[SOLVED] 7-8 Year old Hard Drives. Should I worry?

Achint2000

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I built my first system in 2013 and my first hard drive ever was WD Caviar Green 1TB.

The same drive still has a lot of data, but I installed Windows to an SSD and use it from an SSD ever since.

I have many, many hard drives (too many just for personal use):
  1. 2012 - 1TB - Dell Backup Drive [USB3]
  2. 2013 - 1TB - WD Caviar Green [SATA3]
  3. 2014 - 1TB - Transcend StoreJet [USB3]
  4. 2015 - 1TB - Silicon Power Armor A80 [USB3]
  5. 2016 - 1TB - WD Caviar Blue [SATA3]
  6. 2018 - 1TB - WD Caviar Blue [SATA3]
  7. 2019 - 4TB - Seagate Backup Plus [USB3]
  8. 2020 - 4TB - Seagate IronWolf NAS [SATA3]
All of these drives have been sitting on the exact same desk, at the exact same spot. (I disassemble my builds twice every year to properly clean and carefully put back)

I never had any HDD fail on me (thank god).

All of these drives are sitting at one spot on my desk ever since I bought them.
My system stays on almost 24x7, and drives 1 2 and 6 are active from all the time (many files there)

The latest drives I have (2019,2020) are the ones which I actively write to as well.
I recently learned about SMR and PMR drives too, and realized I have two backup drives - 1 and 7.

The first drive from 2012 has been nearly full many many times, and at times, while copying data onto it, I used to see it suddenly show 0 bytes free, and slowly increase free space (in the background, it must be rewriting a lot of data since it's SMR)

Should I worry about some of my HDDs being too old and something going wrong? (7-8 years old)
Is there anything that can go wrong even if the drives are just sitting at one place, being read from?
 
WD Green drives? And 7 years old?

I'm surprised they've not failed already, frankly.

But, if you've got backups, naturally they mightl last 4-8 more years..

BUt when it comes to drives, one copy only is a quite precarious position to be in.

(At least store anything important to assorted free cloud accounts)
 
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Math Geek

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i've still got drives that are close to 10 years old running fine as data drives :)

but as others have pointed out, i do have important stuff backed up elsewhere. it's fine to use the older drives, especially as rarely accessed data drives. no biggie there but know it will fail eventually and having it backed up somewhere is the best thing to do.

we see plenty of threads every day on this forum and the answer is always the same "you should have backed it up BEFORE the drive died, cause now there is no getting to the data no matter how badly you really really really need to get to it!!"
 
we see plenty of threads every day on this forum and the answer is always the same "you should have backed it up BEFORE the drive died, cause now there is no getting to the data no matter how badly you really really really need to get to it!!"
Well, if one "really really really" needed to get the data off a failed drive, there are professional recovery services that have a good chance of recovering it, provided one is willing to spend $1000+ to get their data back. It would probably be better to just spend significantly less on some backup drives to store a second copy of any irreplacable data to begin with though, since chances are a drive will fail eventually.
 

USAFRet

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Well, if one "really really really" needed to get the data off a failed drive, there are professional recovery services that have a good chance of recovering it, provided one is willing to spend $1000+ to get their data back. It would probably be better to just spend significantly less on some backup drives to store a second copy of any irreplacable data to begin with though, since chances are a drive will fail eventually.
My Qnap NAS and backup procedure justified its entire existence in a single dead SSD.
1TB drive, 605GB data, 100% data recovered.

It was dead dead dead. I doubt a "professional recovery service" could have retrieved anything, no matter what the fee.
 

Achint2000

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Thanks for all the replies...

even if there is MTBF for drives, u should always keep in mind that any drive (new or old) can die any minute now
backup until it dies (or until it gives some hints of failure)
Any drive, even 5 minutes out of the box, is suspect to die at any moment.
The older they are, the closer they are to dying.

Proceed as if it might die in the next 0.25 sec.
we see plenty of threads every day on this forum and the answer is always the same "you should have backed it up BEFORE the drive died, cause now there is no getting to the data no matter how badly you really really really need to get to it!!"
Essentially, if you have a correct backup regimen in place, it doesn't matter how old your hard drives are, because when a hard drive fails, you should never be losing any data.
Believe me, I know the importance of backups.
Recently, just a week ago, random SSD corruption during hibernate and it got recognized as a RAW partition on resume, no recovery tool was able to fix that. (I tried everything)

I had:
• Sector by sector backup of a perfectly working OS state from 1 month ago
• All important files (documents / college assignments) synced with laptop - acting as a backup
• Data recovery to recover stuff like network usage database, recent jump lists, etc

Using all three, within 24 hours, my system was back into a properly working state, felt like nothing ever happened.

(At least store anything important to assorted free cloud accounts)
Also, thanks for all the backup reminders. It's been a while since I backed up, and since I have a proper internet connection now, I'll start backing up to Google Drive as well, while also keeping a copy on a separate device.

WD Green drives? And 7 years old?
YES! Surprisingly enough, every single part (besides the PSU) which I had for my first ever build as a 13 year old kid, still works!

The motherboard's been through 2 under-warranty repairs, and 2 out of warranty repairs, and besides my old PSU smoking out and killing the board back in March 2017, everything still works. I have it set as my backup system just in case.


So in summary -
The old drives can fail at any time... I will do backups again too.
And the failure is just a chance - of something going wrong.

I know that SSDs have their lifespan of how much data can be written on them, and the reason why they might go bad after a long long time.

Now I ask -
What's your experience with hard drives?

(conditions = just read from, a lot, and kept at one place all the time, not much vibrations either, minimizing causes of hdd failure)

Did you all, personally, ever have a hard drive fail in these conditions after 7-8 years or more?
If so, what was the reason? did it just ... stop working?
 

USAFRet

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HDD:
3TB WD Green, 5 weeks old. Went from seemingly OK to dead in about 36 hours
1TB Seagate. Several years old. Grinding noise, then dead.
There have been others.
But also, others going strong over a decade old.

SSD:
960GB Sandisk, 3 years 33 days old. Died instantly upon power up. It had been just fine, and not anywhere near too many write cycles. Even though it was 33 days past the warranty period, Sandisk gave me a new one anyway.

No one can predict what will happen with your single instance of a drive. It may soldier on for another decade, it might die tomorrow.
 
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Math Geek

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pretty much the same experience for me. some have died quickly, others lasted forever. there is not really any rhyme or reason to it. some just die, some don't.

kind of like some old folks smoking and drinking every day for 7 years and living to 110 years old. while others live the healthy life and die at 75 of natural causes..... a roll of the dice really
 
You should always have a backup. I have 3 copies of my data at any time (2 on windows history backup NAS drive (WD Reds) and 1 on the main computer drive itself (SSD & HDD))

To me, family photos and videos are too precious to lose. Also I have a lot of private research on AI routines and automation.

In your specific case, I would start to worry more about the WD Greens. They had a history of parking the head constantly to conserve power. Unfortunately excess head parking had a tendency to wear out the mechanism which lead to earlier failure than standard blue and black drives.
 

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