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Are Hard Disk Warranties Worthless? 187

Posted by Cliff
from the better-QA-on-refurbished-hardware dept.
1984 asks: "Earlier this year I returned a Hitachi 2.5" drive under warranty, and got back a replacement which died after a week or so of light use. More recently a Seagate 200GB desktop IDE disk flaked after a few months use, so I sent it off and received a replacement under warranty. The replacement wouldn't even format. So I RMAed that and got another dead replacement. All the replacement disks were 'refurbished', and I see many instances of similar problems with refurbished replacements when Googling. So I'm asking, what experience are people having with getting replacement disks that work, and continue to do so for something approaching the expected lifetime of the original drive? Are current warranties just a sham?"
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Are Hard Disk Warranties Worthless?

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  • You sure have bad luck with drives. Even in the late 80's, when capacity was measured in the tens of megs, I didn't have this kind of problem. Sure, drives died after a year or three, but that was when this was a frontier technology.

    But as for warantees - they are a joke unless you are a mass buyer.
    • That's because drives were a lot more reliable when data densities were lower. I still have the old 40MB drive from my second computer, and it still works perfectly. Every other IDE drive I've had since then, with the exception of the two in my desktop right now, either developed bad sectors or failed catastrophically.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alienw (585907)
        It's just a good drive. I've had plenty of 40 meg drives fail and I had plenty of bigger disks that didn't develop issues. It really mainly depends on how many hours you put on the drive -- if you don't use the computer very often, the hard drive will last a long time.
        • I seem to remember a lot of probelms with early drives (not early as in when they started, but when they kind of took off for home use). Especially with Seagate drives. After they started getting into the several hundred meg range, up into the less than 100 gig range, I think those drives are more reliable than the 100+ gig drives.

          Maybe not 100. Maybe 80, may 120, but somewhere right around there, I think desnity just got too high, and I'm afraid to replace my 80 gig drive before I get some kind of full bac
          • by alienw (585907)
            Nah, there's no trend there. I've actually had far fewer problems with my 100 and 160 gig drives than I had with the ~10-20 gig stuff. I had only one 100 gig drive fail, and according to SMART it had about a hundred thousand hours on the clock, which was way past its expected lifetime. Even then, it didn't fail completely, just got extremely slow. I was able to copy all the data off of it, although that took about 15 hours. Western Digital seems to make pretty damn good drive controllers.
            • according to SMART it had about a hundred thousand hours on the clock

              You do know that 100,000 hours is a shade over 11 years, right? Remember the IBM 60GXP-series Deathstars? That was in 2001, about the time when 100GB+ drives were getting hot and bleeding edge on the market. My math tells me that's only been 6 years at most.

              I could possibly buy 50,000 power-on hours (5.8 years continuous uptime), but not around 100,000.

              • by alienw (585907)
                You're right, I think it must have been around 40,000 hours. I just remembered that it was close to a round number. The drive was one of the first 100GB IDE drives out there, and it was running pretty much 24/7.
          • by eric76 (679787)
            All the ones I've had trouble with were 200 GB and larger.

            I've had several 120 and 160 GB drives without a problem.

            I've noticed that the reviews on disk drives on NewEgg list increasingly more problems with drives that are DOA or that fail in relatively short times when the drives are bigger than 160 GB.

            Of the four SATA drives I've bought, all 200 GB or larger, two have failed. I've already replaced one of them, but not the other.
            • "I've had several 120 and 160 GB drives without a problem."

