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Low Quality disk drives
Old 03-09-2015, 02:36 PM   #1
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Low Quality disk drives

I am about to replace my 3rd backup disk drive in a period of about 5 years. Since these drives are only for backup purposed they don't get much use. I usually get 1 -2 TB drive from Costco, on off the 'book' type drives with a separate power supply I need to plug in. It's not so much the replacement costs (one was replaced under warranty) as the thought that my data is on a drive that could fail at any time.

Is anybody else having such negative experiences with hard drives?
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:38 PM   #2
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I am about to replace my 3rd backup disk drive in a period of about 45 years.
Wow! What did that first one cost you back in 1970?
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:42 PM   #3
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Wow! What did that first one cost you back in 1970?
1-2 TB in 1970 would call for a world class data center.
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
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Wow! What did that first one cost you back in 1970?

Thanks for catching my typo. That was supposed to be 5 years, not 45.
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:43 PM   #5
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Don't know anything about the source, but this review does reflect what I've heard on the interweb over the past couple of years: Reliability of Hard Drive Brands
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:53 PM   #6
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I think I got lucky in my google search. This is a very interesting real-life article.

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-...eptember-2014/

I think if you look at the drive model that has been failing it will probably align with other user reports.

I have a handful of USB drives and also use a desktop carrier. Getting power to these drives from USB is part of the problem, I think. I never have a problem with the desktop version, which has external power for the drive.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:39 PM   #7
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I am about to replace my 3rd backup disk drive in a period of about 5 years. Since these drives are only for backup purposed they don't get much use. I usually get 1 -2 TB drive from Costco, on off the 'book' type drives with a separate power supply I need to plug in. It's not so much the replacement costs (one was replaced under warranty) as the thought that my data is on a drive that could fail at any time.

Is anybody else having such negative experiences with hard drives?
What you need, IMO, is a secondary backup device.

I haven't had an external hard drive quit on me yet. I have a 500 GB Iomega e-Go portable external hard drive that I got several years ago, and I have my new 64 GB thumb drive.

I back up to both each week, figuring that the chances of both self-destructing at the exact same time as my computer eats dirt, is pretty minimal.

The thumb drive is only $45 so it might be worthwhile for a secondary backup? These backups are not screaming fast, but good enough for me. Or, if you have a second computer you could use its hard drive as a secondary backup.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:13 PM   #8
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There used to be dozens of drive manufacturers , now down to two for the most part, Seagate and Western Digital. HGST is a subsidiary of WD. almost all are made in just few factories in Thailand. Seagate does seems to have more failures.

You can get a server class HD and put it in the enclosure. Prices on SSDs have come down. Thumb drives are good although they do have an I/O lifetime. A cheap raid enclosure is another option although not so portable.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:24 PM   #9
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Is anybody else having such negative experiences with hard drives?
Are you using the hard drive maybe not enough? Anecdotal, but bought two identical hard drives, external ones. One is used every other day, other one maybe twice a year.

The second one died on me. I think it might have to do with the read/write head getting stuck to the platter.

Alternatively, backup in the cloud? Dropbox or similar is getting quite cheap.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:41 PM   #10
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The last year I w*rked we upgraded some large servers. Internal server storage, 2000 drives. At first we thought it was all defective and threatened sending it back. Interesting sometimes the failures were from the same manufacturering lot number, others random. When the failures leveled out and we had real numbers, they were in line with the vendors expectations.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:52 PM   #11
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Don't know if this is unusual, but I don't have that much/many critical items of information on my hard drives.
DW and I use three computers, which are all pretty much comparable with the files and programs that are saved.
All of these computer have hard drives that are less than 250 Gigabytes. We're home networked to copy an share the important files.

In addition, I have a 2T drive which has all of my libraries... music, videos and about 50,000 photos. My son also uses a 3T drive, and when he visits, we allow the drives to sync... Also, we've loaded all the personal files to Google Drive. He lost a drive last year, and copied mine... took 15 hours.

I don't understand the concern that most people have about their hard drives.

FWIW, two of my computers are on 24/7... and have been for about 5 years, but haven't lost a hard drive... and only lost two since 1992.

