External Hard Disk Lifespan: What Factors Contribute In Hard Disk Lifespan?

External Hard Disk Lifespan

External hard disks are made of mechanical moving parts which makes them all more susceptible to physical damage. This hints that at some point in time, your hard disk will fail.


There is no doubt in the fact that hard disks will eventually fail, but, the question that often arises in people’s minds is when will the hard drive fail?


This article is about external hard disk lifespan. Hard disks are more prone to failure because of the high chances of physical damage. Given that no physical damage is caused, a hard disk has a lifespan of around 3 to 5 years. If given proper care, it can last longer.

What is the Lifespan of an External Hard Drive?


To recap, a hard disk usually lasts as long as three to five years depending on how much physical damage is done to it. You can totally increase the lifespan of your hard disk by handling it with care and avoiding any kind of physical damage to it. However, a failing disk is inevitable and one day or another, your hard disk will end up dying.


What are the factors that affect hard disk lifespan?


There are a number of factors that might affect how long your hard disk lives. These factors, including environment and configuration, are discussed in detail below.


  • Configuration

The configuration of hard disks includes moving mechanical parts that are replaceable. This makes the devices very susceptible to physical damage.


  • Environment

The environment that the hard disk is exposed to affects the lifespan of a hard disk to a great extent because factors like humidity and temperature have a huge impact on hard disks and their health. Below are mentioned the environmental factors that affect hard disk lifespan.


  • Humidity

An external hard disk can tolerate 45-60% humidity but when moist air enters a hard drive, the internal parts may rust which causes the hard disk to crash.


  • Temperature

The appropriate temperature range that a hard disk should be kept at is from 20-25℃. Too high temperature and too cold temperature can both be detrimental to the lifespan of a hard disk. Exposure to inappropriate temperature conditions can lead to circuit component failure in hard disks.


  • Dust

If dust accumulates in the internal components of the hard disk, it may affect heat dissipation and circulation within the disk. This is why dust should be avoided near hard disks.


  • Brand

Different brands have different quality and hence, the lifespan also depends on which brand the hard disk belongs to. Powerful brands offer expensive devices that are more reliable and last longer. On the contrary, affordable brands offer inexpensive but less reliable quality and hence shorter lifespans.


How to keep an external hard disk safe?


The external hard drives should survive much longer if you handle them carefully. Hard drives are sensitive bits of technology, and even a minor fall or impact can cause serious harm. So, how to keep a hard disk safe? There are ways to ensure the well-being of a hard drive and they are enlisted below.


  • Taking proper physical care of hard disks

As we have already established that physical damage can do great harm to hard disks, you have to be extra careful when handling them. Even small damage can cause you the loss all the data stored in the hard drive. Make sure that they are placed in a secure place where the risk of falling off or breaking is slim.


  • Keep the external temperature under control

Hard disks get warm as they operate. That is why it is necessary to keep the external heat under control. Overheating a device is always harmful. Practically, hard disks fail more often due to heat than cold.


  • Power on only during use

Your hard disk is always active when it’s working, even if it sits idle. And, the more active it is, the more it is susceptible to damage.


  • Establish a stable connection

The more you mess with the connections, the more are chances of your hard disk failing. Plugging in and out connections can deplete the longevity of the hard disk’s lifespan. Make sure the connections are stable and if necessary, tape them in place to avoid too much movement of the cables.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q. How hard is hard drive maintenance in Windows 10?


Ans: It is not too difficult. You just need to make sure that all unnecessary programs are removed to keep the internal hard disk safe and keep the surroundings in check to ensure a proper environment for the hard disk.


Q. Which hard drive should I get to ensure longevity?


Ans: SSDs mostly live longer than HDDs.




Hard disk lifespan is always an unpredictable issue. No one knows when an accident takes away your hard drive from you and along it goes all your precious data. This article aims to give you enough information to ensure that you know how you can make the most out of your hard disk.

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