              The most reliable IDE drives I've got are the 80GB and 120GB drives that spin at slower speeds. I've got a bunch of dead 7200rpm 80GB IDEs but all the 5400rpm (80GB, 120GB, 160GB) drives are alive and kicking.
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by alexdw (65033)
                I suspect that your problem here is cooling. 7200RPM drives run much hotter than their 5400RPM equivalents. Although it requires more case real estate, you should provide proper spacing between drives, and some active cooling (a fan or something more fancy).
    • Agreed -- you're having a terrible run of bad luck with drives. But I wouldn't say the warranties are worthless. I once got a DeskStar drive with bad sectors. I returned it, got a replacement in three weeks and the replacement is still working fine. This was in 2003 and DeskStars are supposed to suck. I have a 20 gig Seagate from 2001 that is also still working fine. My neighbhor has me beat on that; she has an OLD 7 gig Seagate that still works perfectly. These days, I mostly get Western Digital drives and

      • So we used about a hundred deskstars in a simutanious install. I noticed that all the units from Turkey were great, while the asian country of origin drives (don't remember which one) sucked ass. When it came time for RMA's I requested that all the replacement drives be turkish. Also, (I think being a large company helped) we only had to send in the serial number sticker from the top of the drive (We drilled holes in the drives themselves).
        -nB
  • Lemon Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by joshetc (955226) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @09:37AM (#16257697)
    In some areas (of the USA) the "Lemon Law" applies to more than just automobiles. One thing it may apply to is computers and computer components. I'd check your local law and see if it applies, if it does then ask the company for a NEW replacement otherwise you'd like a full refund. If they don't oblige you can simply mention that law. (generally 3 faults requires them to give you a full refund or a completely new replacement)
  • by nxtw (866177) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @09:49AM (#16257761)
    I've had 4 failures out of approx 20-25 purchased or obtained new drives since 2000.

    One 30 GB drive crashed within 10 days of purchase, a 160 GB died 10 months after purchase (possibly because of power loss/surge), a 20GB iPod drive damaged by contact with a large magnet (because iPod integration and subwoofers were being installed at the same time). Someone I know had a 40GB that randomly returned corrupt data without any obvious signs of disk failure -- just Windows bluescreens that would normally indicate corrupt RAM.

    Of those drives, the first three were repaired via warranty. The 30GB was replaced with a new drive, and guessing by its capacity, is not still in use. The refurbished 160 GB drive is still working today, about 22 months later. The replaced iPod is also still working today.

    The 40 GB drive was out of warranty and was replaced with the same model and is still working one and a half years later. My oldest drives were probably made in 2002 and have been working fine. They've been running constantly for the past few years.

    I have had a laptop hard drive fail gradually -- it came from a phyiscally abused laptop. The drive worked (slowly) at first, long enough for me to copy the data off of it. Within a few more hours of use, it died.
  • Is it the drives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by archer, the (887288) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @09:49AM (#16257765)
    I know of several folks who've recently replaced drives under warranty. The replacements have worked well. Is there any chance something other than the drives is causing the failures? Bad power? Too little cooling?
    • Cooling! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Psychofreak (17440) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:32AM (#16258023) Journal
      You have a good point about cooling. I had terrible luck with a removeable disk drive. I had it replaced at least 3x. The company folded so I had no recourse. I concluded that the drive was overheating as the ejected cartridge would be untouchably hot. People now call me a little crazy about cooling. I atribute the very long life of my curent computer to it sounding like a vaccume cleaner with it's 7 fans. That's 2 regular case fans, two midgit fans in a HDD cooler, one slot fan against the video card, and two processor fansin a dual p-pro system(overclocked of course).

      As a side note the dorm I lived in would top 100F regularly. I saw this alone kill many classmates machines.
      Phil
      • Re:Cooling! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Spazmania (174582) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @12:45PM (#16258825) Homepage
        You are correct. Almost no modern hard drive should be warmer than luke-warm while running (or immediately after being turned off). If it is, your case has inadequate cooling and your drive will die soon. Not might; will.
      • by antdude (79039)
        Wow, where is this? I thought my room was bad enough (can go up to 90F degrees in heat waves).
      • by igb (28052)
        We dropped the temperature in my machine room to a target of 18C. We've got ~400 hard drives in there, ranging from spiffy new 144GB FC and 500GB SATA in EMC and similar arrays, down to sub-1GB SCSI drives in elderly Suns. I think the oldest drive is a few hundred megs of ATA in a ~100MHz PC that has the GPS reference clock attached to it. I reckon that we lose perhaps five a year (sadly, we've not kept accurate stats) and the newer drives have a experienced MTBF of upwards of twenty years.

