HDDs are much cheaper than SSDs and you can usually get them with huge storage capacities. But if you buy an HDD for all of your personal and important data, how long can you expect them to last? When should you replace your HDD, if at all?
How Long Does HDD Last?
HDD hard drives typically last 7 – 10 years before they break down or fail. If an HDD is used constantly, for example as a server, then their lifespan will shortened significantly. It’s important to always backup your data just in case, because HDD failure isn’t predictable and can happen anytime.
I’ve been using the same hard drive for 4 years, and before that used the same hard drive for 6 years. I’ve never experienced an HDD failure, and neither has anyone I know. HDDs are built to last, and most of the time they’ll last as long as you need. Most people end up replacing their HDD due to needing more space before they actually fail.
However, HDD failure happens. Sometimes it happens within a week or two of purchase. Other times it happens randomly after a couple of years. There are so many factors that go into HDD failure that you can’t predict it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to back up your important data and prepare for the unexpected.
How To Make Your HDD Last Longer?
To make your HDD last longer, make sure that it is not overheating inside of your computer, and do everything you can to prevent physical damage or trauma to the drive. Do not move around your PC excessively while your hard drive is on, and definitely do not drop your HDD or it will very likely break.
Heat is the enemy of every PC component, and HDDs are no different. Google actually did a study and determined that warm HDDs do not fail more often than cool ones, however very hot HDDs do. So, just make sure your temps are not getting crazy hot in your PC, and you’ll be fine.
It goes without saying, but you have to be very delicate with HDDs. A small drop could mess them up. I used to travel with my computer a lot, and I’ve dropped a couple external HDDs. They stopped working every single time, even with small drops.
Unless you’re running a server, you do not have to worry about over-using your HDD. Use it as much as you’d like, and you should still get about 10 years out of them. Keep in mind though, they’re pretty unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to always keep backups of important data. Some HDDs have failed people after a year with no rhyme or reason.
How Often Should You Replace Your HDD?
You should replace your HDD once every 6 years. After about 6 years, there are probably HDDs on the market with much larger storage capacities than the one you are using, so you can get a significant upgrade for a reasonable price. This will also lessen the chances of your old HDD failing while in use.
Honestly, you only really need to replace your HDD when you run out of room, when it breaks, or when you want to upgrade your computer in general. However, if you want to be extra safe, 6 years is a good replacement point. After 6 years, you can demote your main HDD to a secondary storage drive, and get something much better for a low price.
How To Know When To Replace Your HDD?
You should replace your HDD if it is getting close to full capacity, or you are seeing any error messages or corrupt files. If your HDD is taking a long time to move around files, some of your files are missing, or any other file issues, it is failing. If your HDD has become very loud, it needs replaced.
It would be very nice if HDDs gave more indicators of failure before they failed. But the sad truth is most of the time it comes without warning, which is why making backups is so important. If you notice your HDD acting funny in any way when it comes to files and folders, back up and replace it immediately. If it is much louder than the day you bought it, back up and replace it immediately.
Do HDD Last Longer Than SSD?
SSDs last longer than HDDs in practice because HDDs have a lot of moving parts while SSDs have none. When stored in a box somewhere, an HDD will retain data longer than an SSD, but when inside of a home computer, HDDs will wear out before SSDs will due to the nature of how each drive is built.
Where there are moving parts, there are breakdowns. HDDs have moving parts, which is why they break down much more than SSDs. The good news is that when an HDD breaks down, its data can usually be recovered. However, if you’re going for longevity, and plan on using the drive the whole time, an SSD will last longer.
Can HDD Last 10 Years?
An HDD can last 10 years. Many HDDs last over 10 years with typical use. Unless your HDD is used as a server, you can expect it to last 5 years, at least but most of the time it’ll make it past the 10 year mark if it’s a quality drive. However, making backups is important because HDD failure is unpredictable.
If you look around, you’ll find computers from the early 2000s and even then 90s that still work while running on an HDD. Granted these computers probably weren’t used everyday, but they were probably used everyday when they were first purchased.
It takes a little bit of luck, but HDDs can and do last 10 years with average use. Most of the time they’ll last atleast 5 – 7 years before failure if you use them everyday.
With all of that being said, please make backups and do not assume that your HDD will last years before it fails. Sometimes people get unlucky and their HDD fails with 3 years.
The ideal HDD for you will depend on how much volume you need, and what you plan on using your HDD for. Here is what I recommend for gaming:
Toshiba is a very trusted brand in the PC community, and has been around for a long time. They make quality drives and parts in general. I’ve never had a problem with a Toshiba drive, and do not know anyone that has. The Toshiba X300 is large enough to store anything you need for the next 5 – 10 years, and is also very fast, giving it the best of both worlds.
Study after study has been done and has shown that most of the time a hard drive will either fail within a few months of use, or after 5 or 6 years of use, regardless of brand. So, you can choose any reputable brand (Toshiba, WD, Seagate) and feel safe. I personally trust Toshiba and prefer their drives, and this is one of the best drives you can pick up right now.
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