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I've had my current hard drive for about 4-5 years now, and I've never had a problem with it before, but now it's making whirring noises. It's done this before and, last time, the noise did go away the next day, but I have accumulated quite a bit of information that I wouldn't want to lose on the drive.

HD Tune Pro and Berlac Advisor both said the drive was healthy, and I wouldn't want to get a new one unless it was absolutely necessary or was going to show drastic performance improvements. My only knock against the drive would be that Visual Studio takes longer to load than I'd like it to. HD Tune Pro says the average read speed is 54.3MB/s. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but it seems about average compared to similar drives on http://www.hdtune.com/testresults.html.

Model #: WDC WD5000AAJS-22YFA0

So, should hard drives be replaced after a certain amount of time? Has mine reached that point? Would a new hard drive be any faster?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Any changes in the normal behavior of the drive is a signal for attention. In the most cases it's a harbinger of the problems. So, I recommend you to backup all data as soon as possible and replace the drive.

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I tend to replace mission critical hard drives every 3 years, I like the Western Digital Black Series of drives (Scorpio black for laptops, Caviar black for desktops), I also have a Seagate Hybrid drive in my laptop that I am very happy with its performance increase over a standard hard drive.

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Before you do anything else, you should back up any data you don't want to lose.

Once you've done that, you can decide whether to get a new drive. If you can't afford to be without a drive for a few days, then by all means get a new one, but unless it's an SSD it won't be much faster.

You can never tell how long a drive will last. I have drives that are 10+ years old and still run fine, but I've also had drives that died after a year or two - they can die at any time. Therefore, it is important to have current backups.

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I don't have anything to back up the information on except for blank CDs. –  user1125620 Apr 7 '12 at 7:31
    
Then get an external hard drive or similar, and use it for backups. Always have some form of backup, and as cheap as 1TB and larger external hard drives are, there's no reason not to. Even if you get a new internal drive, backup backup backup your data onto a separate drive! –  Bob Apr 7 '12 at 8:08
    
@user1125620 Create a free dropbox account and save information to the cloud. You can get 2.5gb of free space by clicking on my referral link. –  crea7or Apr 7 '12 at 8:12

I used to use HDSentinel trial version. It shows the health of drive. But be careful-it keeps on 100% long time, but as soon as it starts go down, it goes fast.

And one more tip: when you are copying from dying drive keep it cold. Once I've used ice in multiple plastic bags, but it can be dangerous. Usually is fine just some extra ventilation.

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