failure in a short time?

If you're talking short-term failures (within weeks to a few months of installation), then there's no difference between the two since you're in the early demise portion of the lifetime and might just have gotten a doomed device.

 

Since much of this is governed by things that are not under your control, I'd suggest just picking the simplest option for yourself.

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techbeck    6,188

I have had HDs die days after install, or I have seen them last forever.  You cannot really tell when they are going to die.  Best bet is to just make sure they are properly cooled/kept at the right temp and you have backups.

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oldtimefighter    3,068

It's a crap shoot and the more interesting questions are... Why are you not using a SSD for your Windows 7 install? What do you use this PC for? Do you really need this PC to actually last for three more years? LOL

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Mindovermaster    1,411

All hardware can die at any time. There's no set time. I had a HDD die on me 10 days later. And then I have a 20GB back from '98 days, and still working.

 

All that is important, is BACKUP.

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LaP    1,845

For one putting your backup inside the case if not a very good idea. Your backup should be external at least and ideally should be stored in another house. Personally i backup my PC once a week on an external hard drive and i store this drive at my job. This way if my house burn or my things get stolen or something i still got my backup.

 

If you install it inside the case you can tell windows to shut off the drive if not used.  Go in the control panel, open the power option and click on the link to change the plan advanced options. There you can tell windows to shut the drives off if they are not used.

 

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ThaCrip    375

Unless you really need small hard drives i would just get a 2TB as you can get these for about $50 online brand new as those are hard to beat in terms of storage space for not too much $$$. in my opinion it's not really worth buying hard drives smaller than 2TB at this point given the costs/storage space combo. also, i got a external hard drive docking station (costs about $20 give or take depending on whether it's on sale or not) that works well of which i have a 120mm USB powered fan sitting on top of the hard drive running as this noticeably lowers the temps of the hard drive in the docking station i got.

 

but speaking of hard drive temps... it appears there is no concrete data with temps (high or low) and failure rates. but with that said, it just seems like something only warm to the touch is better than something somewhat uncomfortable to the touch. like with the 120mm fan sitting on top of the docking station of which it sits on the hard drive and blows air down onto it, the temp drops are quite noticeable.

 

also, i am pretty sure what zhangm said is true also when it comes to hard drive failures in that if they don't fail early on they will probably last a while and then as they age the failure rates start to creep up.

 

also, when you get the hard drives... i would recommend doing a FULL format on them and not a quick one. this ensures that the drive is in good running order. you can even check it with CrystalDiskInfo to.

 

also, depending on how paranoid you are with backups... short of house burning down etc you should have reasonable protection against data loss and virus infection if you copy data to a external hard drive and don't leave the external hard drive connected to the PC that often. this is probably easiest and does not require too much effort.

 

but for that data you simply cannot afford to lose i still prefer using the following method.... one copy on one hard drive and another copy on another hard drive along with two additional copies on quality DVD recordable media (i.e. Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden). so short of house burning down or something like that, your chances of any data loss there is slim to none with this method as i trust quality DVD recordable media to retrieve my data from them 10-20+ years from now where as hard drives, while convenient, likely ain't as reliable long term as quality DVD recordable media. i have some Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden media from 10+ years ago that still scan well. but i only use the DVD recordable media for like family photos/videos, like cannot afford to lose stuff. my other data i don't want to lose, but would not be the end of the world if i lost it, i just stick to the more simple two copy on hard drive method (like two copies on different hard drives) with preferably one copy on external hard drive and that hard drive is not connected to the PC too often as this keeps it's chances of data loss from virus or ransomware etc to a minimum. with this said... only potential negative with DVD recordable media is whether drives to read them will still be around 10-20+ years from now as while i suspect it won't be much of a issue to find them for another 10+ years, too much beyond this is hard to predict. still, at this point in time for that 'cannot afford to lose data' i feel quality recordable DVD media is most reliable, reasonably priced, for long term data storage. so even if DVD drives to read your DVD recordable media are difficult to find in say 20 years time at least you have peace of mind for 10+ years from now.

