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Hard Disk Crash

In my world, there are two types of hard disks. There is the type of hard disks that last years after years, ones that spins up fine ever after sitting on the shelf for years. Then there is the type that fails after several months. In my experience of maintaining hard drives, these are the only two types that I have seen. I have lived through the MFM era, SCSI era, EIDE era, and SATA era. Virtually all of the hard drives that I've owned (at least five to ten of each standard, except for SATA) still lives today.

Last night, a brand new Seagate 250 GB IDE hard drive failed completely. The hard drive started clicking, would not respond, and I could hear the head riding on the platter. It's in an external drive tray, so I can easily remove the cover to the external tray. This drive is practically brand sparkling new. I just bought it about a month or two ago. I only use it a few times a week when I want to work with the photographs stored on the drive. Within that time, I had totally data lost on this drive twice. At first, I had assumed it could be the removable drive interface or the insufficient power supply wattage of the computer that caused the "delay write error". But last night, after it completely failed, I realized that the drive is physically defective from the start.

In my experience, this is the second time a hard drive has completely failed. The first time was with a Maxtor drive that also failed after six months of operation. It seems to me that, unless you are in an industrial operation where your server runs 24/7, hard disk never fails on its own. In most cases, hard drive only fails due to a manufacturing defect. The defect will cause the drive to fail within months from the first date of operation.

It's interesting to note that the drives that I use on a daily basis, the ones that have proven to be reliable year after year, are still operational today. These drives include a full-height 340 MB dinosaur hard drives that I don't know what to do with.

I like to hear your hard drive crash stories. Have you never experienced a hard disk crash, even running 24/7? Do you agree that there are only two types of drives?

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 19 Jan 2006 14:40:16 -0800

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