        However, a

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by portmapper (991533)
      > Is there any chance something other than the drives is causing the failures? Bad power? Too little cooling?

      Inadequate cooling will really shorten the lifetime of the harddisk. Using a modern power hungry graphics card(s), an Intel CPU , a power
      hungry motherboard along with an inefficient and overdimmensioned PSU will generate a lot of heat. Without an extra fan for the hard disk
      it may be too hot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by legoburner (702695)
        As I understand it, heat is very bad for the lubricant in the drive, so when HDDs get too hot, the lubricant (eventually) dries out and vastly shortens the life of the drive. I might be mistaken, so does anybody have real experience with this?
      • by jandrese (485)
        Yeah, inadequate cooling is just death to hard drives. It doesn't help that most cases have absolutely terrible cooling for the drives. I really think it's the biggest problem with cases today.
    • by jeffmeden (135043)
      Bingo. I deal with warranty issues (not for hard drives but other sensitive electronics) every day. Its rare for a defective unit to make it to the field. Its even rarer for a defective unit to be sent out to replace a defective unit. If you get a third such defective unit... stop what you're doing and go to 'Vegas. The fact is, defects are very rare and if you keep seeing failures, ITS YOU!!!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30, 2006 @11:44AM (#16258427)
      The "Easy Bake Oven" case mod may be the problem with your frequent hard drive problems.
      • The "Easy Bake Oven" case mod may be the problem with your frequent hard drive problems.

        Amusingly phrased, but possibly true. I got a huge case running with 5 fans in it right now and have no overheating problems. As the posters above me, said, cooling is very important. But some cases are bad when it comes to coolig; you don't just need more fans, you need something roomy enough for the air to circulate. As another said though, getting a good PSU is also important. A bad PSU can fuck your hard drive, moth

    • by pla (258480)
      Is there any chance something other than the drives is causing the failures? Bad power? Too little cooling?

      I have to strongly suspect so... I know the occasional "bad batch" of drives makes it out the door, and certain specific models fail at a high rate (ie, the legendary "deathstars"), but honestly, I've never personally had a drive fail on me. At my current job, babysitting somewhere around 50 computers in a fairly harsh industrial environment, I've had only three drives fail ever (and two of those l
  • As far as RMA'ing drives goes, I've never had a problem with Seagate. The drives have all carried the warranty of the original and none of the refurb replacements have problems.

    Now, WD drives...I don't want to rant, but 6 drives in 18 months (2 new, 4 RMA'd replacements) is too much for me.

    I don't think drive warranties are worthless; they protect the buyer and give peace of mind. Seems like bad luck on your side to me.
  • by bullok (155096) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @09:55AM (#16257791)
    In the last 4 years or so, I've bought about 30 Seagate drives. Two died during the warranty period. In both cases, the RMA was quick and the replacement drives worked ok. One of the replacements was refurbished, the other was new.

    One of the failed drives was shipped via UPS, and the package was pretty roughed up. The drive worked initially, but failed within a week. I suspect that many failed drives haven't failed due to manufacturing defects, but due to abuse during shipping. Of course, this means that they should be using better packaging (and more conscientious shippers). I'd gladly pay a couple of extra bucks for a better shipping container (or better shipper) to avoid the occasional beat-up drive.

