How Soon Before Your Hard Drive Fails?

April 1, 2009



OR Why Do You Have a Tire In Your Trunk?

There is no real need to  respond as to why there is a tire in the trunk of your car because everybody who drives wouldn’t get on the road unless there was one in their trunk (that is so long as it also matches his other three tires 🙂 )

Why don’t we carry an extra carburetor or transmission? (besides the reason people would think you’re nuts) Because these parts are less likely to fail then your tires. OK, then we should carry extra radio knobs and an antenna too, right? No, because it’s no big deal if the radio knob or antenna breaks because those items do not effect the overall operation and purpose of the car i.e. transportation and safety of what or who is being transported!

How long are tires good for? Ideally if all conditions are normal and regular maintenance is performed and the tires are of good quality they should last you 4 to 6 years depending on the type of tire. 

tire_blowoutWhat causes a tire to fail sooner? Heat, over inflation, under inflation, over loading or physical damage like running over metal shards.

So the question is not if your tires will fail but when will your tires fail.

What about the Hard Drive in our computers?


The hard drive mounted inside your computer holds the data on a ultra thin coating that is misted on the surface of a platter made of aluminium, glass or ceramic. Ideally if all the operational conditions are kept within the manufacturer’s parameters, regular maintenance is performed and the hard drive is of good quality it should last you 4 to 6 years depending of the type of drive.

What causes the hard drive to fail sooner?  Heat, over voltage, under voltage, over usage or physical damage (they don’t bounce very well! 🙂 )

The most Interesting of all is that heat is the cause of the majority of hard drive failures !  The operating temperature for a standard hard drive spinning at 7,200 or 10,000 RPM, consuming around 10 or 12 watts under load, and around 7 watts at idle  is between  C(41°F) and 55°C ( 131°F). Increasing the hard drive temperature by C (F) has the same effect on reliability as switching from 10% to 100% hard drive workload.  While each one-degree drop of hard drive temperature is equivalent to a 10% increase of hard drive service life.

How does it get hot?  Well you have some pretty hot sources in your computer, the  CPUs are designed to operate at  70°C (158°F ), and GPUs (Video chips)  commonly rate to 90°C  (194°F) and beyond. Remember what the hard drive max temperature was? 55°C ( 131°F) !

Now you know what the fans are for! If there were no fans the computer would burn itself up, starting with the hard drive! What happens when the video card goes? Well you get another. What happens when the CPU chip fails?  It’s an inconvenience when you have to get another;  but, not if but when, you loose the hard drive and its data IT’S A DISASTER!  

What can be done? Keep the air flowing by minimizing the accumulation of dust into the computer; if installed on the floor mount it on something at least 4 inches from the ground ( Ever noticed there is no need to vacuum around the computer on the floor, guess where the dust went !) Check the force of the fans pushing air out of the computer, you should feel the air flow 3 inches or more from the computer. Have the computer blown out with a moisture free air compressor twice a year. Download and install a monitoring utility. Click here to download one

The most important of ALL,

 keep a backup hard drive in the trunk of your computer!

Your computer doesn’t have a trunk?

Then you’re just going to have to use an external USB hard drive as a backup. 🙂