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We got this question today: https://serverfault.com/questions/388656/hard-disk-lifespan

I voted to close it as a duplicate of this one: Does an unplugged hard drive used for data archival deteriorate? I think this one has pretty good answers, even if many of them amount to "I've had and everyone I know has had an old drive refuse to spin up." At one point I did some research to see if there were any hard data, but didn't find any (but I did learn a bunch about the GMR effect.)

There's also this old question: Is it safe to store data on a hard drive for a long time? But I don't think the answers are as good as on the previous question. (e.g. squillman's is wrong for disks that use GMR)

I just wanted to get agreement on what to do with this type of question. I'd say "close as dup of the one I quoted, maybe lock that one (although it doesn't really garner any "me, too" posts) and allow it to accumulate any new answers if anyone does come up with studies of how likely - or not - stored hard drives are to be dead.

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    Third option: Merge those two old questions and close the new one as a dupe of the merge – Mark Henderson May 14 '12 at 5:37
  • What Mark said. This is a topic that doesn't come up very often so it makes sense to merge them so that there's just the one reference. I think that benefits any interested parties. – John Gardeniers May 14 '12 at 6:42
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    The questions have now been merged and an answer I posted to the newer version of the question got merged with it. I've now merged the content of that answer into the older answer and deleted the newer one. Is it possible to have the deleted answer purged, rather than forever sitting there like yet more clutter? – John Gardeniers May 14 '12 at 12:21
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(Since this is Meta, I'm not even going to wait for Mark to post his comment as an answer, just gonna steal it quick...)

3rd option - merge the two older questions and close the new one (and any in the future) as a dup of the merge.

Vote this up if you agree and I'm sure a mod will do it.

  • Could you accept this answer please? Thank you! – Chris S May 15 '12 at 14:58
  • It'll be another 11 hours before I can accept my own answer. – Ward May 15 '12 at 17:31

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