    1/15 does seem like a high failure rate to me, but it's a pretty small sample size, so my numbers alone don't mean much.
    • Maxtor Hell (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mrbcs (737902)
      I returned 3 Maxtor drives about two years ago within one week. All three were nfg. These were also brand new replacements for the original drive. The wholesaler told me that he thought quality control was shut down because of all the bad drives he'd seen in such a short time. This was also about the time that Maxtor dropped their warranty to 1 year. On my third trip to the wholesaler, I saw two other guys in there with boxes of the damn things. Last Maxtor drives for me. I have a Seagate now and it's been
  • Or lack there off in your case... We have more than 800 ide disks in the systems I maintain. We have a very low failure rate - and if something fails its likely a ibm/hitachi disk.

    Anyway, we used to test all drives when they came in... We quickly stopped that and didn't look back. We only have a couple of failures a week (if that) and all our RMA replacements except one came in just fine.
    WD seems to be the best there - I only got one drive labeled as remanufactured, all other rma drives we got from them wer

    • We have more than 800 ide disks in the systems I maintain. We have a very low failure rate - and if something fails its likely a ibm/hitachi disk.

      If not IBM/Hitachi, then whose drives have worked well for you?

      Thanks!

      • by mp3phish (747341)
        Hi,

        I work for a campus maintaining over 3,000 systems, mostly in warranty from the majors. We probably replace a few drives a week on average. Half the drives we get back from RMA are refurbished, but typically don't cause a problem. The majority of failures we must replace are Maxtor (now defunct) and IBM/Hitachi. It is rare that a segate or WD drive goes out within the first year, but after 2 or 3 anything is possible and you are guaranteed failures in a significant percentage.

        WD and Segate are the only b
  • Bad Power Supply (Score:5, Informative)

    by crow (16139) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:11AM (#16257889) Homepage Journal
    From my experience, repeated drive failures are the result of a bad power supply or some other external factor. This doesn't include DOA drives, of course, but otherwise when your drives keep failing, you need to check the operating temperature and power supply.
    • Re:Bad Power Supply (Score:5, Informative)

      by ivan256 (17499) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:28AM (#16257997)
      You hit the nail on the head.

      In the course of past jobs, I've probably returned about 200 drives under warranty (out of probably 4000-5000 drives installed). The failure rate for the replacement drives was never above average for the replacement drives with the exception of two models. One was an old Quantum low-end 3.5" model in the 2-4GB range that I can't remember the name of, and the other was the notorious version of the IBM deskstar. However in the deskstar case, the second round of replacements were a far superior drive, many of which I still have in use today.

      On the other hand, I have seen machines that seemed to eat hard drives for lunch, and in the end a few minutes with a scope always showed unstable voltage from the powersupply during bootup.

      Generaly I'd say my hard drive warranty experience has been positive; especially since, more often than not, I have received either faster or higher capacity drives as replacements.
      • Out of curiosity, is there any brand you have come to prefer and any that you steer clear from?
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          From what I've seen, it's models and not brands that make the difference. Every brand has a series of drives that just don't cut it. There were a few years back in the late '90s when Western Digital drives were particularly crappy, but that doesn't seem to be true anymore.
      • by Mr. Hankey (95668)
        The drive I recall being the biggest issue in one of my past jobs was the Quantum Bigfoot. They were actually 5.25" hard drives, but they did come in those capacities.
      • by julesh (229690)
        I had horrendous trouble a couple of years back with Maxtor 40GB "DiamondMax Plus 8" half-height drives. Had three of them fail within three months of each other; two of them were a RAID-0 pair where the second failed before I'd had time to replace the first drive. Replaced them with 80GB drives from the same range, and everything has been fine since.
  • by jackb_guppy (204733) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:20AM (#16257947)
    I have drives working for years. I do mean YEARS! I have 2x 173M still running and working quite well in a firewall (486 computer at that).

    I did have 2 big failure last year when I was going to 250G drives, less than 6 months old. But both were replaced with new drives and no problems since.

    Now, all my equipment in on UPS amd NEVER turn off may make their operating enviromwnt very stable, except for cat hair.
  • by HaloZero (610207) <<protodeka> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:22AM (#16257963) Homepage
    ...infact, it's a prime purchasing point for my choice of hardware.

