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The oldest hard drive I'm still using is ...

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Brand new
244 votes / 0%
Less than a year old, but no longer brand new
  943 votes / 3%
1-2 years old
  1997 votes / 6%
2-5 years old
  10886 votes / 35%
5-10 years old
  11963 votes / 38%
More than 10 years old
  4460 votes / 14%
Why, we didn't have feet back then -- too poor!
  502 votes / 1%
30995 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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The oldest hard drive I'm still using is ...

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  • 20GB Seagate from around 2000. Next in line is 80GB Seagate from around 2004.
    • by danomac (1032160)

      I'm still using a 200MB (yes, MB) drive in one of my old firewalls for logs. I think it's a Seagate and to be honest I have no idea how old is is, probably early 90s. I had it lying around so I decided to use it for something. One of the three R's is reuse, so that's what I did. :) They sure don't make drives like they used to.

      I think I still have some 1-4GB drives unused in a drawer right now too, come to think of it...

      • I've got a 125 running with a couple of 250s in a 486 (well, AMD 5x86 OC'd to 133MHz), but I'm pretty sure the original hard drive in my Color Turbo NeXTStation is older.

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      30 GB Seagate here, when it was new it was the biggest disk I had, now it's the system disk in my home server and it's old enough that I'm worried it'll give up and die any day now...

  • Still going strong with 1-3GB 5.25" full height SCSI drives, on a microVAX III no less...

    lots of 4GB 3.5" SCSI drives...
    and 100-200MB IDE drives, also circa 1995.

    a bunch of ST506 drives lying around, along with 5.25" 1.2MB floppies, but not really used...

  • 1-2 year old for use inside the computer. 2-5 year old for incremental backups. Older are mothballs with older backups remining on them. Then I purchase a new bigger one and rotate the current ones to the 'backup' role.
  • by Kegetys (659066) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @05:11PM (#38337692) Homepage

    I have a wall clock made out of a Quantum Bigfoot drive, does that count as use?

  • When IBM still owned it's hard drive fabs => Immortal HDs.

  • hah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Sunday December 11, 2011 @05:39PM (#38337890)

    My CoCo 3 and Tandy Model 102 are sitting in the corner, looking puzzled.

    • Poseur! I have a COCO 2 and a model 100 sitting in the corner.
      I love showing people the boot time on my Model 100.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Well, since neither had a hard drive, that makes sense. Now a older Model II... it could be in the running since a HD was an ( expensive ) option..

    • Oldest computer at the office (still working):

      SGI O2 Running IRIX 6.2, with original Ultra Wide SCSI HD (4GB).

      It's been running strong since around 98'.

      Next oldest machine is an iMac from circa 02'.

      Next is an AMD machine we use to clone disks that has been going on since 06' or so.

      All of them on their original HD.

  • 20MB (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hamsterdan (815291) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @06:34PM (#38338226)

    20MB (MFM unless I'm mistaking, a purring hard drive) in a PS/2 286. Older than that, 1541 drives (3 of them) and a 1541-II humming along on 2 C64s, and a 64HDD machine (with about 3-400 5.25 floppes). The C2N Datasette cassette drive and Koala touch pad are also still working. Didn't even bother to test the modems...

    Don't have the Apple ][e clone anymore, so its floppies will probably go to 8-bit heaven unless I decide to buy an old catweasel card to transfer stuff :(

  • I use ZFS on FreeBSD on my home server and routinely rotate out old drives. I currently have a 750GB, 1TB, and 2x2TB drives, adding up to about 2TB available storage (min(sizes)*(num_drives-1)). When the 750GB gets decrepit or I need to expand, I'll replace it with a 2+ TB drive and bump my online storage to 3TB (1TB*3). Replacing the 1TB with a newer 2TB drive eventually will bump that up to 6TB available.

    BTW, even the current 2TB pool is vastly larger than I actually need. It's just at 30% full, but that

  • On Thanksgiving 2011, I finally retired this old IDE/PATA HDD from Y2K. It was in my old 2005's Debian box. I decided to do a clean Debian installation from scratch with a SSD. Also, the HDD's SMART showed very old age and newsgroup people [] said this was normal. It did bug my smartctl to e-mail me daily about it. :P

    People were surprised that I was still using it. Yes, it's slow but damn it was reliable!

  • I use an RLL drive as a doorstop. Does that count?

    • by unitron (5733)

      It just says still using...

      Doesn't specify still using as a hard drive.

