Hard Drive Failures, File Storage, and Recovery in a nutshell..
Some secret wisdom from the Tech Closet:
- Stay away from huge drives. Those 2 TB, 3TB & 4 TB may seem to be “all that and a bag of chips”, but when they fail (and they will) – you will lose “all that”, and your bag of chips. Instead, for personal use, look for a reliable and highly rated Network Attached Storage Device (NASd) and load it up with smaller Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) (I prefer the 1TB Western Digital “Green” or “Blue”); they are reliable for three to five years (depending on how many power cycles they are forced to endure). Smaller HDDs tend to have faster seek/access times too. Solid State Drives (SSDs) are becoming popular and affordable, but are currently a bit pricy and are not competing well on speed per dollar. With SSDs, there are no moving parts, so there’s less to go wrong, no noise and less power consumption, but are incredibly sensitive to Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).
- HDD’s (and computers) fail 100% for two reasons: a) Changes in power conditions, a power-on cycle surge or “brown-out” kills a component or data. b) External physical force or energy encourages a hardware failure. Leaving your computer ON (or a NASd drive – preferred) reduces the chance of a hardware failure by 95% or better. Some of the corporate Backbone PC’s I service for Hardware Upgrades on the field were born in 1998 and have only been powered off/on by power outages, but are still running reliably (and slowly) versus the incalculable number of PC’s and servers I service for Repairs for failures, which are power-cycled daily and sometimes several times a day. “A” is easy to address, simply connect your PC/NASd equipment to a UPS and leave it on; it’s 95% less likely that you will experience a data failure due to changes in power conditions. “B” is equally easy to address, don’t drop your equipment or handle it without using Static-Discharge & Anti-Static gear (those silver ESD bags & dumb little wrist straps with an alligator clip designed to equalize the energy between you and the components to prevent static charges from zapping hardware).