How long a hard disk lasts and how to increase its lifespan

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The hard disk is a very important part of the overall functioning of the operating system, recording important data for users – but unfortunately, it has a lifespan.

How long a hard disk lasts depends on several aspects, such as frequency and mode of use, brand of the device, daily care, among others.

The good news is that hard disks show signs that they are wearing out over time – and some software can make it easier to spot the signs that are starting to appear.

In today’s post, find out what these signs are and check out some software that can help you check the health of your hard disk, so that you can take the necessary measures when it’s close to reaching its maximum lifespan.

How long does a hard disk last?

Just like any electronic device, the hard disk also has a lifespan.

In general, research shows that that around 80% of Hard Disk Drives make it to the 4th year of operation. On the other hand, only half make it to the 6th year.

But exactly how long a hard disk lasts depends on several factors.

The first of these factors is the type of drive:

  1. Disk: also known as a hard disk, this drive has mechanical parts (magnetic platter, a motor and read/write heads). The magnetic platter and read/write heads must not touch – if this happens for any reason (sudden movement or power failure), areas of the disk can be damaged, lose performance or even suffer total failure. When used under normal conditions, without temperature and usage problems, the disk can last between 5 and 8 years
  2. SDD (solid state drive): with flash memory (non-magnetic and electronically erasable), this drive is faster at exchanging data, more resistant and lasts longer – around 10 years or more.

Other factors that influence how long a disk lasts are: frequency of use, brand of equipment, daily care and types of activities performed.

How can I know if my hard disk is faulty?

As a disk nears the end of its useful life, it shows certain signs.

By knowing how to identify them, you can prepare to save your files and documents in a safe place and replace your hard disk, preventing the irreversible loss of your data.

Here are some of the signs that may indicate problems with your hard disk:

Slowness and blue screen

If your files are taking a long time to open, this could be a sign that your hard disk is having problems.

So, if you notice that it takes longer than a few minutes to open simple files, this could indicate a hard disk failure.

Also watch out if your recycle bin is taking too long to empty: this is another sign of hard disk problems.

Finally, another indicator of hard disk failure is the blue screen in Windows. When it appears, it can mean that areas of the hard disk are corrupted.

Files won’t open

If your music, text or even video files have recurring problems opening, this could indicate problems with your hard disk.

This isn’t a very serious indicator, but it is still important to take precautions and back up your data and files as soon as possible.

Corrupted files

Se os seus ficheiros estão corrompidos, também pode indicar danos no disco rígido. Estes problemas podem resultar de falhas no sistema, utilização incorreta da peça ou desgaste temporal do componente.

Vale destacar que, quando o disco rígido apresenta etsa falha, nem sempre um único tipo de ficheiro ou itens numa mesma pasta são corrompidos.

Bad blocks

They occur when the surface of a hard disk suffers any kind of physical damage, and can happen for a variety of reasons.

The main reasons are: improper use of the device and unfavorable cooling conditions.

The result of these failures ranges from the loss of sensitive data to the compromise of the equipment.

Strange sounds

Computers shouldn’t make too much noise during their use – except for the sound of the cooler (a type of fan that controls the temperature of the machine). These sounds can be caused by failures in the read/write heads.

In these cases, the risk of the hard disk stopping working is greater. So, if you hear strange sounds on your computer, save your data in a safe place as soon as possible.

Once this is done, replacing the hard disk will be inevitable, as maintaining the hard drive costs more than a new one.

Hard Disk Is Not Recognized

This is the most worrying sign that your hard disk is in trouble and needs to be analyzed urgently.

If you’ve tested and validated that the problem isn’t the cable, the connection on the motherboard (or the motherboard itself), you will need to turn to a hard disk recovery specialist to recover your data.

How to avoid these problems

With the help of a few handy systems, you can scan your hard disk and find signs that its lifespan is numbered.

Some of them are:


This system provides some resources to analyze your hard disk, identifying aspects that may point to serious problems.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this system is completely accurate, but it can still be useful.

The advantage is that CrystalDiskInfo has versions that don’t require installation:

HD Tune

This software can scan both hard drives and SSDs – allowing you to track disk performance and identify errors (even faulty areas), as well as fully wipe the data logged on the hard drive.

Data Lifeguard Diagnostic

Developed for Windows by Western Digital, Data Lifeguard Diagnostic monitors performance, points out problems and provides solutions for both external and internal disks – and of various brands.


It doesn’t matter if problems occur on internal drives, external drives, SSDs, or USB flash drives, HDDScan can help.

With it, you can track performance and diagnose virtually all storage devices, providing a wide range of features to analyze hard drive health.

HDD Health

Our last software on the list, HDD Health, as well as the other tools mentioned, provides features to help identify problems with your disk (and SSD), offering full functionality for analyzing the operation of storage disks.


The average lifespan of a hard disk is 4 years – depending on how and often it’s used, as well as the brand of the device.

Some of the signs that indicate that it’s time to save your data in a safe place and replace your disk are slowdowns and blue screen, files that won’t open/are corrupted, bad blocks and strange sounds, as well as the message that the hard drive is not recognized.

To check the health of your disk and prepare for its replacement, you can use some software, such as CrystalDiskInfo, HD Tune, Data Lifeguard Diagnostic, HDDScan, and HDD Health.

Remember: the best way to keep your files and data safe in the event of damage – or when your disk reaches its maximum lifespan – is by making regular backups.

In addition, it is good to remember that the disk, like any other electronic device, has a useful life – and when it reaches it, it needs to be replaced. If your disk has had problems and you need to recover the data, talk to us. We are specialists in disk data recovery for over a decade.


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