So do HDD's start degrading as soon as they are manufactured or only when you start using it ?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by Subzerok11, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Subzerok11

    Subzerok11 Gawd

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    For example if I buy a brand new HDD that was made 10 years and start using today will it's life expectancy be just as long if I would have start using it when I first bought 10 years ago ? Basically I'm asking does shelf life degrade the HDD even without using it ?

    Here's a twist on the question above say it was used for about a year then stored on a shelf for 9 years would it be like still have a long life expectancy almost like a brand new HDD ?
     
  2. drescherjm

    drescherjm [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I say there could be damage to the bearings from this.
     
  3. Subzerok11

    Subzerok11 Gawd

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    So what about the first part of my question:

    For example if I buy a brand new HDD that was made 10 years and start using today will it's life expectancy be just as long if I would have start using it when I first bought 10 years ago ? Basically I'm asking does shelf life degrade the HDD even without using it ?
     
  4. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The magnetic field will degrade on the hard drive platters as the drive sits idle. However this is very small effect and powering it up will fix that. Generally the problems that cause hd's to die are mechanical / heat and wear on the platters. So in theory if the drive is not moving and heating up, you should be fine. Another problem might be the drive interface, EIDE and SCSI were pretty big back then ;)
     
  5. LFaWolf

    LFaWolf Gawd

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    +1. Also you will want to do a long format (not quick) on the drive to make sure no bad sectors.
     
  6. AlienTech

    AlienTech Limp Gawd

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    Main problems with HD's from personal experience are stiction.. Someone I worked with visited a plant in Taiwan and he said the women were using a rag dipped in oil and wiped the platters to lube it. Oil will turn viscus with heat and age. But I had an IBM HD made in like 1984 and it worked fine a decade later and years of sitting on a shelf. Same with a seagate I got in 98 that I took apart last year. But some well used hard drives wont spin up once they sit around. My laptop HD I got in 98 after sitting around for an year had to be opened up in 2005 to get it spinning again but opening newer hard drives and letting containments will destroy it fast. But it is difficult to get them spinning again once they stick. Even a samsung 160gb pata hard drive made in 2005 had this problem. Also often times it will develop read errors after this.

    The other thing is electronics, they blow up when powering on and I have lost a lot of hard drives this way especially all my maxtors. But many hard drives these days are made for hot plugging so it is not as often now but since they have a MOV on the circuit board and that blows very often, I think it is still a possibility. clipping the MOV would get the drive working again but the maxtors sometimes never died and just had the click of death. I have also lost USB bridge boards like this even though those are also hot pluggable.

    All the other things like head crash and head falling off are rare these days. The track markers will last many decades but your data might disappear long before. But I have seen this happen to writable CD's and even pressed DVD's. So climate control/environmental and keeping it around 20C is important for any item you want to last.

    But any writable media would lost its ghost although takes are made to last decades and I have seen 15 year old digital tapes that still work but does show dropouts. VHS tapes a decade old would show up as blank unless taken well cared off. Since I have seen 20 year old VHS recording that played back fine. Tropical climate would destroy anything 10 times faster than at higher latitudes. So as said before backup tapes are stored in climate controlled sealed boxes. Designed to last 50-100 years. Which is their design specs. We cant hope to match that. But we can get 10-20 years. The drive track markers are also designed to last at least a decade. Since my 6GB Seagate still worked after 15 years, No sticktion on it since it never got that hot as my sister only used is a couple of hours a day max. Using it 24x7 for an year would have made it unusable like my samsung requiring me to spin up the platters again by hand. Remember the oil layer is very thin, but the spinning and heat would cause drops to form around the head. Unlike the old women with their rags wiping the platters in the 80's. Also I think depending on the drive they dont use oil but special chemicals to prevent this on expensive drives especially the 10k and 15k drives like dupont coating instead of oil.

    So unless it is specially made and stored, It is at EOL anyway even if it works. It is not designed to last like that. Although there are exceptions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  7. larrymoencurly

    larrymoencurly [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't know when head lifters/ramps for desktop hard drives became common and virtually eliminated heads sticking to platters, but the 80GB Maxtor I bought in 2002 did not have one, while this 30GB IBM DeskStar did: Hard Drive Disassembly: The IBM Deathstar. Apparently stiction was a worse problem in the early-mid 1990s because manufacturers applied too much lubricant (Seagate) or bad lubricant to the platters, and they didn't give the inner areas of the platters where the heads landed a rough texture to make stiction less likely. I haven't opened any hard drives made in this century, but all the ones I checked had completely dry platters that didn't feel gooey or sticky at all, and I've read that the lubricant is dry, maybe Teflon (Fujitsu mentioned applying it over the protective carbon coating) or a silicone coating. Some of the 5.25" platters had radial scratches all over. Apparently once stiction starts, it only gets worse, and if the heads are freed they can stick again, as soon as the drive cools down. The solutions I've read about that don't involve opening the drive include rapidly twisting the drive counterclockwise while holding it in the palm with the label sticking outward, turning the power on and off every few seconds, and turning the power on and off every few seconds while the drive is label-up on a hard desk and each time thumping the cover with the middle finger.

    It seems the only electronics that spoil in storage are electrolytic capacitors, which typically have a shelf life of 2 years in storage and may be rated for 1,000+ hours in use at their maximum rated temperature of 105C (that lifespan doubles for each 10C cooler than that), but it seems electrolytics were discontinued long ago, and that vintage 2002 Maxtor of mine has only ceramic capacitors, which last much longer in storage. It seems sealed ball bearings have a shelf life of 10 years and grease a shelf life of at least 5-10 years, I can't find anything about sealed sleeve bearings (hydrodynamic bearings) and the lifepan of thei oil.


    Toshiba said disk drives kept in storage should be run every 6 months (DE = "disk enclosure"):

    [​IMG]
     
  8. wtourist

    wtourist [H]ard|Gawd

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    HDDs in my 2004 or 5 HP computer I use occasionally still work so far. I THINK the HDD drives and motherboard are original.
     
  9. Matthew Kane

    Matthew Kane [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thankfully hard drives aren't like capacitors so no problems as long as operating temperature doesn't exceed its recommended/threshold), no ESD and no physical knocks, no problems.