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Thread: Watch Those Hard Drives!

  1. #1
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    Default Watch Those Hard Drives!

    Just had my 500Gb secondary hard drive die on me... the one with MSTS and Open Rails installed on it. Luckily all backed up.

    Started getting I/O errors when trying to look at files then other games such as Mass Effect 2 & 3 and those installed to the slave folder for Steam wouldn't start. At first I thought it was connected with the big Win 10 1903 update but pretty certain that was just coincidence. Chkdsk didn't fix the problem and an attempt to format the drive also aborted. So it's basically dud. Can't say it hasn't given value for money as it actually came out my old PC when I bought this one six years ago.

    Anyhow nice new shiny 1Tb HD on order, hopefully arrive in a day or two, just wish me luck reinstalling all that MSTS etc. stuff!
    Vern.

  2. #2
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    Default

    [QUOTE=NorthernWarrior;1952462]Just had my 500Gb secondary hard drive die on me... the one with MSTS and Open Rails installed on it. Luckily all backed up.

    Verne,

    Welcome to the club. I have three suggestions. Backup...Backup...Backup!

    Fred

  3. #3
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    How old was the drive when it failed? Some years back, I think it was Gartner Group, did a study that showed failure of desktop-class hard drives went way up after 5 years of use. And, surprisingly, occasional or constant use of the tested drives didn't seem to affect the drive's longevity much at all. Past 5 years old, it's a bald tire. At work I've seen drives last 7, 8 years, and last month saw a 1992 drive that had just failed, had been in use since then! Still, I replace my "spinning rust" desktop drives at 5 years of use, with SSDs if possible.
    Last edited by ftldave; 06-26-2019 at 10:37 AM. Reason: add txt
    - FTLDave

    "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." - Wernher von Braun


    "A software suggestion is not a valid answer to a configuration/troubleshooting question." - Timelmer

  4. #4
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    Not sure of it's age but certainly over 5 years. I also came up with similar reports after Googling, which means given all the activity running MSTS etc. makes me surprised it lasted this long. More to the point the primary drive on the PC new at purchase must be getting on for 5 years old so I need to consider replacing that, though I do plan on replacing the whole PC next year funds permitting.

    The worst title to reinstall will be GTA V, about 6 DVD's and I'm sure it took over an hour last time.
    Vern.

  5. #5
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    Good news, Vern, is that standard and hybrid hard drive prices continue to edge downwards, the effect of SSD (and M.2 and NVMe) becoming prominent in desktops.
    - FTLDave

    "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." - Wernher von Braun


    "A software suggestion is not a valid answer to a configuration/troubleshooting question." - Timelmer

  6. #6
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    Default

    [QUOTE=frliss;1952470]
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernWarrior View Post
    Just had my 500Gb secondary hard drive die on me... the one with MSTS and Open Rails installed on it. Luckily all backed up.

    Verne,

    Welcome to the club. I have three suggestions. Backup...Backup...Backup!

    Fred
    To put that another way..... NOTHING IS BACKED UP .....UNLESS IT'S BACKED UP IN THREE DIFFERENT PLACES! .....and having relaxed as I connected my back-up drive a few years back ....only to discover that THAT TOO had corrupted I can say that gets my vote!
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  7. #7
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    it seems you are only talking about desktops, what about the laptops?

    mine is like 3 years old...am i in for troubles?

    Michel

  8. #8
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    I'll echo that 3-different-places thing. And even then, check occasionally that everything's still working. I've had portable hard disks die while in storage.

    While for security purposes it's good to have drives encrypted, I always want to have at least one backup "in the clear" so to speak. If an encrypted drive (like one with Bitlocker encryption crashes, your data are gone, period. No form of recovery can bring it back. Even the NSA would have problems with it. If your system drive, that you used to set everything up, crashes, other disks that are Bitlocker-encrypted may need to be unlocked using backup codes. So my external backups are only encrypted if they're near-line (next to the computer); others that get parked in a locked file cabinet are not.

    As for SSD being more reliable than hard disk, I am agnostic. Hard disks usually give you a little warning that they're dying, while SSDs simply become read-only or inaccessible suddenly. So I usually want my SSD backed up to a real hard disk. My experience with hard disks has been generally good - few crashes, even with 10 years or more usage or storage, over the course of 30ish years of using computers that have them. But they have happened, so I keep those backups.

    As for nice-shiny-new: despite my lack of complete trust in SSDs, I'd get one for a C: drive without question. In that application the need for speed trumps all. I'd also get a hard disk for data storage in a desktop (most laptops can only hold one drive), with at least 2 external disks for backups. One of the externals would be next to the computer, so it would be easy to turn it on and do a backup, then turn it off, so when I'm hacked (it's not "if" any more even if you're careful) there's something to restore from. Periodically, maybe every couple of weeks, I'd copy the external hard drive to one that otherwise stays in the locked file cabinet, with perhaps one more generation behind it. I keep at least one generation of image backup of the boot disk, and generally make one before a Windows feature update (like 1903) - I've had to use the image a couple of times in the past after a feature update or system upgrade (they're really the same thing) went into the weeds and wouldn't roll back on its own.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 06-26-2019 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Need for speed...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernWarrior View Post
    Not sure of it's age but certainly over 5 years. I also came up with similar reports after Googling, which means given all the activity running MSTS etc. makes me surprised it lasted this long. More to the point the primary drive on the PC new at purchase must be getting on for 5 years old so I need to consider replacing that, though I do plan on replacing the whole PC next year funds permitting.

    The worst title to reinstall will be GTA V, about 6 DVD's and I'm sure it took over an hour last time.
    Not sure what copy protection GTA V uses, but one possibility might be to generate ISO files of the DVDs and store those with your backups. Mounting and running the ISO files also tends to install more quickly than running it from the actual optical drive.

  10. #10
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    Will just take my time with GTA V, leave it running. I like jumping on the freight train and riding around the map (amongst all the other things!).

    Anyway new drive arrived and installed - a bit of a faff to get Windows 10 to see it at first but all good now. Got a couple of Steam games installing first to prove it works.

    Just checked the records and this PC was actually purchased nearly six years ago, so although it's had a couple of GPU upgrades the essential bits are getting on. Will probably change the whole unit next year, particularly if the new MSFS 2020 turns out to be a demanding beastie!
    Vern.

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