      Which means I've got lots of old dustcatchers, drawerstuffers, and shelf fillers that qualify. : - )

  • But if it goes out, I'm out nothing. No actual data is stored on it any more. In fact, if the HDD dies, I'll just downgrade my current work PC to the media center PC and use it as an excuse to build a brand new box.
  • I used to keep old drives spinning for a very, very, long time. I had a 130mb Seagate IDE drive for over a decade, and a Micropolis SCSI for about that long (though a bit later) as well.

    Then later in life I got married and bought a house. I started to notice the power bill and decided to try to reduce the power consumption of my PCs. I now have fewer systems, with fewer HDs, running continuously, and the ones that are on a lot are either doing important stuff (and still optimized to minimize power consumption) or are set to be a frugal with power as possible.

    So now I think my oldest drive is only ~5 years old, its the one in my webserver. I do have an older drive in my wife's mac, but that isn't powered up all that often. I have, of course, even older drives in file cabinet drawers and in USB adapters, but nothing that is running regularly.

    And while I would like to think this makes a meaningful difference to my carbon footprint, I admit it is more because I am not a fan of big power bills.
    • by dingen (958134)
      If you're not a fan of big power bills, why do you keep a webserver running 24/7 in your house? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to just get some cheap hosting somewhere?
      • If you're not a fan of big power bills, why do you keep a webserver running 24/7 in your house? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to just get some cheap hosting somewhere?

        That is a fair question, and I have looked into it. There are a few things that caused me to favor running my own, some of which I didn't mention in this thread previously:

        • The webserver itself is just a P4 desktop I picked up for nothing a while back - hence not a huge power suck
        • The website doesn't pull much traffic anyways, so the webserver is never working very hard or drawing much power
        • The webserver is also doing some other functions - namely as a gateway to important protected networks for me - that
        • by Vectormatic (1759674) on Monday December 12, 2011 @10:30AM (#38342468)

          P4 desktop I picked up for nothing a while back - hence not a huge power suck

          Hate to burst your buble, but the P4 is about the worst CPU power-wise you can get, if it happens to be a northwood it isnt THAT bad, but prescott based P4s are frickin space-heaters. You should put a kill-a-watt meter on the thing and calculate its power-cost, chances are that replacing the P4+mobo with an Atom-based mini-itx might work out in a year or so.

          As for the carbon footprint thing, if you are just replacing drives for the power-usage (rather then needing more space), i do not believe you could ever compensate for the CO2 produced in the production/shipping of the new drive. (not within its operational lifetime anyway)

          • Hate to burst your buble, but the P4 is about the worst CPU power-wise you can get,

            Actually, we have another system in the same room - my wife's G5 that is dramatically worse. The system we are actually discussing, though, is a small form factor system made by compaq. With a monitor and an external HD it can easily boot up on a UPS that refuses to power up the G5. Admittedly that is an extremely vague comparison but it certainly isn't a space heater either.

            chances are that replacing the P4+mobo with an Atom-based mini-itx might work out in a year or so

            I would, but I'll never find a motherboard that will fit that case, and right now I'm not inclined to buy a new case, mobo, cpu, r

          • by vlm (69642)

            replacing the P4+mobo with an Atom-based mini-itx might work out in a year or so.

            Be sure to check your electrical power bill first.

            Its a fixation on /. that all of us live in afghanistan and run off a generator where each gallon of diesel costs $500 or whatever to ship in.

            I calculated once that running all my boxes (not just one) costs about $15/month. Most people pay ten times that per month for cellphone service without blinking, so I'm not overly concerned.

            Even if the atom mini-itx were free, I couldn't pay just for the shipping alone by power savings justification here.

            The other is

            • by Dynedain (141758)

              Be sure to check your electrical power bill first.

              Its a fixation on /. that all of us live in afghanistan and run off a generator where each gallon of diesel costs $500 or whatever to ship in.

              Oh, I have. About 4-5 years ago I swapped out a beige box P3 (might have been a Celeron) in the 1 - 1.5GHz range that I had cobbled together out of spare parts with a G4 Mac Mini. My power bill dropped approximately $15-18/month. Considering my power bill at the time was around $60/mo (tiny studio apartment) that was a

      • by evalhalla (581819) *

        Cheap hosting can be had for something below 10$/year, but likely includes just apache, php and mysql. If you want to run something else (e.g. some python based framework, rarer php libs, or you just want a shell to keep a permanent irc presence) you probably need a VPN, at more than 50$/year.

