I have a Maxtor 30 gog hard drive on my comp right now and it is about 8 yrs old. And i am wondering if it is about to die. I haven't seen any warnings and idk the symptoms so please tell me if it is about die or not.
I've got an old WD 40gig drive in my kids' computer that just slowly died lately. It got pretty noisy towards the end, I could hear the high pitched spindle whine real clear even across the room with the case cover on and it's normally a quiet case. Also, it was getting obvious it was taking a lot longer to read from the disk. I've seen (heard) a lot of drives start making louder chunking noises from the read/write heads before they die too. My drive ran for 9 years and 6 of them were almost 24/7.
I agree with jaguarskx though, just get something cheap and replace it. It's not worth taking the chance losing your stuff and a newer drive will be faster. Also I've seen a LOT more old dead Maxtors than any other brand, I would consider it a time bomb even if it seems to run fine now.
I still have a 10GB IBM Deskstar thats still working in a old gaming rig i boot it up a few times a month to play old classic PC games and ROMs. I do backups of it weekly because i expect it to explode into a fireball at any second though. HDD's are so cheap right now i would replace it, im expanding with a few 1TB drives soon, as soon as i see one on sale for $80 im going to get 4 of them.
Last year I replaced a complete system that contained a WD HDD from 1993, size 320 MB! A major reason for the replacement was my worry that I'd already beaten the odds of disk failure hugely. Nobody bets on disk life over 10 years. And like jsc says, these days they're cheap.