When you begin to work with hard drives, it is important to understand what a hard drive is and what it is made of. What are some things that can cause a hard drive to fail? One of these causes is leaving your hard drive on a shelf for too long. In this video, instructor Kevin Ames discusses the dangers of leaving a hard drive on a shelf.
- One of the big problems is that everybody thinks that they can put their data on a hard drive, put the hard drive on a shelf, walk away, and it'll be there months or even years later and the data will be available. Problem is, that's just plain not the truth. We don't know how long a hard drive can sit and still spin up. I have a whole case of hard drives here, and these have all been sitting around for up to three or four years.
So, we're going to try a practical experiment and see if we can get them to spin up. I want you to think about a hard drive like an automobile that's been up on concrete blocks for years. We don't know if we put the key in ignition and spin the starter if the car will start. More than likely, the car won't start because the pistons will have frozen in the cylinders just by the passage of time. The problem we have with hard drives is we don't know how long they can sit.
Remember, a hard drive wants to run from the time it's manufactured to the time it fails. Every time it spins up and spins down, its life lessens. The longer it sits, the less likely it is to spin up. So we're going to do a practical experiment now and see what happens. I'm just going to pick a drive right off the top, and I'm going to plug a FireWire cable in. This is almost a deprecated form of mounting a drive or connecting a drive.
And I'll plug that right into the laptop. If the hard drive were going to mount, it would show up right here under Devices. (hard drive beeps) You can hear that tick, tick, ticking sound. That means this hard drive has failed. So the very first one I picked out of this whole set failed to start up just because it had been sitting around. This is a good quality hard drive. I can tell by the brand of enclosure. The enclosure is aluminum, so it was really good at dissipating heat.
The problem here is the drive has been sitting for so long that the platters just won't spin, the heads won't move. It's frozen. Are there things that can be done? Sure. One of the tricks is to put the drive in the freezer and maybe after it thaws out and is still cold, it will start. Another idea is you can send it off to a company like DriveSavers who could take it apart in a cleanroom and see if they could get it to spin up.
The best idea, of course, is to have a backup and spin them up no less than every 90 days. Bottom line is it's a really bad idea to let the hard drives sit on a shelf. The best course of action is to leave it running.
- What is in a hard drive?
- Formats for hard drives
- Using RAIDs for storing digital files
- Organizing assets
- Using digital asset management tools
- Connecting hard drives
- How often to backup
- Long-term backups