Your hard drives are your adoptive children that you need to care for meticulously for the sake of your saved data. Although there are exceptions to every rule, you have to keep in mind that a hard drive has a limited lifespan, meaning it’s worth your time to crunch the numbers to see if your unit has lived out the useful phase of its life cycle. To check the number of operational hours left in your drive, there are programs such as CrystalDiskInfo.
For magnetic HDD discs, there are several related studies that pinpoint certain key periods in the life of your device. Although each manufacturer claims a different lifespan for its products, on average a hard drive usually lives for between 5 and 7 years, although this depends on how you use it: it’s not the same thing to use it a few hours a day as to keep it switched on for very long stretches of time. Thus, the best way to measure this is by number of hours in use.
In net hours, a hard disk has a useful life of 20,000 hours, meaning that if you leave it turned on constantly, it will last a bit longer than two years. Another thing to keep in mind is that the greatest failure rate occurs in the long tails: during the first year of use and after the fifth.
With the arrival of SSD (solid-state drives), the lifespan of drives has considerably increased, although there is still a lot of fine print on this issue given that this technology is practically still in nappies. The life of a Flash drive depends on your level of use, the amount of information stored on it, and obviously the quality of the drive itself, with an abyss yawning between standard SSD discs and those used in servers. Nevertheless, their life cycle is estimated at more than 10 years, many users have seen their drives’ reading and writing speed reduced after only two years.
Now that you’re terrified, don’t you want to know how many hours your own drive has been working? CrystalDiskInfo is a free app that tells you exactly the number of hours your drive has been working, as well as other data such as the number of sections replaced or the time of startup, values that serve as a barometer of the status of your drive. And as we’ve already mentioned in our previous article on defragging your drives, you can turn to the program SSD Life, which is also free.