According to a report by Backblaze, a pioneer in low-cost cloud services, 26% of 25000 consumer grade hard drives examined for the life of the hard drive over 4 years failed the endorsed time period. It comes as a pleasant shock for a computer component that has been known to see frequent failures.
But the question is how to guess if your hard drive has lived its life and how long is it before it stops working?
What is a failed hard drive?
Your perspective of a failed hard drive may be contrary to that of a professional. A data recovery professional will consider a hard drive to have failed when it cease to spin or connect to the operating system. It will not respond to any sync commands and will not remain in sync with the RAID array. It is possible to predict approximately when will a hard drive fail through a series of statistical analysis.
Hard Drive Failure: The Bathtub Curve
The hard drive failure, as discovered by researchers, follows a ‘bathtub curve,’ a concept in engineering. 5% of the drives failed in the first 18 months according to BackBlaze’s study. In the time period of 1.5 year to 3 years, the hard drive has a risk of succumbing to random failures. With no data available beyond the 4-year period, the expected failure rate according to the company is fairly constant at around 12% each in 3rd and 4th year. The median lifespan of the drive is noted to be around 6 years with hard drives in desktops having more reliability due to lesser motion. The mobility of the laptop has a negative impact on the life of the hard drive.
Failure rate increases with Age of Drive
While in some cases manufacturing defects may cause the hard drive to fail in the first year. Some drives may as well continue to spin till the eighth year, most are likely to continue spinning for 36-48 month period. Almost all hard drives come with a warranty extending from one to three years but it is still important to back up your data regularly even before the warranty ends. Getting the drive replaces would imply getting your data restored.
Weekly or daily data backup will help save the frustration later. Loss of professional or personal data can not only be financially straining but may involve emotional and mental strain too.
What’s next after Hard Drive Failure?
Ranging from manufacturer to user error, there are numerous factors, which cause a hard drive to fail. Potential causes of hard drive failure can include mechanical failure, circuitry failure, or any harmful exposure to the elements. The possibility of data recovery is a greater concern than the cause of data loss in case of drive failure. It is essential you rely on a professional data recovery company to recover lost data in case of drive failure.