        A small home server with http can be done using a low power, arm based device like the "plug" ones, using less than 10W (including a 2.5" hard disk), or 87.6 kWh/year.
        According to []

        • by vlm (69642)

          87.6 kWh/year....with the US at 9.81$

          Where do you live that you are ripped off for almost 12 cents per KWh? I'm like half that.

          The other issue is for about 9 months out of the year, every KWh I get from my computers, is a KWh I don't need to get from burning natgas. Now natgas is a bit cheaper per KWh of heat than electrical outlet power, but still the correction factor needs to be considered.

          I figure that every additional KWh I use costs me about six cents of electricity and saves me about 2 cents of natgas, for a year round net of probably

          • In California the marginal price per KWh can be over $0.40. The pricing is tiered, and if you run a lot of tech in your house, you end up in those tiers quickly. Reducing consumption by a mere 10W can save you a few bucks a month.

    • by asc99c (938635)

      Same thing going on here. My desktop and media centre used to be always on. Now I've sorted out standby mode properly (3W in standby, wakes in about 4 seconds), and just the server stays on permanently.

      My server was at its peak using 11 drives: 5 x 400GB, 6 x 500GB, which made quite a bit of noise, and used quite a bit of power. When I worked it out, I reckoned there was about 50W power to be saved. I decided to get rid of the RAID configuration, and replaced them with a pair of 1.5TB greenpower discs.

    • Oh yeah. One desktop HDD can draw as much as power as a small laptop idling.
  • For quite some time I have installed Windows on 1 40 GB drive, Linux on a second 40 GB drive and then had a larger storage drive shared for both OSes. Recently when I switched to Windows 7 from XP, 40 wasn't big enough any more so I switched to 80 GB drives.
  • You insensitive clod!
  • I lost track of hard drive capacities. My first was 5 megabytes. Lately I have a 2 Terabyte drive, OMG!

  • When I got a job working from home for a .com I added a second 500GB sata drive to my current config for redundancy, since now I rely on my computer to make a living (which is why its going to get replaced sooner rather than later, though its only 2yrs old).

    The first drive is a Western Digital Green 500GB, which made sense when I built the machine for low noise and power, but the second is a Seagate 500GB drive that's just standard 7200rpm. Its about 1.5 years newer than its green counterpart. When I replac

    • by cusco (717999)
      I have an old 3 gb laptop drive with a USB adapter that I used for file transfers until 4 gb flash drives finally got under $20.
  • Just the other day I logged into a remote myth backend that I maintain at another location and found the main 2 TB drive was failing (i/o errors). Only a year old. On my personal workstation, the main 1 TB drive failed recently after just a year and a half, but that wasn't due to bad sectors or smart errors. A component on the circuit board burned up and fell off.

    Of drives that are three years old, I have one 2 TB drive still running, but another 2 1 TB drives that have failed. These are both seagate an

    • I am reminded of the old adage: "There are two kinds of hard drives in the world: those that have failed, and those that will".

    • by unitron (5733)

      "But what do you do with 1 TB drives these days?"

      Put them in older TiVos.

      Sometimes with the correct SATA/IDE adapter.

      Or in your TiVo's computer to back shows up on to.

  • by KC1P (907742)

    Depends how often it takes to count as really using it ... but my DEC RL01 (14" 5 megabyte cartridge drive) still works whenever I spin it up. Those things are built like tanks!

  • Hurricane Ike took care of all of my older drives. I've got a couple sitting around older than 10 no longer in use with old data I still need to salvage, but nothing that old in actual use.

  • This was originally in my 486 tower that I built in 1994. Since 1995 it has been in a Pentium 100 that I still use for DOS gaming for the few titles that I was having issues with in DOSBox, though these days that is getting to be a very short list. When it was in my 486 it could only be formatted up to 504 MB due to the 1024 cylinder limit in the 486 BIOS.
  • The oldest drive I'm still using is the 20MB external hard drive for the Mac Plus I bought from one of my CS professors around 2003. I'd guess that it's from about 1986.

    It was a bit touchy at first, but these days it works every time I boot the computer up!

    Dan Aris

  • still churning away in my print server (Dell Dimension XPS P60 FS) as swap drive. I expected it to have died years ago, the thing just doesn't want to give up! Still not a single bad sector! Best fifteen hundred quid I ever spent.

