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Re: [vox-tech] looking for a decent < 20GB HD
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Re: [vox-tech] looking for a decent < 20GB HD

On Sun, 5 Oct 2003, Rod Roark wrote:

> Do you have a reference to problems with newer drives?

I'm gonna sound a little bitter 'cuz... well... I am... sorry.  I'm very
disappointed with the new drives' qualities.  Everytime I purchase a new
hard drive I always cross my fingers and hope for the best.  This isn't
the way it should be :(

My first 40MB harddrive lasted through its usefulness lifetime (it was
working until I decomissioned it.)  My second 500MB harddrive also lasted
its usefulness lifetime (it also continued to work until I decomissioned
it last month... umm... don't ask.)  My third 2GB harddrive also lasted
its usefulness lifetime, though it did fail on me about a year or two ago.
Another 2GB hard drive failed about a year ago, which I guess I can deem
it to have lasted through its usefulness lifetime.  Subsequent hard drives
I've purchased failed in shorter intervals.  At one point a hard drive I
bought (80GB, I think it was) failed a few hours after purchase... I
exchanged it right away, of course, but still... what kind of jacked up
quality control is that?  (My definition of failure: The drive is damaged
to a point where you cannot safely use it for anything.)

Now, let's talk specific numbers.  In my "parallel computer architecture"
course, our professor asked the class to see how many people have seen a
hard drive fail.  About 8 to 10 people raised their hands.  He said that
he expected only about 2 people to raise their hands because of the
probability of failure rates in hard drives.  This was right around the
time the hard drives' warrenties were going from 3 years to 1 year.  I
don't know about the others in the class, but my experiences were mostly
with the recent drives (several of 'em!)  You do the math.  Granted it's
only a small sample, but it's a pretty random sample of frequent computer

Nowadays I just assume all my hard drives are gonna fail before I expect
them to.  And as soon as I get the nerve and some time, I'm gonna setup a
system solely for backing up stuff (maybe raided, too.)  Oh yeah, all my
harddrives on my primary system are running extra-cool (fans right in
front of 'em) to minimize the probability of data failure.

I still got data files from the 80's and if I can help it I'm gonna do my
best not to lose them.

On a related note, I asked a while ago whether anyone knew of a way to
find out if a portion of a hard drive (or any drive's) partition is
unreadable/unwritable due to a damage.  Nobody responded.  I think that's
a real problem because information like that can be very useful in
figuring out the hard drive's reliability, and especially because figuring
out things like that under Windows is a snap (run `chkdsk`).  If there is
no way to figure this out *at all* (as opposed to nobody in the group
knowing how) then it's even a bigger disaster!

This is like one of those problems that people pretend don't exist until
it happens but very important - like security, except we actually discuss
security on this list.  I think we should be more sensitive to such
issues.  Not that I'm doing much to contribute at this point... :P


Mark K. Kim
PGP key available on the website
PGP key fingerprint: 7324 BACA 53AD E504 A76E  5167 6822 94F0 F298 5DCE
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