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How to test HDDs

Discussion in 'Storage & Backup' started by desibeat18, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    Just wondering what you guys use to test your HDDs

    I am building a new computer and a few of my HDDs are 4-5years old.
    A few 4Tb 7200rpm and a 256Gb SSD
    Is it possible to reliably test what their condition is now? And is it possible to decide whether they would be good without any problems as I am trying to decide whether to leave them as is or buy new ones for a new computer I am building
    Case is clean, no dust, and good operating temperatures with a number of fans inside.
     
  2. power

    power Member

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    the manufacturer will provide a diagnostic test 4TB drives take a while to test but yeah not hard.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    Any particular software you recommend for the SATA HDDs, Samsung SSD comes with its own software
     
  4. power

    power Member

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    what brand hard drives?
     
  5. OP
    OP
    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    Seagate
    Western Digital
     
  6. d1ng0d4n

    d1ng0d4n Member

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    WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostics
    Seagate Seatools
     
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  7. power

    power Member

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    I like Seatools as it will allow you to queue up the drives, DLG less a fan of but it's what WDC provide and will give you a good idea.

    always run the quick test first (if they fail that the HDD is screwed) and run the long test (they take hours).

    Don't recommend ones that run in windows always from a bootable cd or usb stick.
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    d1 & Power, thanks so much mate.
    Btw how often do you recommend changing drives & what do you do with old drives that work fine but I dont want my data on them because of their age (how often do you recommend changing them? - for 7200rpm, 5400rpm and SSD drives). I used to have HDDs in my computer but ever since having a NAS my workflow is usually to try to change every 3-4years out from the computer and place it in the NAS until they fail.
     
  9. power

    power Member

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    i would be replacing before warranty is out or space becomes an issue depending on workload, but most drives are pretty reliable. failure rates aren't what they used to be.

    i personally for home use wait until storage limit is reached and then will replace oldest drives first with whatever is at a good $/GB ratio trying to keep the amount of drives down is a priority.

    I also use 5400 almost exclusively for home storage these days as i just don't see the benefit of 7200's. having a good power plan also helps so drives aren't spinning up and down unnecessarily.

    work, yeah as they fail as everything is backed up anyway. replaced when outgrow space requirements.

    if the data is important you should have a backup, yes this becomes harder as storage size increases but it depends what it's worth to you. You need to break your data up into what needs to be backed up and what you wouldn't lose sleep over and backup accordingly.
     
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  10. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    On the pretty rare ocassiona I need it then usually manufacturer tools.
     
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  11. d1ng0d4n

    d1ng0d4n Member

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    I'm with power on this. NAS + minimum number of drives + redundancy. Swap out the oldest for newer drives over time. Drives are fairly reliable these days when treated well.

    As for what to do with old drives/drives you no longer trust - DBAN them and move them on to someone else/bin, or use them to create something to play with (toying around with other file systems, SiaCoin mining, whatever tickles your fancy).

    EDIT: Of course, do the right thing. If they're faulty, smash the shit out of them and bin em.
     
  12. OP
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    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    So youd be fine to use a HDD for 5 years if that was the warranty, such as on SSDs
    What if its fine at 5year point, would you continue to use it?
    When do you start thinking of changing them (in years), roughly. Would you change them even if the manufacturers testing software gives them a pass
    Thanks
     
  13. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    out of warranty? buy new ones.

    yes no, there's manufacturer specific software, and generic SMART diagnostics reading software, but it could return good health and still die tomorrow. predicting HDD life is a black art more than a science.

    for long life, the best bet is to keep the running 24x7, startup is where most failures will occur (ask anyone managing a data centre after an unplanned power outage, sooo many dead drives). power saving modes are the devil.

    tl;dr buy new ones.
     
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  14. OP
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    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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  15. d1ng0d4n

    d1ng0d4n Member

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    Personally, I run mine until dust. But I have everything backed up very frequently :)
     
  16. OP
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    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    how do you backup?
    Ive got a QNAP NAS 6 bays and was going to put in a few HDDs in RAID. Autobackup using a proprietary software
     
  17. HobartTas

    HobartTas Member

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    For a new hard drive in a PC I generally use the manufacturer's provided utility software which does a full surface test and all this usually does is write zeros to all the sectors on the entire drive and in the case of any bad blocks it will allocate a spare sector if it finds any and replace them, however, with normal usage you will get bad blocks occurring as "pending sectors" cropping up from time to time and there's nothing really you can do about those.

    If you want robust data storage then you really need to run something like ZFS or BTRFS with redundancy and in my case I use ZFS Raid-Z2 and this solves the problem of bad blocks because it can recreate the bad sector and remap it and also deals with hard drives dying because I can just replace it and re-silver it.
     
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  18. d1ng0d4n

    d1ng0d4n Member

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    Auto backup to a QNAP TS-431P, running 4x4TB in RAID5 (or whatever QTS calls it)
     
  19. OP
    OP
    desibeat18

    desibeat18 New Member

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    What do you use for the autobackup feature? I was thinking of using Acronis
     
  20. d1ng0d4n

    d1ng0d4n Member

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    The ever so shit Windows Backup. It's cracked it with me though, so looking for an alternative and in the mean time been dragging and dropping. Might give the QNAP software a crack, see if it's any good.
     

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