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Hardware can fail at any moment. You can have a computer for along time without it breaking, it just depends on if the parts will last, you don't have to upgrade your pc for a very long time, my computer is 7 years old, and it runs most modern linux distributions fine
Your hardware will last from the moment you get it until it fails.
That was funny, but it's also the best way to explain it. I've used some til they were so outdated they were unusable for anything but the games that came with them (15+ years), and I've had a few crash & burn after only 3-4 years of moderate use. The only guarantee is the one the manufacturer provides. And even with that, they only guarantee the hardware, not lost data. Making backups is the best advice anyone could give.
I had a computer from mid nineties and were heavily used the 10-12 years I used it. Often running for months at a time. I never had any problems with it. The later years the bearing of the PS fan got broken so the fan make a terrible sound, but this is minor problem and doesn't result in any data/uptime loss. Since the capacity of the harddisks exploded these years, I replaced them pretty often. Because of this I never had any hardware problems with this computer. I tested some of the harddisks a week ago, and some of them had some flaws. A couple of them were broken, and the others could be fixed with a new partitiontable.
(These are practically useless because of the low capacity. 3GB would probably work fine as a swapdrive But I got to say, it was pretty fun opening one of them, and watching it while it was used by the computer. Fun for about 2minutes.)
On the other hand, I bought a new computer in 2005. This computer didn't even last 6 moths before it broke down. Luckily a got new parts because of the warranty
I have an old P2 pc, so it's several years old already, and it's only problem this far has been the battery dying - which can be changed, of course - and the fan starting to choke, which can also easily be changed. All the other parts have been working very nicely..
Harddisks are probable to fail sooner or later, which is sad. Why would you want to buy a 500G harddisk, knowing that it will fail in a few years and you'll lose all your photos and other important content then? Are the manufacturers maybe trying to make us buy three 500G disks when we actually need one, to have somewhat reliable backups without a lot of trouble?
Last time I bought RAM the guy said the piece of hardware had a lifetime guarantee (unless I broke it myself, with a hammer or something). I hope it means it'll work for some time..
Now that I think of it, the only pieces of hardware that have failed during the life cycle of a computer I've had (after I've bought the thing, before I've put it away - and I don't switch computers every second year) have been USB flash disks/memory keys (which don't belong to the "computer" itself in my opinion), one harddisk (it still works, but sometimes has trouble reading/writing..), a cheap CD-RW drive and since yesterday one oldish monitor (just said *bang* and didn't function anymore). In the European Union manufacturers must give at least 2 year guarantee for stuff like computers, and it seems they'll work for two years; some cadgets blow up 2,5 years old, some last for a decade, some seem to work forever (or as long as there's electricity to keep them going). Maybe I've just bought good parts, but I don't feel like every thing blows up every now and then..
I'd say the worst fear is a storage media failing; other hardware can be replaced without much trouble, but a storage device such as harddisk takes all the data with it when it fails (sometimes [partial] recovery is possible, but I wouldn't count on that). Therefore backing up is a good idea, and backing up to harddisks or usb flash disks a bad idea - I saw a case last summer where a main document was on harddisk which failed, it's copy was on a usb cadget that suddenly broke up (512MB showed up as 8MB that couldn't be read nor written...heh) and an older backup's backup on another usb disk, that appeared to be corrupted (file was there, but content had partially transformed into white boxes). I'd say tapes are the thing I trust more than the others, maybe because I haven't seen a lot of them fail lately. And not just one tape, but a series of a few tapes that is circulated so that there's always more than one backup copy available - and from different days, if possible, to prevent a situation where garbaged files get backed up and overwrite original working ones.
Originally Posted by matthewg42
Your hardware will last from the moment you get it until it fails.
Your warranty will last about the same amount of time.
Really, this is the only way to accurately say it. I still have a 512MB Connor hard drive that came with my families first computer - a Packard Bell 486SX. The first 1GB hard drive I bought (Western Digital) lasted until I included with a system I built and sold. Another hard drive, WD 30GB, lasted less than 1 year. The manufacturer's warranty covered it and I got a replacement that lasted about 2 years.
CPUs and motherboards will depend on the load you put on them and how you care for them. If you pay attention to dust around the connectors, fans and vents and make the sure the fans don't stop the motherboard, RAM, CPU, and PCI/AGP cards can last several years. Heat and ESD are the biggest enemies to those components. You can protect the power supply by using a good quality surge protector and/or UPS.
I still have 486 and P2 CPUs and some 9pin and EDO RAM chips that would work fine if I had something to put them in. If my computer had an ISA slot I'd still be using my Sound Blaster AWE64.
1. usb hdd
2. sata hdd
3. scsi hdd
4. internal ide hdd
8.usb stick ?
9. others ?
Aren't 1-4 all almost the same? I'd have to say DVD and CD. It has no mechanical parts to fail, the biggest threat to the medium is scratching and once your files are on it it's hard to accidentally lose them.
Distribution: Slackware / Debian / *Ubuntu / Opensuse / Solaris uname: Brian Cooney
Backing up to the SAME hard drive data is stored on is only going to protect you from accidentally deleting a file.
The best, most secure backup, is going to be off-site. This can be accomplished with a remote server, or by storing tapes/optical media off site after it has been burned.
You need to ask yourself what you are worried about happening that could cause a data loss, and how much work you are willing to do to prevent it.