    Late last year, my RAID array failed - 2 160gb Western Digital SATA drives went. I checked the WD website, RMAed them both, and recieved two replacements. They're still functioning today, better than the first two.

    We run a device at work that features six SATA2 320GB Seagate disks. The leverage for purchasing those devices was dependant on the 5-year warranty(, and the presumption that we'd never have to purchase a replacement for a bad disk).

    If you're having continually bad experiences with disks, you might want to examine their environment; are you using them at relentlessly high altitude? Is the power supply you're connecting them to bad? The lead from the PSU to the disk? Does your controller need a firmware update?
  • by maynard (3337) <j@maynard@gelinas.gmail@com> on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:29AM (#16258003) Journal
    Where I work we regularly ship back dead Seagate IDE and SATA drives after RAID failures. Without these long warranties we'd lose far more money than is the case. Further, since these longer warranties have become standard, the MBTF and hardiness of consumer IDE drives have increased dramatically. I used to expect consumer disk to die within a year or two of regular (personal) use. In a heavily RAID array, they would often die within six months to a year. Now, they last much longer. Often, a year or two.

    Of course, commercial SCSI / fiberchannel disks still last a good five years of hard constant use. So, as is always, you get what you pay for. But, as it happens, these days you get more reliability on the consumer side than previously. I mean, who remembers the IBM disk fiasco a few years back? The warranties have helped.
    • by davecb (6526) *

      My personal and work SCSI disks gave superior service, with 3 year on-site guarantee and 5 years return-to-depot.

      We used the on-site replacement just once, out of many many disks, about a week after purchase. My personal backup drive was replaced last year, at (or beyond) the end of the 5-year warranty period, which wasn't unusual. The replacements were new, not refurb, and have the same warranty starting with their "purchase" date.

      --dave

  • by enigma48 (143560) <jeff_new_slash@@@jeffdom...com> on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:31AM (#16258019) Journal
    I've done warranties for nearly all the major manuafacturers with no complaints. Maxtor's advanced replacement program came in handy (that replacement drive was installed 5 years ago and still works), no problems with WD's drives (again, installed years ago and still working).

    Get on the phone and start complaining - ideally, write a letter first (registered ideally). So few people do this that this puts you in a very small group of customers, and these customers are often the ones that know how to cause problems for the copmany. Having a paper trail also makes it a little harder for companies to shrug you off like a random complainer that just dials in every now and then.

    But before blaming the company, give them one last try. Inform them of your previous trouble with replacement drives (use dates and serial numbers). The odds of a drive dying are low, the replacement drive being DOA are low too. Then again, people win the lottery - sounds like you've just won the back luck kind. As another poster mentioned, look into the Lemon Laws in your state/province.
  • I've RMA'd a few Maxtor drives, and their replacements haven't died yet. I haven't had to RMA any from other drive manufacturers.

    So, Maxtor is a mixed bag: (apparently) less-reliable drives, but with decent-quality replacements with a straightforward RMA policy.
  • by sarkeizen (106737) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:37AM (#16258055) Journal
    ...and this seems to extend beyond the hard drive market. Virtually every computer component I get repaired has some refurbished part. Seagate has recently started labeling their refurbed drive. The branding sticker on the one I most recently replaced had a green border and read "Seagate Reconditioned Drive" at the top. I wonder if this is to stop people from selling them outright.

    My Advice:

    1) If you can, buy from a store with a good return policy (best buy, etc) - although often I find those stores only carry the boxed drives which tend to have lower warranties. If it dies in a very short period - return it and get a new one. Don't let them scam you into getting a warranty exchange.

    2) Before you buy check out the MTBF on the various models of drive. Some differ significantly.

    3) Back up religiously and/or use a RAID. My RAID 5 is composed of seven drives and I lose a drive probably every 18 months or so but it's virtually a no-pain situation. Pull the drive - send it out for repair - take the refurbed drive and assign it to the RAID as a hot-spare. RAID rebuilds itself.

