Secure Data Recovery company specializing in data recovery, calculatedthat failed hard drives fail after an average of 25,233 hours of operation – that’s 1,051 days or two years and ten months.
The report on the average hard disk life expectancy before failure was compiled based on data from failed instances in 2007, from which the data was recovered by the company’s specialists. Timothy Burlee, the author of the material, calculated the number of hours from the first time the hard drive was turned on until it arrived at the workshop, and also took into account the number of bad sectors for failed devices. Drives that fail due to extreme circumstances such as power surges, malware, natural disasters, or accidental damage were excluded from the report.
Of the instances included in the statistics, 47% were Western Digital, 28% Seagate, 10% Hitachi (owned by Western Digital, total WD share was 57%), 8% Toshiba, 6% Samsung, and 1% Maxtor. On average, there were 1548 bad sectors per device – for comparison: there are almost 2 billion sectors on a 1 TB drive. Toshiba drives proved to be the most durable in the sample, with an average time-to-failure of 34,799 hours, while Hitachi drives performed the worst, averaging 18,632 hours, and also had the worst sectors.
Curiously, the five most fault-tolerant hard drives were manufactured before 2015, while the least durable specimens were released after that mark. The study’s authors attribute this change to manufacturers’ adoption of more sophisticated recording technologies: head designs have become more complex, and complexity traditionally increases the probability of failure.
It must be emphasized that the study does not provide any indicators of the average lifespan of a hard drive in general – we are only talking about the average lifespan of bad copies. More detailed statistics, taking into account serviceable units through the end of 2022, were previously provided by Backblaze, a company that offers cloud storage services.