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How long do hard drives last?

If you have an older computer and aren't sure whether to buy a new one, here's something to consider: the age of your hard drive. Your photos, your videos, your music, and your apps and programs—all that precious data stored on your computer, lives on the hard drive. When that goes, so does everything else.

So how long do hard drives last? That depends. We'll break it down.

What's the average life span of a hard drive?

How long your drive lasts depends on the quality and type of your device—hard disk or solid-state—as well as how often you're using it.

Which lasts longer: hard disk drives vs solid-state drives?

Hard drives come in two forms: hard disk and solid-state. Hard disk drives are more common because they offer greater storage options at a cheaper price. Solid-state drives access data faster, but they cost a bit more.

Solid-state drives also have a longer lifespan—about 10 years or more. Hard disk drives have more moving parts and are less durable and more likely to fail than their solid-state counterparts. For this reason, hard disk drives tend to last between 3–5 years.

How long do external hard drives last?

External hard drives come in those same two types, so they share similar lifespans. But all that portability comes with the increased risk of damage to the hard drive, making them less reliable over time.

Signs of hard drive failure

You can't predict exactly when you'll have to replace your hard drive, but there are a few signs to look out for, including:

  • Unusual noises
  • Overheating
  • System crashes
  • Slowed performance
  • Missing or corrupted data files

How to prepare for hard drive failure

Your hard drive will eventually fail, but fortunately, you can prepare for it. The best thing you can do is keep your device backed up. Having copies of your data—on external drives or in cloud storage, or both—can save you from losing it—and your mind—if your hard drive stops working.

What to do if your hard drive has failed

Once your hard drive fails, your options are to repair or replace it. Bringing your computer to an expert, like those at your nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store will give you an idea of which will be the best option for you.

If you forgot to back up your files and your hard drive stops working, you can try a data recovery service to retrieve lost—and even corrupted—files.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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