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In the last few weeks, I've been having a few weird problems with machines that have been working fine, then acting up until I switched out one hard drive. (E.g. my MacBook Pro loosing files, my Windows Home Server "dropping" an HD again and again)

I've been wondering if it really was the hard drive or some loose cable or something else. In other words: When a problem is solved by switching hard drives, did I just have an HD gone bad or are there other things I should rule out first?

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It is definitely too common. Two drives failing within a few weeks sounds like bad luck. If it works now after swapping drives, they were probably bad. Did you swap anything else? – Daniel Beck Dec 10 '10 at 12:12

Always try and reseat cables first. If swapping out the drive fixes and you DID reseat the cable it was in all likelihood the drive

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One interpretation of "Pournelle's Law" is "always check cables first". But that said, it's safe to guess that eventually, your hard drives will go bad.

There are a number of packages available to query the drive firmware for more information on the state of the drive.

If a number of drives go bad at the same time, you could have been hit with some sort of power glitch - do you use any sort of filter/ups systems?

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