Data recovery company Secure Data Recovery has calculated that failed hard drives fail after an average of 25,233 hours of use – that’s 1,051 days, or two years and ten months.
The report on the average hard drive life expectancy before failure was compiled based on data from 2007 failed instances, from which data was restored by the company’s specialists. Timothy Burlee, the author of the material, calculated the number of hours from the moment the disk was first turned on until it arrived at the workshop, and also took into account the number of bad sectors for failed devices. Drives that fail due to extreme circumstances such as power surges, malware, natural disasters, or unintentional damage were excluded from the report.
Of the instances included in the statistics, 47% were Western Digital, 28% Seagate, 10% Hitachi (owned by Western Digital, total WD share was 57%), 8% Toshiba, 6% Samsung and 1% Maxtor. On average, there were 1548 bad sectors per device – for comparison, there are just under 2 billion sectors on a 1 TB disk. Toshiba drives turned out to be the longest-lived in the sample, with an average operating time to failure of 34,799 hours, while Hitachi drives showed themselves worst of all with a result of 18,632 hours, they also had the most bad sectors.
Curiously, the five most fault tolerant hard drives were produced before 2015, while the least durable examples were released after that mark. The authors of the study attributed this change to the introduction of more sophisticated recording technologies by manufacturers: head designs have become more complex, and complexity traditionally increases the likelihood of failure.
It must be emphasized that the study does not provide indicators for the average life of a hard drive in general – we are talking about the average life of only failed copies. More detailed statistics, taking into account serviceable units at the end of 2022, were previously provided by Backblaze, a company providing cloud storage services.
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