As you probably know every hard drive will fail at some point or other, and there’s little or nothing that you can do to alter that fact. However if you’re storing important data on your hard drive, you may want to know how long you can expect it to last – so that you can make preparations accordingly.
The only problem with that is that it is impossible to know exactly how long a particular hard drive is going to last before it fails – as it varies based on numerous factors. Still at very least you can start by knowing how long hard drives last on average, which should give you some idea of what to expect.
Average Lifespan of a Hard Drive
On average hard drives last from anything between 3 to 5 years – assuming there aren’t any internal defects or other issues that cause them to fail much sooner than that. The 3 to 5 year average assumes that the hard drive fails from wear and tear, and isn’t damaged through other incidents.
Over 90% of hard drives tend to last at least 3 years – so that is generally a good lifespan to expect from your hard drive. It should be noted that hard drives that aren’t used regularly may last longer, as they will be less prone to wear and tear and therefore not fail as quickly.
Additionally the average lifespan of a hard drive is also affected by other factors, such as the brand, quality, size, type, and environment. In most cases reputable manufacturers have better quality control and so the parts of their hard drives are less likely to contain issues that could increase wear and tear or cause it to fail much sooner.
Identify Signs Early
While it is impossible to determine precisely how long a particular hard drive will last, there are normally early signs that it is about to fail. By identifying these signs, you can be aware of the fact that your hard drive is starting to fail and isn’t likely to last much longer.
If your computer starts to slow down dramatically, freeze up, is unable to access certain files, or shows garbled information when it does open some files – that could be an indication that there are lots of bad sectors. On top of that if your hard drive starts to make any unusual sounds then that is likely a sign that it is failing as well.
While it is possible to repair a hard drive and salvage information after it fails, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can then continue to use that hard drive. Once a hard drive has failed you need to discard it and replace it with a new one, as it has an extremely high risk of failing once again. That is why normally hard drives are repaired just so that important information can be retrieved and transferred off them onto a new hard drive.