Stress testing hd

Hello everybody, I just bought a new hard drive and would like to stress test it as I have heard about the infant mortality rate.

I am thinking about using hd tuner pro and zero filling it. Should I zero fill it 1 pass or 4 pass? And would that be enough to make sure the drive should be fine for a while?

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More about stress testing
  1. stress test might cause premature death.
  2. Yes but I would rather it die now with nothing on it than when I have 2tb of data, and this is just to check for the early fail hd
  3. Just doing a zero fill isn't a good test. You need to write the full surface of the disk with a few different patterns AND also read the data back to check for errors.

    Plus you should also check the SMART data & temperatures. For example an increase in the relocated sector counts.

    A few hours of testing isn't going to significantly impact on the overall life of the drive. (At least no more than doing regular drive backups would).

    Makes total sense to do this before putting important data on the drive. Also makes total sense to keep good backups.
  4. could you explain how to use different patterns and how to read the data back? I only know about the SMART attributes.
  5. dtraven said:
    Yes but I would rather it die now with nothing on it than when I have 2tb of data, and this is just to check for the early fail hd

    I don't understand. The hard drive might survive the stress-test, only to fail 6-12 months from now. Why not just forget the stress test, so that the hard drive might last longer? Meanwhile, you have everything backed up on a second hard drive. That's what I would do anyway.
  6. Drive fail more often when new.
    So for a drive in heavy use the failure rate is around 11% in the first 3 months. But only around 1.5% for the rest of the first year.

    After recording the behaviour of 100,000 real hard drives in a study Google suggested this,

    "One possible explanation for this behavior is the survival of the fittest theory. It is possible that the failure modes that are associated with higher utilization are more prominent early in the drive’s lifetime. If that is the case, the drives that survive the infant mortality phase are the least susceptible to that failure mode, and result in a population that is more robust with respect to variations in utilization levels."

    Meaning that if your drive doesn't immediately fail (infant mortality) then it is much more likely to have a long and happy life. If it does fail then better it A) fails while under warranty and B) Fails without loosing any important data.

    See Google for tools to do this,
  7. Well, I think my answer is coming too late to help the OP but I'm hoping this guide will help whoever else is looking at this thread. I'll be updating it as I go along:
    Stress testing killing computer hardware is a myth. All computer hardware should be stress tested, given the rampant lack of quality control that's taking place among hardware manufacturers these days. If you don't believe me, go on Amazon or new egg and read the reviews placed by users about Mobo or HDs. All manufactureres have QC iissues. If a hard drive can't handle stress testing, it should not be holding your data and one shouldn't be potentially giving the manufacturer a free pass on the warranty if it can be killed by a stress test.

    Before doing the stress tests, perform a full format and check the drive for bad sectors using check disk (Chkdsk /r YOURDRIVELETTER). If it's coming out of the factory with bad sectors, send it back. Also check the SMART status of the new hd and do health diagnostics to have a base line. Take screenshots if you have to or export a log. There are many free utilities that can do this but you have to be careful what you install on your PC as many of them come with spyware/adware/openCandy. Try to stick with opensource stuff (even that, scan before using) or use the utilities put out by very large well known companies.

    Here's a couple of utilities:

    Windows HardDrive Fitbess Test by Hitachi/WD (will work on any drive):
    CrystalDiskInfo (open source - BSD/MIT license): (get the standard version; the portable download comes with no ads - if you want to support them download the ad version or send a donation - I would recommend donation as you don't really know what you're getting with ads.)

    The Stress Test:
    Use this method only on mechanical drives. I haven't studied the effect of this process on SSDs. SSD dies have a limited amount of writes in their lifespan. I don't know how much of that lifespan would be eaten away in the long torture test that I'm proposing.

    see this article about stress testing your hd using a small utility provided by microsoft called SQLIO:

    SQLIO will perform random input and output operations on an SQL file. This will keep your disk's spindle moving around, reading and writing. If any early failures or manufacturing defects are in the horizon, enough of this should hopefully flush them out.

    Keep in mind that our application differs from that of HowtoGeek's. They're testing the HD for speed with a smaller emphasys on endurance in a server setting, you're using the same tools to test an hd for endurance in a personal setting or workstation pc setting. So, unlike the HTG recommendation you should set the size of the testfile to something that is as close to your drive size as possible. If that's too large of a file for the SQLIO utility and it refuses or crashes, you can list multiple files in the param.txt until your hd is filled up with them. If you don't know the exact size in MB of your Hd, you can get it by using format tool GUI or diskpart in command line. After the first torture test, use those utilities again to see if anything has changed. You can make the torture test as long as you want by taking the HowToGeek's test and copying and pasting it a couple of times. I personally would stress test the drive for at least a week if not 2 before putting any of my data on it. If you have a spare old pc lying around, just use it so that the testing doesn't hog your workstation.

    The Dreaded Click:
    Keep your case open. As the new HD performs the stress tests put your ear close to it from time to time. If you hear any clicking sounds whatsoever at any point, send it back! Just so we're clear on this, I'm not saying send it back if you find the hard drive is too loud or you can hear it working away with a pitter patter. I mean clicking. That's the sound of something jamming in the mechanism. Very bad.

    General Advice for Longevity:
    Mechanical drives should only be run in a horizontal position (this doesn't apply to SSDs where position doesn't make a difference). I've read and observed from my own experience with several drives that using them while they are in a vertical position will shorten their lifespan. It messes with the mechanics on the inside.

    Don't use Seagate. All my old drives are seagate and they have yet to fail but they've dropped their warranties from 5 to 1 year. That is not acceptable and it means that their's a huge drop in quality and that their latest drives are designed to fail alot sooner than the older generations of drives. Go for drives that have at least a 3 year warranty if not 5yrs. WD Black drives are high performers and come with a five year guaranty. Yes they are more expensive then seagate's scrap drives but the reliability of your data and piece of mind is more important than the 50$ you'll save by getting a drive with a 1 year warranty. Don't buy OEM WD drives as enforcing the warranty becomes very messy. Register and verify warranty status as soon as you get the drive to ensure you have the retail version.

    From my experience, all my 2.5in sized hard drives have failed alot sooner than their larger 3.5in cousins. Again, I'm referring to mechanical, not SSDs which only come in the 2.5 format. So if you have a desktop, use 3.5in. If you have a laptop, I would highly recommend an SSD if you can afford it. If not, just keep an eye on it's SMART status from time to time and run diagnostics regularly.
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