I just don't understand so much concern about losing information or crashing a hard drive. If it happens, there's the cloud or one of the other $100 computers. Sounds like a criticism, but an honest question.. Do the drive failures happen often?
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:02 PM   #12
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Do the drives get powered on/off much? Oh, if they're USB-style backup drives, probably quite a bit...

Consumer drives aren't built with high-lifetime materials and tolerances. But I think having multiple storage devices for your critical things is the prudent approach in any situation, even with server-grade drives. At work, we go through the server grade ones like potato chips...

I store our digital photos on the computer hooked to the TV so we can readily look at them. Then, I run a little rsync script to back that up to my desktop computer running a different brand of drive I bought and put into service at a different time. One of the biggest mistakes folks make is to buy two of the same make/model drive and put them into service in a RAID 1 (mirror) configuration. When you lose the first one, you'll likely lose the second before you can replace and sync the first. Think of how your car headlights burn out...
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:03 PM   #13
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I've never had an external HD fail, though I'm convinced I replaced one last year that was well on the way to failure (there are tests you can run too). I backup every 1-2 weeks. But I'm not much concerned about having my external HD fail, I'd still have everything on my (PC) internal HD. Like W2R noted, the odds of losing both at once seem so remote...I'm not worried at all.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:37 PM   #14
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I do use a cloud backup service, but would rather restore from my own bootable backup drive.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:05 PM   #15
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I've never had an external hard drive fail (have had a few die in computers). I have maybe 4 or 5 of the old powered ones ( 7-10 years old), and maybe 5-6 of the USB powered ones (6 years to recent purchases) - still in backup rotation.

Most of these are used for back up, so they get plugged in once every couple of weeks, normally run for a few minutes for an incremental, occasionally a few hours if I'm doing a base-line backup.

One thing (partly because I'm cheap), I've never gone near 'cutting edge' in capacity. My theory is that 'last year's model' is cheaper, and more stable (could be wrong about that though). In the past few years, I've only bought 500GB external USB drives, only recently made the step up to a whopping 750GB and a 1 TB (those two are each on a PVR, just a few months old, so we will see how they do).

Like others have said, the key is to have several back up drives. If one does die, it's a 'ho-hum' event.

As a side note, my drive purchases went from $10/GB in year 2000 ($300 for 30GB - that was put to pasture, SCSI only I think?), to $0.06/GB in 2014 ($60/1TB).

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Old 03-09-2015, 09:30 PM   #16
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Computer repair professional here. In recent years we have been seeing most hard drives last an average of 2-3 years. Ymmv.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:02 AM   #17
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I'm going through a situation now of having to replace a failing hard drive. I think that is the reason why my computer just randomly pauses at times (probably the drive struggling to read data).

The clincher was the other day I tried to boot up and got a message saying something like "Severe Hard drive failure"

Luckily, I use a rollback type program (which I'm actually in the process of replacing too) which allowed me to reboot after an earlier snapshot.

Now I'm drooling big time over Solid State Drives (SSD) which are described as lightning fast, super reliable and uses less energy. Unfortunately, the price for GB is still to high for my price range.

So, in the meantime, I'm gonna use an old 500 GB HD I have around as my HD replacement for the desktop and buy a 750 GB drive for my laptop.

When prices go done on SSDs to about $99 for 1TB, then I'll seriously think about pulling the trigger. For now, I'll just drool
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:05 AM   #18
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When prices go done on SSDs to about $99 for 1TB, then I'll seriously think about pulling the trigger. For now, I'll just drool
Buy a hybrid one? SSD for operating system and most programs, video files, pics and other data for the magnetic part.

Will give you a very strong speedup for few extra $.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:25 AM   #19
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Computer repair professional here. In recent years we have been seeing most hard drives last an average of 2-3 years. Ymmv.
I can get a LaCie drive with a 3 year warranty. They have a lot of fans both in terms of the drive qualithy and the support. I understand they buy the basic drive and then surround it with their own hardware and software.

OTOH, they are more expensive byte per byte - about 60% to 100 more per drive. Same goes for Other World Computing drives.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:31 AM   #20
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Haven't heard LaCie in a long time. Just read they were purchased by Seagate. If you open up the LaCie, what drive is inside? I know they used to have Quantum drives, but that drive business was sold to Maxtor. Jeez, can't keep track...
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