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Testing procedure when buying Internal/External drives?

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Hi guys, 

 

I was just wondering what many of you do to test a hard-drives integrity before storing important data on it that you newly bought? Since there are many drives that fail within the first couple of months. 

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https://www.lifewire.com/use-the-format-command-to-write-zeros-to-a-hard-drive-2626162

 

thats the usual procedure. 1 pass write 0s should be enough.

 

  • Start at Step 7 if you need to write zeros to a drive other than the primary drive in Windows Vista or later. You'll need to have an elevated Command Prompt window open and ready.

anyway its slow, so i dont do it actually. a large drive might take idk really a day or 3, and i wont do it unless i ll ever start buying high risk drives (eg toshiba/ seagate).

but i write a lot of stuff anyway.  what i do nstead is that i dont consider trustworhy a disc for about a month or 2. by then usually ive written over 70% anyway so if it has infancy problems they ll very likely to surface anyway.

so far i was lucky anyway, and i got more than enough disks

Edited by sfaxt
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I usually start at the basics with 2 tools:

 

1) Crystal Disk Info: https://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html

Simplest of SMART tests mainly just to make sure there is nothing wrong straight out of the box.

 

2) SeaTools for Windows: https://www.seagate.com/au/en/support/downloads/seatools/seatools-win-master/

Short Drive Self Test - Makes the drive run a thorough the diagnostic routine that is built into the hard drive's firmware.

Short Generic - Similar to the above and tests various areas of the drive.

 

There is also a Long Generic test which will read every sector of the drive if you really want to make sure. Full support article can be found here. Anything more than that is just paranoia IMO and would shorten the life span of the drive by testing it that thoroughly.

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i dont think  he refers to doa. there's a decent chance for a hdd to show bad sectors after very light usage (eg a write on that sector). early failure within 2-30 days is quite common (still its a small % i guess).

so unless you ve put a good bunch of writes to a disk, you can't really be certain that it isn't defective. though i dont write 0s either.

but one just shouldn't throw data to a new disk and think its ok because it's brand new and smart looks fine. early failure is probably the most common failure within warranty time window

 

when i get a new storage drive ( for videos eg) im bound to fill it in few days, by moving stuff from other disks. that way i recycle data as well and I stress the disk considerably, without needing to do a lengthy stress test. if it makes the month its a good disk (most likely, indeed anything may fail any time:P ) its much easier to return a disk in first month without caring for the disk actually, rather than in 6 months or a year,  when one might have grown dependant on that disk and maybe has  good data inside. but yeah i  know im paranoid. but never lost 1 KB of data and for me this procedure feels natural xD and i had 2 wd gold  DOA back to back last month so i dont trust luck much.

Edited by sfaxt
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3 hours ago, sfaxt said:

i dont think  he refers to doa. there's a decent chance for a hdd to show bad sectors after very light usage (eg a write on that sector). 

A.k.a, DOA.

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Thank you guys for all the comments ^_^ I've been doing precisely what @Moodkiller said for years and so far never had a disk fail on me in the first couple of months, but I'm still paranoid. 

 

The biggest problem with buying new drives is the fact that sales reps don't know how to handle something as delicate as hard drives. Once I wanted to buy two WD My passports 4Tb and when the guy took it he dropped it on the floor, after that he picked it up and said to me it will be fine, O.o I told him he could leave it that thing was fucked.

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6 hours ago, NeutralHatred said:

A.k.a, DOA.

 doa on disks for me, means that you cant initialize or format it or smart shows errors right away.

the problem i refer to might appear 1st  month if you stress the disk, or after a year if one uses it lightly, when one reaches the defective sector/s

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2 hours ago, sfaxt said:

 doa on disks for me, means that you cant initialize or format it or smart shows errors right away.

the problem i refer to might appear 1st  month if you stress the disk, or after a year if one uses it lightly, when one reaches the defective sector/s

While you are right that true DOA disks are not super common, and drive failure usually happens during the first month to 6 months, zeroing a disk is a silly way to figure out if a drive is ready to fail or not. They make surface scanning utils for that.

 

As Moodkiller said, SMART utils are usually your best bet for learning about drive health. I personally prefer gsmartcontrol for SMART monitoring though. It's available on all OSs as far as I can see, and has the same tests he mentions. Short-self test, long-self test (essentially a full surface scan), and a conveyance test, which you would run to check for any damage that happened during or before transportation.

 

If your drive makes it through all the tests, then lasts for more than 6 months, typically they will last for years to come, though periodically checking SMART stats is a good idea too, because all drives eventually fail, and failing SMART values are the best way to see it coming. Specifically the Reallocated/Pending reallocation sectors counts. As soon as one of those moves, drive failure is commonly imminent.

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32 minutes ago, freeka said:

While you are right that true DOA disks are not super common, and drive failure usually happens during the first month to 6 months, zeroing a disk is a silly way to figure out if a drive is ready to fail or not. They make surface scanning utils for that.

 

yeah and thats why ive said 3 times that i dont use it either. in first post even. anyway for ext disks OP seems most likely interested in, it doesnt work because it'd be slower even.

but geting a disk full fast to stress it asap, and then once its full  let it be for a long period of time without any/ or with few writes ( for years even) i fail to see how this is actually stressful or a bad idea for lets say an archive video storage drive

Edited by sfaxt
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2 hours ago, sfaxt said:

yeah and thats why ive said 3 times that i dont use it either. in first post even. anyway for ext disks OP seems most likely interested in, it doesnt work because it'd be slower even.

but geting a disk full fast to stress it asap, and then once its full  let it be for a long period of time without any/ or with few writes ( for years even) i fail to see how this is actually stressful or a bad idea for lets say an archive video storage drive

Because it is literally pointless. Even if you were doing no harm to the drive, it is a complete waste of time. Utils for doing full surface scans have existed for decades, and they are not super fast either, but they certainly don't take the many hours that zeroing a drive will take. If we are talking about how to test a drive out of box (which we are) then your best methods will always be a short <5min conveyance test, and one of the SMART self tests. From there, there is not much you can do besides monitor SMART stats for the first few months of the drive, then check them periodically in the following years.

 

If we were talking about longevity of drives, especially storage drives, there are quite a few more factors that go into it than just potential manufacturing faults. Your environment for your drives will be a much larger factor in their longevity. This is why I do cold backups of all my data, because all HDD's will eventually fail, regardless of how many times you test them and how you treat them.

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