A few things that could happen are:
One hard drive dies
Fire, flood, or theft of computer
Accidental file deletion
Virus/Trojan induced damage
If all you are worried about is a hard drive dying, one option would be a raid 1 array. I use this on my server. It offers NO protection from accidently deleting a file, or fire, theft ect, but if one of the two drives would experience a physical failure, not only would I have a backup copy on the second drive, but the server would continue running off the backup until I am able to replace the dead drive.
You also have to ask yourself how good you are going to be about implementing your backup, and plan accordingly. The most important piece of the puzzle, if your really serious about it, is automating the process as much as possible. Its easy to say "im going to burn a backup dvd every day" much harder to actually remember to do it on a consistent basis.
At work we use Tapes or DVD depending on the location. I often come in after a few days off and find that nobody has changed the disk.
My girlfriend manages backup for her company, and has all 4000 computers back themselves up AUTOMATICALLY every night to central tape libraries. Much more effective, but much more work and money.
Google around and read articles about different ways of doing things. Dont rush on this, if its important enough that your asking, its worth you spending some time really thinking about. Its hard to give you specific advice without knowing your circumstances, how important your data is to you, and how good you are with followup. The best of luck in your search
Principles of hardware:
1) All hardware can be considered unreliable.
2) Hard drives (HDD) are typically the most unreliable type of hardware.
3) Make many backups
For your hard drive, most new hard drives come with a system known as SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) see the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.
Using this system, the HDD can let you know when it's starting to fail. This doesn't make it more reliable, just more predictable. Under Linux there is 'smartd' a daemon that lets you interface with this feature of the HDD.
For making backups, probably the most reliable type is indeed the CD/DVD, just after you burn something check the 'md5sum' (or other hashing algorithm) of the disk and make sure it matches that of the iso you sent to be burned, this makes this method of backup quite reliable. Just keep the CD/DVDs away from direct sunlight, moisture, extreme heat or cold (I'm sure it says this on the DVDs and CD when you buy them). Oh yeah, and don't scratch them
Backups, backups and backups on CDs/ DVDs. What's the purpose of any OS ? To make sure that you can create personal files/data that can be read/used/modified later. Data is the most important thing to consider, not nice GUIs or fancy shiny hardware.
I lost a bloody important file once. That was an original short story I took weeks to write. Whatever I do, I won't be able to write it as it was. Ever. Taught me the hard way to have backups. Linux/Os X/Microsoft/Solaris you name them are not important. It's what you do on them that is.
One thing I've learned (the hard way) is not to store anything important on a hard drive which hasn't been up and running for at least 6 months.
Actually, I think all the HDs I've ever broken have been less than 1 year old.
Distribution: Solaris 9 & 10, Mac OS X, Ubuntu Server
Part of it depends on the quality of the device to begin with. Some manufacturers are aiming for the cheap, base components on price for a particular function, and don't worry enough about how well the components are made. This sometimes ends up getting them into counterfit components (this is more common than people realize). Others really focus on the reliability and expect price to be higher.
Finding out the details is sometimes difficult.
Examples. I had an Apple LaserWriter IINT (I won it in a competition, but it would have cost $5000 or so in about 1989 when I got it). It just never quit. I finally had to give it up when all my Macs were converted to Mac OS X, because no one wrote a driver for it. That was just 3 years ago. So that printer was still working after just over 14 years. I also have an epson multifunction printer that I got almost for free with a computer purchase and a rebate (epson, those are the people who give away printers and sell ink cartridges). Anyway, I think I got a total of about 24 prints out of my epson printer. I even had a repair guy work on it a bit. I gave up, because when my LaserWriter gave out I bought an HP Laserjet 1300n. It's been chunking along just fine for about 3 years and is a lot less trouble than an inkjet. I'm sure it won't last as long as the LaserWriter. It weighs about 1/3 and has a lot more plastic parts.
Another example. At my work we use Sun Enterprise SPARC servers. We put Seagate Cheetah UltraSCSI drives in them. We have several we bought new, and we have several that are hand-me-down from other departements. Many of these servers are approaching 10 years. We've never had a hardware failure. We have probably 50 drives on these servers, and over that span of time we've had maybe a total of 3 individual drive failures. We've decommissioned a number of smaller drives and upgraded them with larger drives, so the average age is not 10. It may be 5. On the other hand, in recent years I've heard a number of sysadmins going on about how cheap drives with raid make that a more affordable approach than tape for backup. I've heard multiple stories of people who have had 2 drives fail and lost their raid. I can't say what brand, but they were paying 1/4 to 1/3 what I pay for a drive, and they weren't UltraSCSI.
Computers, same story. I have a Mac SE with a HyperCharger020 accelerator board that dates to 1987. I passed it on to my wife in about 1993. I finally decommissioned it (I had to drag it out of her hands, telling her it wouldn't run the latest OS and software) in 2002 or so. It still ran last time I tried it. On the other hand, I've seen all kinds of problems with the cost based PCs that have been bought by our department. They spend a lot of time replacing parts and bringing them back from Ghost images.
It would be cool if Consumer Reports were as good with computers as they are with Cars. Whenever I buy a car, I start by researching it in the Consumer Reports repair records. You end up paying more up front, but you end up saving time, trouble, and money over the long run.
Of course, we're talking averages. When you buy an individual computer for yourself, it's a crap game. You can increase your odds in the game by choosing carefully. But, still, if it fails, it's small consolation to know that you bought a good brand. If you buy a lot of computers, it's less of a crap game, because the odds even out better over a larger number.