    But to answer the question: "Are the warantees worthless?". My last drive I exchanged to seagate was 200G they replaced it with a 400G! Not bad IMHO.
    • by Spazmania (174582)
      Before you buy check out the MTBF on the various models of drive. Some differ significantly.

      The Seagate drive the poster refers to has a published MTBF of 600,000 hours, almost 70 years. MTBF numbers are baloney.
      • by Fweeky (41046)
        Nah, MTBF's are based on the failure rate you can expect from a large chunk of drives, not the expected lifetime of a single drive. A MBTF of 600,000 hours means that if you have, say, 600,000 drives within their 5-year (generally) design life, you can expect about 1 drive to fail every hour, or a yearly failure rate of about 1.5%.
        • by pyite (140350)
          A MBTF of 600,000 hours means that if you have, say, 600,000 drives within their 5-year (generally) design life, you can expect about 1 drive to fail every hour, or a yearly failure rate of about 1.5%.

          You're assuming a very dangerous thing... that the distribution of failures is flat. It's not. It follows the bathtub curve [wikipedia.org].
          • by Fweeky (41046)
            I didn't say anything about the distribution of failures, just the average failure rate, since that's what the MTBF gives; the Mean Time Between Failures.
  • I havent found reliability going down, actually I have found just the opposite. I have had one in the past 5-6 years. In the past my clients would have at least a couple a year.

    Im rather fond of Samsung they have a longer warranty than any other drive manufacturer at the moment and its pretty much no questions asked.
  • by MrP- (45616)
    I RMA drives a lot at work and I've never got a bad drive sent back to me.. Maybe your delivery person like playing basketball with your packages?
  • Although, I cool the hell out of my systems. So much apparently that I've never even had trouble with WD, which had a stretch of some pretty notorious drives.
  • Maxtor (Score:4, Informative)

    by spoonboy42 (146048) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @11:32AM (#16258347)

    To be honest, I've had drives from every major manufacturer die. By far the best warranty coverage came from Maxtor, however, who would send out a replacement drive before requiring the old drive back (for a drive which was starting to show bad sectors, I would take it offline, wait for the replacement, then transfer my data over directly). As long as you send the defective drive back within a month, you're golden.

    In my case, the new drives were always actually new, and performed very well. Recieving them basically "reset" the warranty to day 0, as well. Finally, the RMA process is completely automated, not requiring you to wait on a phone line. Just download and run a little diagnostic tool which will give you an error code, enter it in on the website, and you can handle the whole business without having to talk to anyone at a call center.

    In short, having a drive die sucks, and as I said, it's happened to me with most major manufacturers (Western Digital, Seagate, IBM, Toshiba, Hitachi all come to mind), but Maxtor had by far the best warranty coverage.

  • I quite agree.

    I've had to return two drives over the years; both were of course replaced by refurbished drives.

    I'm assuming "refurbished" means someone else returned the drive, no fault was found, and now you've got it.

    Problem is, some drives are returned because of intermittant errors, or subtler faults which may not be regarded as faults by the manufacturer, such as elevated noise.

    So the warranty, really, is a risk - you may get a drive back which is okay, but you may get a bundle of trouble.
  • Nobody knows better than the engineers what their MTTF rate is, and they should set time limits on the known data.

    Western Digital put out a 12 month drive (they best know their own product quality) plus an optional $15 insurance plan.

    You either build a more expensive, higher quality unit that can stand on its merits for 3 years, or you decide to build junk.
    But don't let Marketing dictate quality, where 12-36 months out, you pray for less than one in six returns for a break-even.

  • Have you read the MTBF rating on that 200 gb Seagate drive [seagate.com]? They claim 600,000 hours. That's like 70 years of continuous operation. "Mean" time between failure; that means that half of those drives should still work after 70 years.

    Is there anyone out there who owns a hard drive they seriously expect to be in operational condition 70 years from now? Anyone?

