How long will my hard drive last…

Both hard disk drives and solid state drives will fail at some point – it is just a matter of time. But what life can we expect out of our media and is data loss over-hyped? Most users are never likely to need our services and this is why.

Hard disk drives as opposed to solid state drives, using moving parts, which is why you can expect them to fail sooner rather than later. The life really depends on a number of factors including the brand, type, size and interface. The brand is of particular important. Some manufacturers invest in quality components and extensive research, which means their hard drives do not fail nearly as much as other manufacturers.

Hitachi are a good example of a manufacturer that invests in technology and hence their hard drives are probably most reliable. Typically you can expect 3 to 4 years useful life out of your hard drive under normal conditions. Clearly if your hard drive is simply a backup that is rarely powered up and is stored in ideal conditions – you can expect a much longer life. Indeed technology moves fast and your backup hard drive is likely to become out-dated before it fails!

Solid state drives on the other hand last much longer under normal use. It has been said that they only have a limited number of read/writes and in some respects this is true. However when compared to hard disk drives, these fears are unfounded. Solid state drives often come with a five year warranty based on writing 20 – 40Gb a day. Most users will only write a tenth of this capacity each day, meaning the solid state drive could last 50 years! Your solid state drive may fail due to other reasons, but it is unlikely it will fail because of overuse!

If you are considering keeping your hard drive for a long time, consider this. Interfaces are constantly changing. We are now using USB 3.0 and SATA III and as standard. It wasn’t long ago that IDE was the standard and shortly before that parallel ports. There is a real risk that your hard drive will become obsolete before it fails!