Some say only two years while many real-world thrill seekers are counting decades while living on the edge. The Independent recommends making new copies of your CDs every couple of years so that your discs are never more than 3-5 years old.
- As few as 2 years: The Independent (UK) via rense.com
- 2-5 years: Kurt Gerecke, IBM physicist and storage expert, via PC World and ComputerWorld
- 10 years: Wikipedia per "Journal de 20 Heures" by J. Perdereau
- 30-100 years: Semar Majid, Imation technical marketing executive, via The Independent (UK) via rense.com
It was hard to peg down a hard drive's lifespans, as a 2007 Google paper seems to conclude with many findings that hard drives either fail fairly quickly or go the distance. If manufacturers report their mean time to failure as over 100 years, then the more relevant information might be a hard drive's failure rate. The less often a particular type of hard drive fails, the better the chances your drive will actually last for any measurable length.
So how long do hard drives last? Hard to say, but from forums and personal experience we'd suggest if your hard drive is going on 5-10 years, you might want to consider backing it up. Like now.
- How to Securely Back Up Your Data
- Being Prepared For When "It" Happens
- Study Shows Us How Rarely We Back Up Our Computers
- Computer Maintenance: Backup Every Few Months
- What's the Best Method to Back Up My Stuff? (Good Questions)
- Backup FAIL! Why Backing Up Still Leaves Us Paranoid