How long does an external hard disk usually last you?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iMacZealot, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    I've bought three over the last two years, and only one of them has lasted longer than 18 months. I think one of them may have been damaged in a fifteen hour flight, but it still works (albeit too slow to the point that it's unusuable.) My .5 TB monster just died last week, which had almost all of my video files from the last year, totaling 300 GB in data loss.

    What can I do to avoid such situations? Should I maybe get a 1 TB disk for everyday use to replace my .5 TB disk, then a 2.5 TB disk (or bigger) just for backups? What sort of backup software should I use? (not Time Machine, I'm not interested in backing up my entire computer several times, just my FCP files.)

    How long do external hard disks last for you? Is your luck with them better or worse than mine?
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    *Knock on wood* I've never had an external hard drive fail on me. I use 4 of them with the oldest being over 2 years old. I buy Seagate hard drives and with their 5 year warranty and reliability with my current external hard drives I'd recommend them.
  3. MacAlpha macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2008
    Great White North
    I have never had one fail either. The oldest is a 120Gb Lacie portable that I have had for 4 years. Never had a problem.
  4. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    I've had 4 out of 7 Lacies fail on me in 6 months. I switched to dual drive enclosures with Seagates 4 years ago, and that's lasted me until recently when I went with 3 FW800 Drobos, 2 with 4TB, and one with 6TB. Hopefully I won't have to worry about data loss anymore!
  5. iParis macrumors 68040


    Jul 29, 2008
    New Mexico
    My 160GB WD MyPassport of two years is still going strong.
    I recently got a 640GB WD MyBook and it's amazing.
  6. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    Hmmm...the one that just failed on me was a Lacie, and it was maybe a year old. Since I've heard such great things about Seagate, perhaps I should give them a try.
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Not sure what they use now since Maxtor was bought by Seagate, but LaCie externals used to contain Maxtors- which were notoriously prone to failure.

    I've stuck with Seagate for the past 5 some-odd years and have only had one drive out of a dozen or so fail to the point where I couldn't recover anything.
  8. rick3000 macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2008
    West Coast
    The first external drive I ever bought still works. It's a 160GB SimpleTech, I got 5 years ago. I no longer use it daily but it turns on and runs perfectly. I had a 300GB Maxtor that died after one year.
    I curently have a 750GB FreeAgent Pro that was just replaced under warranty in under 10 months, but it was not a physical failure the drive was unplugged while the computer was asleep and I couldn't get it to remount. I just got a 1TB Seagate Xtreme, and it has worked fine for the month I have had it.

    So it is hard to say how long they will last. I have no idea how long a drive will last if it is unplugged and stored, but using one every day 5 years appears to be the maximum. Maybe 3 years on average if you get one that doesn't die in the first year. I think it is hit or miss. You get one that will ast a few years or you get one that dies in the first few months.

    My sister has a 160GB FireDisk that she got 5 years ago, and it still runs as well. But it is starting to go, click of death?

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