Dear Lifehacker, I keep a lot of media on my desktop hard drives, and run them almost continuously (I'd be lucky if my desktop was shut down more than once a week). After having two drives fail on me in just two years, I was wondering if there was a specific brand of hard drive you would recommend?
Thanks, Storage Newbie
Picture: Getty Images/ Sascha Schuermann
Firstly, you need to recognise this reality: all hard drives will fail eventually -- it's only a question of when. Any system that relies on a single drive is going to get you in trouble sooner rather than later. Make sure that you have a reliable backup system in place. Ideally, you'll have more than one backup drive as part of your routine, including an external drive as well as those built into your computer. Check our Hive Five roundup for some specific external hard drive recommendations.
We recently highlighted an analysis by online backup service Backblaze which concluded that Hitachi drives had the lowest failure rate, followed by Western Digital and Seagate. Those disks are being used very intensively and in a way that is quite different to ordinary home usage, but it's an interesting measure nonetheless, and one you could take into consideration.
Whatever brand you choose, plan to swap drives before they die. Buying a new drive every 12 months is a lot less hassle and expense than trying to recover data after the fact. If readers want to share their own drive recommendations, we'd love to hear them.
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