So I read somewhere a while back, that hard drives age when not in use. Can someone verify this for me? I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. If it is however, I also don't imagine the aging causing any severe degradation over time. Thoughts/opinions?
Other then years and whether the drive is in good condition to begin with it still depends. I have a '99 PC with the original drive still working in it. Has about 500 or more days on it. Then i have an '06 WD that is having some trouble, replaced the IDE ribbon and it works better but it has the click of death during a cold bootup. Don't worry i am not storing any important data on it but it still works, for now...
Hard drives are probably worse then a transmission on a car. They are extremely fragile and the littlest problem can be turned into a dying hard drive at any moment. It's like a disease that lays dormant and strikes when you least expect it. Best to back up your data whenever possible. Cds/dvds seem perfectly reliable, if you don't let them get scratched up and have a decent burner.
Drives do age when not in use but wheather they go bad or not is up to where they are kept. If the drive is kept somewhere dry and cool there should be no problem using the drive even after several years. If on the other hand you have the disk in your garage or basement where it may be humid or in direct sunlight, the disk may not work.
I have many old disks, especially 40GB that I use on these older servers and they run just fine! Many of these disks are re-used after a disk check and format and have been running for years with no issues at all.