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I recently (about a week ago) bought a hard drive (Seagate ST3000VN007), and set up S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring. I also used badblocks on it to see if there was any important damage because of the shipping method.

Today, I saw that the high fly writes number is suspiciously high (raw value of 39). I know it's an "informational" parameter, but I feel like it's a bit too high for a new disk.

Should I worry and return the drive, or is it normal to see such a high number (why?)?

Here's the full S.M.A.R.T. data :

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   115   100   006    Pre-fail  Always       -       99844816
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   096   096   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       5
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   010    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   100   253   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       317858
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       92
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       5
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0032   100   100   099    Old_age   Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   061   061   000    Old_age   Always       -       39
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   067   064   045    Old_age   Always       -       33 (Min/Max 29/36)
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       5
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   033   040   000    Old_age   Always       -       33 (0 22 0 0 0)
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
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  • Was this a new or a second hand drive? – DavidPostill Apr 13 '18 at 18:00
  • It's a brand new drive. – Diagamma Apr 13 '18 at 18:03
  • What shipping method? Was it boxed properly, with antistatic bag, and multiple layers of foam and cardboard? – Christopher Hostage Apr 13 '18 at 18:45
  • Sorry for the delay — it was shipped through postal service ("Colis Privé", a subsidiary of Amazon, which is where I bought the disk), and not very well boxed IMO. That being said, I bought other disks at the same time, and even though the boxing was worse, they seemingly don't have such problems. – Diagamma Apr 13 '18 at 20:55
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I saw that the high fly writes number is suspiciously high

Regular backup is recommended and pay close attention to other parameters and overall drive health.

It is also worth checking this value frequently as Back blaze have said "many of the failed drives with this error had a similar number of errors, but they were distributed over a much shorter period of time, for example 52 errors over a one-week period. Suddenly SMART 189 looks very interesting in predicting failure by looking for clusters of High Fly Writes over a small period of time."

High Fly Writes S.M.A.R.T. parameter indicates the count of these errors detected over the lifetime of the drive. HDD producers implement a Fly Height Monitor that attempts to provide additional protections for write operations by detecting when a recording head is flying outside its normal operating range. If an unsafe fly height condition is encountered, the write process is stopped, and the information is rewritten or reallocated to a safe region of the hard drive. Recommendations

This parameter is considered informational by the most hardware vendors. Although degradation of this parameter can be an indicator of drive aging and/or potential electromechanical problems, it does not directly indicate imminent drive failure. Regular backup is recommended. Pay closer attention to other parameters and overall drive health.

Source S.M.A.R.T. Attribute: High Fly Writes | Knowledge Base

Another stat to consider: SMART 189 – High Fly Writes

This is a stat we’ve been reviewing to see if it will join our current list of five SMART stats we use today. This stat is the cumulative count of the number of times the recording head “flies” outside its normal operating range. Below we list the percentage of operational and failed drives where the SMART 189 raw value is greater than zero.

Failed Drives: 47.0%

Operational Drives: 16.4% 

The false positive percentage of operational drives having a greater than zero value may at first glance seem to render this stat meaningless. But what if I told you that for most of the operational drives with SMART 189 errors, that those errors were distributed fairly evenly over a long period of time. For example, there was one error a week on average for 52 weeks. In addition, what if I told you that many of the failed drives with this error had a similar number of errors, but they were distributed over a much shorter period of time, for example 52 errors over a one-week period. Suddenly SMART 189 looks very interesting in predicting failure by looking for clusters of High Fly Writes over a small period of time. We are currently in the process of researching the use of SMART 189 to determine if we can define a useful range of rates at which errors occur.

Source What SMART Hard Disk Errors Actually Tell Us

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    Thank you, the Backblaze link is very useful. I'll monitor the disk for one or two more days, and if there are more errors, I'll return it. – Diagamma Apr 13 '18 at 18:08

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