[colug-432] HDD Questions

Rick Hornsby richardjhornsby at gmail.com
Thu Sep 8 21:36:57 EDT 2016

> On Sep 8, 2016, at 16:11, tom <thomas.w.cranston at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm running a 9 year old Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop. Think Toyota 
> Corolla. Not fancy but get's the job done. Easy to service. I don't 
> think a lightning fast drive is going to get me down the road much 
> faster. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am concerned about 
> reliability. The Seagate Barracuda 750 GB drive I have had for around 3 
> years is showing beginning to fail

The first priority is to get anything you care about copied off that failing drive, as quickly as possible. Everything else is secondary. Get your stuff copied onto *any* known good drive, even if you have to make an interim purchase of a 3.5" or external drive you're not going to use in the laptop. There's no if with a failing drive, there's only borrowed time and luck. One or both will run out.

As for a new purchase, for the most part, any modern on-brand drive will have more or less the same reliability.  Once you start going to off-brand + lowest price, you increase the risk of unexpected and early failure. It's the old adage "you get what you pay for". 

3 years for a 2.5" drive carted around in a 9 year old laptop isn't awful. The way Dell built those laptops they figured you'd have to buy a new one every 18-24 months.

Drives do not last forever. The tolerances of the moving, mechanical parts are very tight. The head can fall, which will pretty much destroy the platters, moving at 5400 or 7200 RPM as they are. The magnetic properties of the platters begin to break down over time, resulting in bad sectors, etc. While SSDs are more reliable if for no other reason than simply because they have no moving parts, they too have a finite life because they can only take so many write cycles.

The best thing you can do is have good, current backups of anything you care about. Especially on a laptop which could get dropped, stolen, or - being 9 years old - decide to fry itself ...and your little dog^H^H^Hdrive, too. That'll ruin your day if you don't have any backups.

More information about the colug-432 mailing list