Sign-in / Sign-up
Your question

3rd failed HDD in 6 years - What am I doing wrong?

Tags:
  • Disk Read Error
  • Hard Drives
  • Windows 7
  • Product
Last response: in Windows 7
December 3, 2011 10:41:48 PM

As the title says, I just had my hard drive give the dreaded 'disk read error occurred.' I'm assuming the worst case scenario here...which is that it failed!

This will be my 3rd failed HDD in the last 5-6 years (my older posts can somewhat confirm this =P). I'm running startup repair as I type this...

What am I doing wrong? I'm an avid downloader and gamer, I admit to some heat issues with my graphics card, I have only 1 instances with viruses in these years, I keep my case pretty clean. My current motherboard (same one used during all 3 failures) is not good, it's a poorly rated mobo...if that could be a culprit. So what can I do to prevent future failures?

For the record, the failed HDD was Maxtor, Seagate, and now WD. They were all 4 or even 5 egg rated on Newegg, so it's not like I'm buying total POS hard drives that would not surprise anyone they fail this often.

Any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it because as you may guess, this is getting frustrating.

Thanks!

More about : 3rd failed hdd years wrong

December 3, 2011 10:53:07 PM

2 things come to mind:
1) Heat. Do you live some place where it would be hot for most of the year? Do you have good ventilation in your gaming room?
2) Dust. Do you smoke, have a pet, or is your case very dusty?

Also, a disk failure every 2 years or so isn't out of the question. You may have just gotten a little unlucky.

Have you pissed off any witch doctors or old gypsy women?

Depending on how much you use your drive, the shelf life can be from 2-5 years for heavy use, given all the things that go wrong.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2011 10:58:53 PM

I agree with henryvalz. A disk failing every 2 years is almost considered normal. I mean, I had one fail after six months.
m
0
l
Related resources
December 3, 2011 11:05:46 PM

Unlucky, yes, but you've just got the bad end of the statistics.
m
0
l
December 3, 2011 11:08:52 PM

2 years is not normal for me. I have a notebook with a 6 year old hard drive and it's still going and my desktop has one drive that is 5 years old and the other that is 4 and it's still going. I keep my desktop on almost all the time (I fold).

I'd say heat is the most likely culprit. As henryvalz mentioned, if it's heavily used, the life goes down. I would make sure that you have good air flow in your case (assuming that it is a desktop), keep it dust free (blow it out occasionally. Make sure that your drive is not mounted in a location that has something directly above and below. Maybe buy an adapter that allows it to mount in the optical drive area of your case since there is typically more room there. You could also run your rig with the side of your case off to reduce heat.

One thing you may also consider doing is separating your OS and data on 2 hard drives. So install your OS and software on one, then keep all your pictures/videos/documents/etc on another. That way the work gets split up between 2 drives.
m
0
l
December 3, 2011 11:45:38 PM

Well, since most people mentioned heat. I'm inclined to side with you fellas. My GPU gives a lot of heat problems (80C idle) that I have to underclock so I don't have to run my fan @ 70% even during idle.

I think I need a major overhaul on a new case, new fans, etc. Might as well buy a new PC tbh as I think it would benefit me from avoiding all this frustration.

I do have two HDs actually, one is dedicated to just windows, drivers, etc.

Also, about power outages. I just had one about two days ago, but the PC had been running fine since. Could it have lasted a mere 2 days before giving up?
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2011 11:57:09 PM

Hard drives are supposed to be able to retract heads in the event of a sudden power outage.
I am not at all certain that if this happens frequently you might not have a problem. I suggest a minimal ups which will give you a couple of minutes to shut down gracefuly. Look to APC which has an app that will do this for you if your pc is unattended.

There are some apps like speedfan which will give you your hard drive temps.

It sounds to me that you need to open another post with your specs and what you might do for an upgrade.
m
0
l
December 4, 2011 12:08:13 AM

Always use a UPS.
From personal experience, my friend's ASUS(Intel 915 chipset) motherboard equipped with Celeron D(CederMill) processor faced the same problem. In 1.5 years 4 PATA HDDS were damaged. Later I checked that due to motherboard/earthing problem the HDD DATA cables were damaged(some 20-22 cables!) & sometimes power is coming through DATA cable! He decided to change Motherboard, Ram & CPU. Never had the same problem again.
Just a thought.

m
0
l
December 4, 2011 1:37:15 AM

Ok see, now this is messed up lol.

I just did a full install on my 'failed' HD (it showed in custom install that it was fully formatted, all 147gigs free).

I just completed the w7 installation and I'm back on my desktop with my 'failed' HD having w7x64 on it.

I had a power outage about 3 days ago, could it have been a lingering effect caused by this outage that perhaps corrupted some boot files?

I also want to thank everyone in this thread for replying so quick in this matter.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2011 2:05:43 AM

This will be my 3rd failed HDD in the last 5-6 years (my older posts can somewhat confirm this =P). I'm running startup repair as I type this...

It would be high number, if u would have used only 3 HDD's, so how many HDD's did u use so far?
I admit to some heat issues with my graphics card, I have only 1 instances with viruses in these years, I keep my case pretty clean. My current motherboard (same one used during all 3 failures) is not good, it's a poorly rated mobo...if that could be a culprit. So what can I do to prevent future failures?

What are the specs? If u have weak no name PSU and are on the peak with watts used, lets say u use 80% of the power when u game, that could be strong reason.
For the record, the failed HDD was Maxtor, Seagate, and now WD. They were all 4 or even 5 egg rated on Newegg, so it's not like I'm buying total POS hard drives that would not surprise anyone they fail this often.

