External hard drives are an essential tool for anyone who owns a computer. They offer near-immediate backup and storage for your digital data in a portable format that lets you take your documents, pictures, videos, app preferences, and programs with you wherever you go. 

CEG’s computer support services include ensuring your external hard drive operates correctly when you need it most. In this post, you’ll learn whether external hard drives have an expiration date, how long you can expect yours to last, and what you can do to get the most out of your device. 

How Long Can I Expect an External Hard Drive to Last? 

Most IT equipment functions properly for anywhere from five to ten years. However, the typical lifespan of an external hard disk drive (HDD) is only about three to five years. More expensive solid state drives (SSDs) that use flash memory instead of spinning discs generally last ten years or more. 

Unfortunately, external hard drives can be corrupted, are vulnerable to water and fire damage, and can overheat. There’s nothing worse than feeling confident you’ve backed up your important data only to lose it all due to a malfunction! 

Reasons External Hard Drives Fail 

HDD failures occur for various reasons, including: 

  • A magnetic field breakdown which can result in data corruption. 
  • Environmental conditions like geomagnetic storms or proximity to magnetic fields. 
  • Mechanical failure, including motor failure in devices that have sat unused for a long time. 

Is there anything you can do to prolong your HDD’s lifespan? Most computer support professionals suggest adopting these practices to ensure your data stays safe and you enjoy optimal performance from the drive. 

  1. Handle it with care. HDDs are sensitive pieces of hardware and even a slight bump can cause damage. One of the most common problems our computer support technicians see are external hard drives customers have dropped.  
  1. Safely store it. Temperature and humidity can significantly impact your HDD’s lifespan. High temps can lead to media degradation and moisture can cause internal component oxidization. Be sure to store your external hard drive in a place where the temperature does not go above room temp, and never store it in a hot attic, garage, or closet. 

It is possible to recover data from a damaged or corrupted HDD. Some IT companies offer software to help you do repairs or retrievals on your own, but you might want to consider having one of our team members do the work for you. They can also help you back up your data to another device or server to mitigate the risk of losing business-critical information. 

Computer Support From CEG 

As one of Napa’s most experienced IT companies, CEG can help you keep your digital technology secure and show you ways to prevent data loss. All our computer support services are designed to help you run your business more effectively and safely. Contact us today to learn more.