Does torrenting damage your HDD?


macrumors regular
Original poster
May 7, 2007
Hi all:)

I happen to download torrents (all legal stuff, mind) rather often, and I was wondering: can the constant writing of information on the hard-disc for hours (or days) significantly shorten its life?

If so, I'm gonna start downloading torrents to my external HD, b/c I'd really rather have its HDD run outta puff than my iMac's (it's a lot cheaper to replace:p).

Any ideas/thoughts?



Jan 18, 2005
In theory yes. When I seed my games (saves on my sites bandwidth), the HDD never shuts off and it's in constant use. That can't be good for the drive. So much so I've started using an old 60gb external drive I found at the back of the filing cabinet and hosting my torrents off that.

It's all theory since I've had no problems with it (yet). I mean this drive is old, but it still survives to this day and it's always in use. Western Digital.


macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2006
It's extra wear and tear, yes, but I wouldn't really worry about it except with, say, a small laptop hard drive + low RAM + Azureus.

Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
A laptop hard drive is generally warranted for use 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

A desktop hard drive is usually warranted for 24/7 operation.

Obviously, a hard drive being used is what wears it out, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Unless you get a fluke bad drive, it should last for years and years even with 24/7 operation. (A friend has a server that has been in constant use, 24/7, for seven years now, with near-constant drive access the entire time.)


macrumors 68000
Aug 12, 2005
Nashville, TN
All hard drives have what's "Mean Time to Failure," which is nothing more than the average time it takes that particular brand/model of drive to keel over and die. The more you use the drive, the closer to that average. If you do some seriously heavy torrenting, then maybe, otherwise, the extra wear on the drive is negligible.
Actually, it's "Mean Time Between Failures" and usually it's somewhere in the 100,000 hour range or more.

On the whole, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'd worry about the long-term effects of leaving your Mac running 24x7 more than simply the hard drive usage component of that.