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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Performance, Quality and Reliability ]

Hard Disk Quality and Reliability

"Every drive dies; not every drive really lives."
    -- Braveheart meets 21st century technology. :^)

A hard disk's performance is its most important characteristic--right up until the point where it stops working. Then, suddenly, you don't care how fast it is--or rather, was. You just want it to start working again. (OK, stop groaning already about the quote. :^) )

Many people take their hard disk drives for granted, and don't think about their reliability much (other than worrying about their disk crashing some day). While the technology that hard disks use is very advanced, and reliability today is much better than it has ever been before, the nature of hard drives is that every one will, some day, fail. It is important to understand how drives fail and why, and how to interpret what manufacturers claims about reliability really mean.

This section takes a comprehensive look at hard disk quality and reliability. First, I explain in some detail the different hard disk quality specifications that you are likely to encounter when shopping for a hard disk. Next, I discuss issues relevant to the matter of quality and reliability. I then discuss some of the features that hard disk manufacturers are including in their drives to improve quality and reliability. Finally, I discuss warranty issues, and what to do should you have a hard drive failure.

Next: Hard Disk Quality and Reliability Specifications

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