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I actually use Microsoft's SyncToy to sync 2 hard drives so that Hard drive 2 is the mirror of Hard drive 1, as a back up, and so that both are independent and even when one goes bad, a totally independent one can work.

But say if I don't sync to 2 weeks, and now drive 1 has 60GB of new stuff (or more), and copying may take 1 hour or more. In this case, will it stress out either drive when I do a copy finally? In general, how long of continuous copying will stress out a read drive and a write drive? (I just hope SyncToy has an option to "copy 1 file and rest for 1 minute for any file greater than 500MB).

(these are WD 3TB Element drives)

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If you throw it while it is copying, then it may stress out. Otherwise I've copied whole terabytes of data at a time. – surfasb Oct 5 '11 at 22:35
No more "stress", really, than running a virus scan or whatever. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 1 '12 at 2:33
I'd think that both the OS's drivers (e.g. AHCI) and SATA controller would prevent software from doing anything to physically damage your hard drives. You might be able to interrupt the transfer and do things to corrupt the filesystem, but the hardware won't be damaged. – Lèse majesté Apr 1 '12 at 3:53

No. This does not "stress" the hard drive.

As long as the temperature remains between 41°F and 95°F you should be 100% fine.

Also, make sure that you use the supplied AC power adapter with an AC input voltage of 100-240 VAC and an AC Input Frequency of 50-60 Hz

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is it opinion or is it based on... for example, industry experience? – 太極者無極而生 Oct 6 '11 at 7:08
Experience. I personally use compression software frequently, which is only reading/writing data. Compression is among the most "intensive" ways you can use a hard drive. I've had my 1TB drive for over 4 years, fully compressing about 200GB every week. I've also monitored my hard drive's performance over the years. I haven't noticed any reduction in speed/performance. – wizlog Oct 6 '11 at 14:07
have you ever copied 1TB or 2TB or just to fill up a hard drive in one shot -- will that stress out the drive? – 太極者無極而生 Oct 8 '11 at 0:57
No I've never copied that much data "just for fun". I have better stuff to do with my CPU power. – wizlog Oct 10 '11 at 2:24
aha, it might not be just for fun... it could that you want to back up the whole hard drive which is 2TB, or the hard drive started to seem having problem and you copy everything to a brand new drive just in case the original drive fails – 太極者無極而生 Oct 11 '11 at 17:01

I have copied in excess of 200 gb from one external drive to another with out problem. I'm fairly sure these disks are designed to take it. Many now have internal heat senors and probably regulate usage in certain scenarios.

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you copied 200GB in 1 shot and it was ok? I wonder what if all 3TB in 1 shot... also... you know what people say about zipper: that it works ok by ordinary use -- if you zip up and down a million times, it will also fail – 太極者無極而生 Oct 6 '11 at 5:28
yes, copied approx 200GB, most files was between 500MB and 1,500MB. – bryan Oct 6 '11 at 5:50

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