tempus

Hard drive life span.....

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What would be the life span of any hard drive in the 7200 rpm category? Barring premature failure could a hard drive last more than a couple of years?

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I had the same question, too. I want to back up data long term, say 10+ years, so what would be the better: HD or DVD (and if DVD, which variant?)? I've had HD's last almost 10 years before, but I've found that once one starts to die, it acts erratically for a few days to a few weeks before it crapps out. Of course, after nearly 10 years, it's storage capacity is so miniscule, it's there just for amusement anyway....

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For long-term data storage, you're probably better off with archival quality DVD media. Chances are good optical drives that can read your DVD will be around for many years, so it's not like a hard drive, where if the drive itself goes south, you won't be able to access the data on the media.

Regardless which medium you use, it'd be wise to periodically check your backups AND convert to whichever new backup medium becomes common years from now.

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With magnetic bits getting ever smaller the spontaneous decay time decreases. Any idea how long it would take for drives of current platter densities to lose their low-level formatting data via spontaneous decay? That would represent an ultimate limit on how long these drives would remain serviceable.

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I would think the data itself would spontaneously decay before the formatting data decayed. That said, I don't know how long it would take. I was more worried about other parts of the drive falling apart/becoming unusable after sitting around for many years.

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Well, assuming that the mechanics would fail before any data decays, how do you all think usage patterns would affect reliability?

For instance, used:

24/7/365

10/5

secondary, offline backup powered on once a week for a few hours

How would each of the 3 cases affect the rate of data decay and mechanical failure?

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