  • Still over 10 years old, although I recently replaced a 15+ year old drive that was acting as my home server's boot drive with a 10+ year old 2.5" drive. Just to make it quieter, cooler and more energy-efficient, the old drive still works fine.

  • I have what some users used to call a "hard disk" (i.e. a 3.5" diskette, because of its hard plastic case) that I still use after power failures to boot the firewall/router on my home network. That disk has got to be at least 10 years old.

    Other than that, I have assorted antique hard drives with capacities measured in tens of megabytes that I occasionally use when I play around with my old computers... like the late-80s Mac that I configured as a web server, just to see if I could.

  • My average hard drives (not to mention whole systems) are older than 10 years.

  • I have a pile of HD 10+ years that I *could* use because they still work.

    However they are A) so small in size now its not worth taking up a slot, B) use IDE connectors, so as to have to be also connected to an old MB, or use adapters, which aren't worth it either.

    Some are still connected to working machines, that I don't actually use really.

    • I have a fully working Mac Performa 460 with a 200MB SCSI drive. It's not the original drive (that was missing when I acquired the Mac second hand) but it is from around 1995. Sadly, without a 10BaseT card the old Performa can't communicate with my modern machines. I'm constantly debating whether I should spend $30 for the network card, or the same $30 on a good quality USB floppy drive for my Mac mini so I can transfer files reliably.

  • The oldest hard drive I'm still actively using holds patches and sample data in a keyboard--a little 200MB SCSI drive. I think it may eventually outlive the keyboard itself. At one point in time, the keyboard itself also had the largest RAM of any computer I owned, at a whopping 64MB. When I was driving it back and forth from college, the keyboard was insured for more than the car it was in.

  • For mechanical HDs (once you get out of the infant mortality area, that is). At least 3 out of my 4 RAID disks failed in year 4.

    A long, long way from the manufacturers insane 80-170+year MTBF estimate.

  • I still have an ESDI 20MB drive kicking around somewhere. Not sure why they didn't keep up with the interface. I wonder what's on that drive now. Anyone know where I can buy a PCIe ESDI controller?
  • I have a 100MB Toshiba bought 2nd hand in 1992 which until around 2006 was used in a small shuttle firewall box (and previously in other pcs). It was always on 24/7 and afaik, would still work if installed again. It's quite the beasty size wise too.

  • I actually have an old 10 megabyte full height MFM hard drive that I occasionally use in a PC/XT clone for kicking around a couple of XT-only programs that don't run that great in emulators. (I forget what brand the drive is off hand) Interesting thing it is formatted to about 15 megs using an RLL controller card and has never had a problem. Occasionally run Norton Disk test and Spinrite and it is always fine. The MFM Seagates always had problems with that on the inner tracks. Somewhere I also still have a

    • by black3d (1648913)

      Similar here. :) I'm amazed at all the people talking about 10 and 20 GIG drives as if they're old. I'm running an IBM original XT 8088 with a 20 meg HDD.

    • Whenever MFM drives are mentioned the first thing I think about is the distinctive beeping sound those drives made when you accessed them.
  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday December 12, 2011 @03:28PM (#38346204)
    I have a 40MB MFM drive in my closet. I'd be using it if I could find a PCI MFM controller.
  • I mean the main drive in my PC is 6 months old. But I have an older one that I can use but really don't, that's 2 years old. There's a third drive in there that's almost 4 but it's not hooked up. Oh, and then there's my tivos. (One of those has a 3 year old drive. The other one the drive is probably 6 or 7 years old but I'm not sure if it counts as "using". I've got a couple of videos on it that I'll get around to watching one day:) )
  • Still works great. It's a home server, and is backed up via HD cloning daily, so if it does fail, I can quickly switch to the clone. And that's only the boot drive, the data drive is much newer.

    Also have a vintage original Macintosh with external Apple HD20 (made in 1985) that I boot about once a week that works fine, its hard drive is now 26 years old.

  • A VERY OLD Shugart SA1004 8" 8 Megabyte monster! It's running right now in my basement in an old WANG minicomputer... Funny that the survey would be about that, I just fixed the disk controller a couple days ago so it's been running for the past 72 hours! :) (Yes, 8"! although I also have 14" drives)

  • Got a Quantum 40MBdrive that's still doing some work out of my old 386. Considering it's been running non-stop for the last 15 years, I'm sure if I turn it off at this point it'll never start again. Sometimes that almost old as dirt hardware really did work well, even if it wasn't the fastest.

"One Architecture, One OS" also translates as "One Egg, One Basket".


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