Almost all computer has a hard drive installed in them to store your photos, videos, documents or other data to store securely and permanently for a long time. The hard disk is a part of the computer usually placed inside of your computer chassis to store the data securely for the long term. If you open your computer case and detach the hard disk drive (HDD) you can see a solid metal disk like container (you don’t do it by yourself). Hard drives are enclosed in a metal container, if it opened we can see magnetic platters inside. Platters are round metal plates that can hold a certain amount of information.
The data is stored and retrieved from the platters using concentric circles, called tracks. Over the platters there are arms. The arms constitute read and write heads to read and write information onto the platters. Each platter has its own arm to read and write data from it. There is a motor is attached with the platter to spin the platters at a specific rotation per minute (RPM). The faster the RPM the faster the drive can access the data.
When you want to access the data from the hard drive, the hard disk motor will spin up the platters and the arm will move itself to the proper position above the platter where the information is stored. The heads on the arm obtained the magnetic bits on the platters and convert it into useful data. The same way, to store a data, the heads will move to the specific location and send magnetic pulses to the platters, that changes the magnetic properties of the platter, and your data is stored.
I explained the working of the hard disk to know how much complicated the hard disk system is. So there is a great chance to get corrupted and may lose your data on a day. You can do some research to find out some reliable hard drive from the market to secure your data for a long time. There are a number of manufacturers offering different brands with different features. How to find out the most reliable one?
The working of Solid-State Drives (SSD) is a bit different from the working of Hard Disk Drives (HDD). Here in SSD, there are no moving parts like the spinning disks in HDD. Instead, data is saved to a pool of NAND flash drives. As I said, the SSD drives have no moving parts to wear down or break, so it provides better performance and more reliability than the spinning hard drives. SSD required less power at it generates less heat than HDD. In a RAM, the data doesn’t retain when the computer shuts off, but in SSD memory the data is retained even if it is not powered.
In the storage industry, there are some big players, playing with thousands of hard disk for storing petabytes of data every day. I think they are the right one to tell about the hard disk reliability, as they are checking the system in an actual environment.
Backblaze is a big player in the storage industry for more than a decade. They had more than 100,000 spinning hard drives in their cloud storage ecosystem spread across three data centers. There were 1,913 boot drives and 104,325 data drives. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, Backblaze was using 104,325 hard drives to store data. They publish the drive’s reliability data in every quarter. You can check the Blackblaze’s hard drive stats for 2019 from here.
If you are having a hard drive and maybe feared the lifetime of it. You can check the health of the drive with several tools. You can easily find an aging drive and can backup your data to a new drive. Every hard disk manufacturers have their own tools to find the health of the system. If you are having a Seagate hard disk, you can use SeaTools to check your hard drive. There are a separate graphical dashboard diagnostic tools optimized for Seagate Solid State Drives is also available. Windows Data Lifeguard Diagnostics is for Western Digital hard disk, it is a Windows software for hard disk diagnostics. This software can test WD internal and external drives. Western Digital SSD Dashboard is for maintaining peak performance of the Western Digital SSD in Windows with a user-friendly graphical interface. You can also download the Mac version from the site.