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i have hard drives in docking stations always on and connected to my computer (since my computer has limited SATA ports)

all are dandy until i got my 2nd failed drive from the drives in my docking station

which begs me to ask, is it ok to keep using hard drive in vertical position? Or is this mechanically not healthy for hard drives and they are better off running horizontally situated?

  • Anecdotally a drive will survive a long time in any given orientation but old drives may get worn in particular ways from being used in a particular orientation. I had a drive that worked perfectly for 4 years in one orientation but failed within a week of being moved to another. A docking station may not be as secure as your case where it gets screwed in and so vibrations and things hitting your desk can be a concern for the docking station. – Mokubai May 4 '18 at 7:27
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There shouldn't be any issue with mounting modern hard disks in any orientation.

That being said, there are things to consider when an HDD is in a "docking station":

  • You will be exposing the disk to the elements (e.g: touch-induced electro-static discharge)
  • Cooling may be less optimal due to the lack of airflow and the reduced surface area of the disk's "top-side"
  • The docking station's power supply may be more prone to regulation issues (e.g: brownout or over-voltage)
  • Vibration may be more of an issue as the disk is not rigidly mounted to a frame, but rather "floating" in an enclosure - possibly even sitting on the connector.
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Mounting the hdd horizontally, vertically or sideways doesn't affect its lifetime.

e.g. from Hitachi Deskstar 7K250:

The drive will operate in all axes (6 directions). Performance and error rate stay within specification limits even if the drive is operated in other orientations from which it was formatted.

Seagate Barracuda 7200

You can mount the drive in any orientation using four screws in the side-mounting holes or four screws in the bottom-mounting holes

Anyway the hdd is best cooled when mounted horizontally because there is more surface to absorb the rising warm air.

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