If I copy too many files from an external hard drive...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by doxavita, May 26, 2011.

  1. doxavita, May 26, 2011
    Last edited: May 26, 2011

    doxavita macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
    #1
    If I copy too many files from an external hard drive to my 13" MBP, can the MBP's hard drive somehow get damaged? Already copied the files, and my MBP is still running... I have chess databases which are made up of literally thousands of very small files. Thoughts?
     
  2. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    So if it works right now, the worst is already over?
     
  3. Yumunum, May 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2011

    Yumunum macrumors 65816

    Yumunum

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    #4
    I once knew a guy who did something similar, his laptop blew into thousands of little pieces, it lit his house on fire, and sent him to the hospital. He later died.

    Jk, but in all seriousness, you'll be fine right now. But don't HD's have a limited amount of read/write cycles or something? Like I said, you'll be fine for now and for years to come, but eventually it might hit breaking point. Someone else more knowledgable willing to correct me/explain?
     
  4. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #5
    Hard disks last practically forever. SSDs have a large number of write-cycles, that would be very difficult to reach without constantly writing and re-writing to the disk for years.

    There are two main problems with filling up your HDD, but both just cause the computer to slow down, and will not cause damage.

    1) Lack of virtual memory: The computer will use disk space as virtual RAM sometimes, which you can see by using the Activity Monitor utility. It allows the computer to surpass the amount of RAM the computer has. If the disk is full, this obviously can't happen, and as slow RAM is clearly better than no RAM, your computer will slow down.

    2) Disk fragmentation: Writing and deleting lots of small files when your disk is almost full will result in large chunks of data being fragmented, ie. small bits in lots of different places on the disk. This seriously increases read times of this data, as the disk has to seek out each fragment in turn, instead of being able to read the whole block at once. Mac OS has automatic disk defragmentation routines, however I imagine these have a limit.

    In summary, a full disk will not cause physical harm to your computer, but will result in sub-optimal performance.
     
  5. KwanMan macrumors regular

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    May 12, 2011
    #6
    Yes. Listen to me very carefully. Your hard drive was not designed to have files copied to it, you should never change anything on it or it will explode and kill you. You have been warned.
     
  6. DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #7

    ^
    |
    |
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    This man is an expert. Listen to him. In fact, your wallet wasn't designed to have money put in or taken out of it either. Send it all to me. B4 U DIE!
     
  7. doxavita, May 26, 2011
    Last edited: May 26, 2011

    doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
    #8
    It was around 20-30 GB I think, I copied them to Windows 7, (through Parallels), but like I said, many small files (30-40K) I think. But my hard drive is still far from being filled up... (windows 7 also has automatic defrag too, right?)

    I shouldn't notice any slowdown yet, right?
     
  8. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #9
    No.

    OS X warns you when your disk is almost full, anyway.

    You have nothing to worry about.
     
  9. doxavita, May 26, 2011
    Last edited: May 26, 2011

    doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Alright, so the slowdown would only take place if the hard drive was about to fill up, at this point I shouldn't notice a difference.
     
  10. Wafflausages macrumors 6502

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