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Thread: Could a harddrive die because of start and stoping even when its in a ext. enclosure

  1. #1
    DKre8ive1's Avatar L0st N S0und BT Rep: +2
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    Ok so here is my gripe I got a brand new 320gig WD drive and a Vantec Esata enclosure about a year and a half ago and I left it on and I only use it for backup.

    So my question is how the hell can it fail on me when I have my older 120gig WD(internal drive) that I have been putting a good fragging to for around 3+ years not even give me any hint of failure.

    I read on a review on NewEgg where someone mentioned that having your external drive on at all times and if it is esata it could cause it to die sooner because its constantly starting and stopping, but to be honest I cant find the review at the moment and I would really like to hear some input from the local FST A+ techies here on what they think and if what the reviewer said could actually be true.

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    I think your drive failed for the normal reasons that hard drives do...it just felt like it.
    I've got that same enclosure (black NexStar3) and haven't had any drives fail while in it, nor have I heard any rumors to that effect.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    I read in a PC Magazine that the biggest cause of external hard drive failure is Heat. Cases that have poor ventilation can cause a drive to fail prematurely. For that reason, and I too use my external for backup only, I remove my drive after making the backup and store it in my desk until the next time I need to make an image. This way I only run it for an hour at a time every two months or so.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    tutipute's Avatar I'm Here! BT Rep: +30BT Rep +30BT Rep +30BT Rep +30BT Rep +30BT Rep +30
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    Turning the drive on and off should not cause an HD to fail unless it had a problem in the first place. This was a problem a few years back but its been gone for quite a while now...

    Appzalien has a good point, it might be that the HD overheated to death.
    However, i personally think that it was just a damaged drive on a ticking clock.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appzalien View Post
    I read in a PC Magazine that the biggest cause of external hard drive failure is Heat. Cases that have poor ventilation can cause a drive to fail prematurely.
    Although I make an effort to cool my HDDs- because I can!- I think the theory of premature drive death due to "heat" is overstated.
    There are millions of late 90's/early 2k Dells, Gateways, etc. that still function with absolutely no case ventilation whatsoever.
    In fact, most of these chassis look like they were designed to minimize airflow and serve as great examples of how NOT to cool internal components- yet they still chug right along.

    I don't even know how you'd design a test to gather enough data to make a statistically valid assessment regarding the most common single cause of drive failure.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    DKre8ive1's Avatar L0st N S0und BT Rep: +2
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    Well in the summertime there would be times when my Vantec(Blue NexStar3} Enclosure got so hot you couldn't hold on to it for long, so I am going to blame constant overheating during the summer as the reason and the next drive I get I am going to make sure I put it under my desk where it seems to be a lot cooler since heat always rises and my other external has never had the problem of feeling burning hot.

    Thanks for all your suggestions.

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Despite what's been said, in the past I've had 2 drives fail after what I would describe as "excessive" heat. This was about the time that HDD coolers started being prolific, and just before the advent of technology recording the maximum temperature the drive had reached. Fortunately (for me) both drives were replaced under warranty.

    Since then, drive temperature has become much more of an issue, but at the same time the manufacturers have done a lot to reduce the amount of heat produced so that excessive temps are much less likely to be produced.

    Reading the S.M.A.R.T. data can tell you if temperature was really an issue, but of course that's intended to warn you about impending failure, you probably have no access to it once the drive has failed (but you can bet the manufacturers can).

    Anyway, if the drive is only 18 months old it should still be under warranty - check WD's website to make sure and get it replaced free.

    Good idea about under the desk - put it where you can accidentally give it a good kicking, that'll teach it.
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    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    i've never had a HDD fail on me due to heating. with external enclosures though i've had the enclosure board with the connections go bad.. which only happened a month after purchase so...

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Appzalien View Post
    I read in a PC Magazine that the biggest cause of external hard drive failure is Heat. Cases that have poor ventilation can cause a drive to fail prematurely.
    Although I make an effort to cool my HDDs- because I can!- I think the theory of premature drive death due to "heat" is overstated.
    There are millions of late 90's/early 2k Dells, Gateways, etc. that still function with absolutely no case ventilation whatsoever.
    In fact, most of these chassis look like they were designed to minimize airflow and serve as great examples of how NOT to cool internal components- yet they still chug right along.

    I don't even know how you'd design a test to gather enough data to make a statistically valid assessment regarding the most common single cause of drive failure.

    I have had a few of those old relics myself and I do tend to agree with you that they were built to last forever. Unfortunately thats not the case today, the newer drives are built in China, not to last, but to make the most profit from a low price while paying the lowest possible wages to employees. Thats why you can buy a 500gig drive for under a hundred bucks U.S., and also why they are more likely to die from heat or shock than the old work horses. I've had those old things apart and there was hardly a piece of plastic anywhere inside, and if there was it was nylon, not true for new drives.
    Last edited by Appzalien; 05-30-2008 at 01:07 PM.

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appzalien View Post
    I have had a few of those old relics myself and I do tend to agree with you that they were built to last forever. Unfortunately thats not the case today, the newer drives are built in China, not to last, but to make the most profit from a low price while paying the lowest possible wages to employees.
    But couldn't you say exactly the same for motherboards, memory, vid cards, etc.?
    In which case, shouldn't we see a corresponding rise in failure rate for these components as well?

    As an aside...I would tend to discount "shock" as a failure vector in desktop PCs- they rarely get moved (and are usually off when doing so), so I don't see physical abuse too often.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

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