OK, newegg rating is = most customers over there is high on tech, but low on knowledge, don't believe those ratting too much.
Any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it because as you may guess, this is getting frustrating.

Use only quality PSU with at least 150-200Wats over your needs, use quality mobo, as some have surge protection build in, but use UPS with Automatic Voltage Regulator or Surge Suppressor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YJAes7WZwU&feature=play...
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2011 2:20:15 AM

80C temp on a hard drive!!! That's way over the top. HDD's should run at or near internal case temp. Also, if you move the computer a lot, shock could be a factor.
m
0
l
December 4, 2011 2:40:59 AM

Failure rates for hard drives start increasing with drive temps over 30 C.

Google also did a study about drive failures (they have a lot of drives). Their study indicated, paradoxically, that drive temps did not have that great of an effect on failure rates:
http://storagemojo.com/2007/02/19/googles-disk-failure-...

A few years ago, I standardized on Antec 900 cases (one of the first gaming cases) because of the cooling. Two of my three personal desktops have 3 drives in the lower bay. The other has 2. My drive temps are always under 30 C.

I use WD drives almost exclusively - mostly Blacks for system drives and Greens for storage. Not counting small drives (less than 500 GB :) ), I have about 12 TB of storage. Last drive that failed was a 120 GB WD five or six years ago.
m
0
l
December 4, 2011 2:43:10 AM

Quote:
Use only quality PSU with at least 150-200Wats over your needs


I completely agree with the above.
I too have has such problems with HDDs failing, lost 2 within 6 months! Turned out the PSU was to blame, had no problems after getting a better one.
BTW, what's your PSU? Didn't see it mentioned... (If you did, sorry, may have skipped that post :)  )
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2011 2:55:46 AM

Couple of things I'll mention, some of which have been covered, some have not.

1. Luck of the draw - Every year a certain amount of peeps are struck by lightning. The % is so small that ya would think, no one's ever been struck twice .... but it happens.

2.a Thermal Cycling (electronic) - Of all factors, this has probably the biggest effect on the electronic parts of a HD.....more so even than heat itself (within reasonable limits). The expansion and contraction due to thermal cycling puts stress on silicon and soldered connections. After enough cycles, these connections sometimes just go. Kinda like a light bulb where the life depends not on how many hours its lit, but how many times it gets turned on and off. This can be minimized by letting the PC sleep instead of turning it off.

2.b Thermal Cycling (Mechanical) - There's also a mechanical component of the above. The different parts of the HD heat up and different rates and again die to thermal expansion and contraction, this affects the tolerances and clearances between rotating and moving components. Again, this can be minimized by letting the PC sleep instead of turning it off.

3.a Heat (HD iteself)- This covers a few areas. When ya studied the stats on the HD's you were considering, did ya look at their running temps ? Here's a comparison of 1 TB drives.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[3016]=on&prod[2365]=on

Seagate 7200.12 - 38.00
Spinpoinbt F3 - 41.00
WD Black - 43.00

Lower temps obviously is an advantage. A HD in a well ventilated case will generally run no more than 10C above internal case temps.

3.B Heat (Case Cooling) - Typical; case cooling draws air in over the HD's and "then" it gets to the CPU and GFX cards producing the major heat. In an appropriately sized and cooled case anyway. When ya get chinsy on the case, everything runs hotter....a 10C temp increase can reduce life by 50%.

4. Vibrations - Bump ya case much ? got the bass turned up to the max ? Use vibration isolators on the HD mountings ? All will contribute to HD life.

5. Power Stability - While everyone always asks if their PSU is big enough, no one ever seems to ask how stable the voltage it supplies is. ATX standard is 5% max ..... I look for 1%. Also, and especially if OC'ing, how stable a voltage does the MoBo's VRM provide ... look for multi phase designs for the best stability.

6. Brand Name Reliance - I'm always amazed how many peeps judge an entire brand by one component. If GM sells a $17k car and an $89k car, would anyone expect them to be of similar quality and reliability ? Yet with PC components, that seems to be the case more often than not. One way to judge the reliability of a component is by looking how one party who knows more about it than anyone else judges it. Ya can do that by the warranty. When a manufacturer offers a chinsy warranty, that tells me that the manufacturer doesn't have a lotta confidence in his product. Of course, a manufacturer can bump up the price to cover a large failure rate's warranty cost but failed costly HD's tend to cause more ire than cheap ones. But if ya got the warranty at least it doesn't cost ya anything.

I have seen my HD failures drop considerably since paying attention to the above. I have a NAS w/ (4) 7200.12's running 24/7 and it's been running 5 years w/o a hitch. I have a file server running 15k Cheetahs 24/7 since 1998 and they on their 2nd set of HD's. Again, here the fact that they never thermal cycle, and are very well cooled wit stable voltage supplies has helped.

On the desktops, I'm only using full tower cases with 8 - 10 fans, all on their lowest possible setting. All cases have dust filters and anti vibration feet on case, fans and HD attachments. All PSU's are 10.0 jonnyguru rated and all MoBos are 16+ phase designs.

Another note on brand names is that every manufacturer has had some duds..... Seagate's 7200.11 was plagued with bad firmware but it's 15k Cheetah holds the No.1 ranking with drives going 10 years. The infamous Raptor's WD1500 showed a 25% failure rate within the 1st 2 years on storagereview.com .... the newer ones did much better.
m
0
l
December 4, 2011 3:32:13 AM

1) heat
2) Buy a drive from a different retailer
3) If the same machine look at a different PSU for it.
4) last other thought would be a bad motherboard.
m
0
l