Can You Expect Your Hard Drive to Live Five Years Before a Data Recovery Emergency?


If hard disk drives never died, there’d be very little reason for emergency data recovery.  Of course, there will always be user error, accidental deletion, natural disasters and file corruption caused by viruses and malware. But the second leading cause of data loss, failed hard disk drives, wouldn’t matter. However, even with new SSL and hybrid hard disks, there is one other “constant” in life besides death and taxes: hard drive failure.

But how soon will most hard disk drives fail?

Many manufacturers offer a one-year warranty against defects on their hard disk drives, which may lead you to believe that most drives will last approximately 13 months or a little longer. Enterprise class hard drives, usually warranted five years, should outlast consumer hard drives by quite a bit.

According to extensive research completed by online data storage firm, Backblaze, ( most hard disk drives will last a bit longer than that.

After four years of testing, Backblaze discovered that 90% of consumer drives last more than three years. 80% of the drives tested lasted as long as four years. After three years, the moving parts begin to wear down and catastrophic failure and data loss can occur at any time.

The moral? Data backups are important at any time, but after three-to-four years of use, you should expect your hard disk drive to fail at any time. Backups become critical, and it’s also important to know what to do in a data recovery emergency, which includes powering down your computer immediately and calling a data recovery service right away for the best odds that you’ll be able to get your data back.

“Infant Mortality” in Hard Disk Drives
Backblaze’s research discovered something else that should serve as a warning to hard drive users. In testing, 5.1% of the drives didn’t make it to their 18-month anniversary. This was due to a defect in the drive, usually covered by the warranty.

If your drive makes it to this 18-month mark, the odds that it will survive the next year-and-a-half rise to more than 98%. At three years, the drive parts start wearing down and we reach the phase when hard disk failure can occur at any time.

Old drive or new, the lesson is clear. Back up your data and know who to call in a data recovery emergency. 

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