 

p.s. also, running this might not be a bad idea... https://ransomfree.cybereason.com/ ; it's free protection against RansomWare (it was featured in a article here on Neowin about a year ago now) which you don't want to get hit with that stuff since it can lock down all of the data on your PC. basically i just run that along with the default Windows Defender anti-virus. but that works not by looking for specific strains of Ransomware but detects it strictly on the way it behaves. so it does not need definition updates and it's light on resources. also, it does not seem to mess with anything i do so it seems fairly safe for me to recommend it as you more or less install it and forget it. then occasionally it will prompt you for program updates. also, if you see a couple of weird name folders (small file size) on your hard drive, don't worry, RansomFree put them there.

Edited by ThaCrip
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+DevTech    1,223
10 hours ago, tantrik123 said:

Processor: Intel Core i3-4130 CPU @ 3.40 GHz
Motherboard: Asus H81M-E
Memory: Transcend 2GB DIMM DDR3 1333 MHz (Channel B)
Undefined 2GB DIMM DDR3 1600 MHz (Channel A)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64 bit

 

Dear friends,

I am planning to buy 2 hard disks: one 250 GB WD and one 320 GB Seagate. The 250 GB WD hdd will have windows 7 OS installed and the 320 GB Seagate will be for backup only. I will be using the 320 GB hdd only to copy, paste and store files from the 250 GB hdd in case the 250 GB hdd crashes even though the 320 GB hdd might first crash out of rare possibility.

 

Now I have two options: (i) install both the hard disks inside the cpu and (ii) install only the 250 GB hdd in the cpu and use the 320 GB hdd as an external hdd with an enclosure. I want to decrease the chance of 320 GB hdd failure within a short duration of time and make it work as long as as possible. Which option will reduce the chance of the 320 GB hdd failure in a short time?

 

Few years back I used only a 160 GB seagate internal hdd which lasted for nearly 3 years and 8 months. If I use the 320 GB hdd internally only for backup (no OS installed, no heavy use etc) will it last longer? Does an internal hdd (for backup only) spin (i.e work) all the time like the one with OS intalled since it is connected with the motherboard and power supply and thereby reduce its life span? Does it spin only when I enter into the hdd for copying and pasting files? Which option will be the best for my requirements?

Thanks in advance. 

Is this post from 2017?

 

250 and 320 are not common drive sizes in 2017.

 

1. There is no way to predict the lifetime of either SSDs or HDs other than educated guesses that might be of value or not.

 

2. Due to increasing volumes and increased manufacturing process intelligence there is an increasing trend for all manufactured products to last for only a small period of time past the warranty period in order to save a penny or tow on costs.

 

3. The only real world reliability data for hard drive longevity is the Backblaze data. If you study their results two conclusions will be obvious. A) reliability is very specific to specific models and B) Hitachi drives are far better than anything else.

 

4. Placing the drive inside the computer gives you full control of the drives environment.  External cases don't provide cooling (in general) and they can be dropped. Turning drives on and off also stress them. 

 

5. If the data is critical then offsite backup is vital. Backblaze is an excellent option to consider for online backup of ANY size of data and you don't have to fiddle with anything. Their technology is completely Open Source so you can also build your own Backblaze POD if you want. (fun, but not practical for most people)

 

6. Your boot drive should be a 256 or 512 or 1024 gig SSD made by Samsung. Your internal backup HD should be whatever specific Hitachi model does best on Backblaze or if you can't source that, then a large modern NAS type HD such as Seagate IronWolf.

 

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Mindovermaster    1,411
8 minutes ago, DevTech said:

 

4. Placing the drive inside the computer gives you full control of the drives environment.  External cases don't provide cooling (in general) and they can be dropped. Turning drives on and off also stress them. 

 

That is actually false. Even your system turns HDDs on and off while not in use.

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+warwagon    11,367
1 minute ago, Mindovermaster said:

That is actually false. Even your system turns HDDs on and off while not in use.

True but it doesn't mean it might not wear them out.

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Mindovermaster    1,411
2 minutes ago, warwagon said:

True but it doesn't mean it might not wear them out.

He said specifically external HDDs. Your system can do that same damage.

