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HDD Data Loss Statistics for Home and Office PC Users

Hard drives have a higher chance of failure during strenuous activities. For example, when a RAID system needs to rebuild a failed drive on a new hard drive, it will access the other drives in the array.


If you work on a computer, you probably read and write information from a hard drive several hundred times per day. Your computer's hard drive is one of its most important components, and to keep your system running smoothly and avoid data loss, you should understand the limitations of your HDD.

This means understanding your chances of experiencing physical or logical issues that prevent you from using your hard drive normally. Here are a few surprising statistics that show the relative likelihood of data-threatening HDD failures and data loss events.

2-4% of Hard Drives Faily Every Year

This statistic comes from a study of 100,000 hard drives conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in 2007.

The study's authors, Bianca Schroeder and Garth A. Gibson, found that annual disk replacement rates "typically exceed 1 percent, with 2-4 percent common and up to 13 percent observed on some systems." The study did not show whether any particular hard drive brand is more or less reliable on average. However, Schroeder and Gibson did suggest that hard drive interface types such as SCSI or SATA made no difference in failure rates.

Usage Affects Risk

It is important to note that the aforementioned study observed 100,000 drives from high-end servers and business systems, so usage may play some role in failure rates. Extreme temperatures can potentially affect hard drive reliability, as can excessive vibration, excessive humidity and computer usage habits.

Hard drives have a higher chance of failure during strenuous activities. For example, when a RAID system needs to rebuild a failed drive on a new hard drive, it will access the other drives in the array. This puts stress on the other drives, and a second hard drive failure occasionally occurs during the rebuild process as a result.

High-end hard drives have a lifespan of about 600,000 load/unload cycles, which translates to about 3-5 years depending on usage. Most hard drive manufacturers offer 5-year warranties for new drives, but these warranties do not cover the costs of professional data recovery services.

Most Users Do Not Back Up Their Data

Data backup statistics from online surveys are fairly shocking; 80-90 percent of computer users say that they do not have a consistent backup strategy. While most surveys are not scientific, it is safe to say that the average computer user takes extraordinary data loss risks on a regular basis.

To create a strong backup strategy, you should invest in an automatic backup program and keep at least three copies of your most important files. Ideally, you should keep one copy offsite. Otherwise, you risk the potentially costly consequences of permanent file loss.

Most Data is Recoverable

The good news is that the professionals at Secure Data Recovery Services are ready to help if you suddenly experience a hard drive failure. We have a network of offices across the United States, and with a Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom and an expert team of data recovery specialists, we achieve high average recovery rates for all types of hard drives, flash drives and other digital media.

Our recovery success rate is one of the highest in our industry at over 85 percent. However, many factors can influence the chances of a successful recovery, and we offer free media diagnostics to provide an accurate assessment of hard drive damage at the beginning of each case.

If you need fast, reliable data recovery services for a desktop, laptop or external hard drive, contact Secure Data Recovery Services today at 1-800-388-1266 to set up a free media evaluation or for more information.

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