    Its like Tobacco's claims that their product was safe in the face of blatently obvious proof that it wasn't. Someone should file a class-action.
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      Have you read the MTBF rating on that 200 gb Seagate drive? They claim 600,000 hours. That's like 70 years of continuous operation. "Mean" time between failure; that means that half of those drives should still work after 70 years.

      No. That is not what MTBF indicates. MTBF does not measure lifetime, it measures random failure rates during the expected lifetime of the drive. A good explanation can be found here [t-cubed.com]

  • by Fishbulb (32296)
    Having been a SCSI-drive user since my Amiga 1000 days, you need to understand MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) and the difference between IDE/SATA drives and SCSI/FiberChannel drives. Remember that the profit margins on consumer electronics is razor thin, so any manufacturer is going to put any device it can't find a problem with back into service (eg: your RMA'd drives).

    Here are some articles I dug up in a few minutes:
    http://www.bqr.com/faq/faq.htm [bqr.com]
    http://www.atruereview.com/Articles/scsi.php [atruereview.com]
    http://www.dri [driveservice.com]
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @12:53PM (#16258859) Homepage

    The Internet Archive has an ongoing effort to measure disk drive reliability. [hp.com] They have several thousand disk drives for which they are collecting data, and for the year 2005, about 2% failed. This is better than previous years; a few years back they were experiencing 6%/year failure rates.

    They send them back for warranty replacement, I'm told.

  • by SamNmaX (613567) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:15PM (#16259489)
    I had a Maxtor drive flake out on me with the click of death. So, I sent in for another, and it worked for a little while, but then it wouldn't even spin up. My current Maxtor drive, while it sort of works, often has trouble unparking the drive head when I first boot up. I have decided to stop wasting my time trying to get replacements, and have stopped wasting my time with Maxtor altogether. Maxtor certainly isn't the only company that makes flacky harddrives. I've had Western Digitals and Quantums (now owned by Maxtor) die on me too. However, Maxtors drives seem to be consistently bad, and after getting 3 bad hard drives from them in a row, I make sure to avoid them at all cost, and let me friends know to do so as well.
  • by repetty (260322) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:40PM (#16259733) Homepage
    It's actually more economical to ignore hard drive warranties -- go out and purchase a new hard drive if you experience a failure.

    When I joined the large engineering company that I currently work for about two years ago, they were replacing four hard drives a week under warranty. When I realized that all of the warranty replacement hard drives were refurbs, I changed that little policy: we started throwing away the bad drives and began purchasing replacements.

    Failures have been reduced to fewer than one a week.

    So, now we are spending about $80 to buy new hard drives when a warranty replacement would have been free.

    HOWEVER, we saving a heck of a lot more than that. Now the sysadmins are fixing other things and our users' downtime has been greatly reduced. We're saving hundreds of dollars per failure by installing new hard drives instead of warranty replacements.

    Money is a truthsayer.
    • I think instead of throwing away drives you could work out a donation deal or a deal where you get a little money back for the drives. Someone out there is willing to spend the time and take the risk with refurbished drives. When you buy the drives the warranty isn't free you know, its built into the cost.
  • ... unless you're dealing with large quantities of drives, personal experience is just that.

    I've had a couple of seagates die on me and they've been replaced under warranty. Does this mean they're unreliable? Not really considering the vast majority of drives I buy/use are seagate. One of them was even replaced with a larger capacity drive (several years ago) as that was the smallest capacity they sold at the time of replacement (though this could have been the vendor's doing, as i returned to a vendor

  • A 4GB Seagate HD that came with my system that I bought in September 1999 died literally just a few days before the warranty expired three years later, around August 2002. I had already lost the receipt long since but they replaced it with a brand new 20GB HD, no questions asked. A lot of shops these days have shortened the warranties from 3 to 1 year, and even then, make it hard for you to collect. (No scratches, etc.)

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