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+DevTech    1,223
5 minutes ago, Mindovermaster said:

That is actually false. Even your system turns HDDs on and off while not in use.

 

4 minutes ago, warwagon said:

True but it doesn't mean it might not wear them out.

Not true.

 

There is a world of difference between a "low power mode" signal from a device driver and yanking the electricity to a unit!

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ThaCrip    375

since people are talking about it, i might as well give a comment... I don't like that spinning up and down with hard drives in Windows which is why i always disable that stuff so the hard drive spins 24/7 when my PC is on and my PC is pretty much on 24/7 outside of an occasional power down. that gets rid of the wait time for them to power backup and i can't see that powering on and off all of the time being good for the drives, but this is only a guess.

 

but i guess it boils down to whether the powering up and down of drives is worse than just leaving the them running all of the time. but i leave my drives on 24/7 pretty much and had good luck so far and i have been doing this for years now.

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Mindovermaster    1,411
1 hour ago, DevTech said:

 

Not true.

 

There is a world of difference between a "low power mode" signal from a device driver and yanking the electricity to a unit!

I can't really see any difference. An external gets the same amount of power as your internal from PSU... Yes, a plug may be different, but its powering the USB port, along with the PCB.

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+goretsky    877

Hello,

 

One thing to make certain of that will prolong the life of the 320GB HDD inside its external enclosure will be to not move it at all while power is applied to the drive.  Only move it when the drive is powered down (if external power), or ejected (on bus power).  For the latter, hold the drive in place so it does not move and then unplug the USB cable.  This will ensure that the drive's mechanical parts (platters, read/write heads, motors, etc.) are not subject to any strong forces from being tilted or moved while the drive is revolving thousands of times per minute.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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+Zagadka    3,111

Are programs like SSDlife an accurate estimation? I'm not up to drive details.

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tantrik123    3

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Really appreciate it.

 

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ThaCrip    375
On 12/13/2017 at 3:56 AM, Zagadka said:

Are programs like SSDlife an accurate estimation? I'm not up to drive details.

 

I would find out what SSD drive you got as there should be general write life specs on it.

 

like my Samsung 850 EVO 250GB for example, which is a popular SSD drive... has a 75TB (or 70TB) write rated life (in real world it will likely go higher before actual drive failure occurs given tests i have seen online).

 

to put that into perspective... if you wrote 20GB EVERY SINGLE DAY to it, which is a lot(i doubt most people will come close to that), for 10 years that would be 73TB of writes. so as you can see your unlikely to kill the drive from writing data to it as from what i know it's only writing data to the drive that wears it out, not reading data as reading data is penalty free.

 

or for some facts for me personally... i had my Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD since May 2015, so a bit over 2.5 years now, and only have written about 9TB of data to it (9.3TB according to CrystalDiskInfo. the official Samsung Magician program reports a bit less than this) and at the rate i am going ill have only written about 37TB (less than 40TB) in 10 years. so as you can see, assuming the drive only fails from data writing, the SSD will be basically outdated by the time it wears out as ill be getting something in the ball park of 20 years out of it at my current rate.

 

hell, even if something else takes out the SSD outside of writing data to it the Samsung 850 EVO comes with a 5 year warranty and chances are it will go comfortably beyond that before failure occurs if it makes it to the 5+ year mark (if it does not make it to the 5 year mark, your covered under warranty anyways ;) ). so even if you get something around 10 years out of it, chances are it will be somewhat outdated by then and you will probably be on another PC at that point and who knows whether SATA will still be used all that much like it is now in 10+ years time. even if you try to keep a old PC in use for basic internet like i do for a backup computer... eventually there will come a point where running up to date browsers won't work on the computer whether under Linux or Windows like what happened to my old PC i got in 2001 not all that long ago now as the CPU in it does not support SSE2 CPU instructions (which is a minimum requirement for current browsers still being developed) so it can no longer run modern browsers and that PC is mostly shot at this point because of that.

 

bottom line... unless you got a low quality SSD drive, just use it and don't worry about it as your not going to wear it out from too much use (unless your writing boatloads of data to it all of the time) as you can see from what i said above ;)

Edited by ThaCrip

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