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Determinng how old a hard drive is

Frosty555 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have a hard drive that was donated to me from a client's old computer. I'm trying to determine how old it is, and how much it has been used.

Do hard drives keep track of statistics about their use? E.g. how many hours they've been running for in their lifetime? How many times they've been power cycled?

I found a few utilities that gave me "statistics" about the hard drive from it's S.M.A.R.T data, but the figures are confusing. How come 99% of them are "253"? The warnings are opposite of what I would expect. Apparantly my power cycles rating is LOWER than expected and this is a bad thing? Doesn't make sense

Can somebody explain these statistics to me?
Or point me at a better way of determining usage information about a hard drive?

Attached is the SMART data analysis:
Your hard disk is a Maxtor 6E040L0 with firmware NAR61HA0.
The average temperature for this hard disk is 33C (MIN=21C MAX=46C) and yours is 43C.
Spin Up Time			222		8928 		Normal
Start/Stop Count		252		2069 		Watch
   Warning: Start/Stop Count is below the average limits (253-253).
Reallocated Sector Count	253		0 		Very good
Read Channel Margin		253		0 		Very good
Seek Error Rate			253		0 		Very good
Seek Time Performance		244		55465 		Watch
   Warning: Seek Time Performance is below the average limits (246-253).
Power On Hours Count		232		63318 		Normal
Spin Retry Count		253		0 		Very good
Calibration Retry Count		253		0 		Very good
Power Cycle Count		248		2074 		Watch
   Warning: Power Cycle Count is below the average limits (249-253).
Power Off Retract Count		251		2033 		Watch
   Warning: Power Off Retract Count is below the average limits (252-253).
Load Cycle Count		251		8737 		Watch
   Warning: Load Cycle Count is below the average limits (252-253).
Hardware ECC Recovered		253		8194 		Very good
Reallocated Event Count		253		0 		Very good
Current Pending Sector		253		0 		Very good
Offline Uncorrectable Sector Count		253		0 		Very good
Ultra DMA CRC Error Rate	199		1 		Very good
Write Error Rate		253		0 		Very good
Soft Read Error Rate		253		1 		Very good
TA Increase Count		253		0 		Very good
Run Out Cancel			253		0 		Very good
Shock Count Write Opern		253		0 		Very good
Shock Rate Write Opern		253		0 		Very good
Spin High Current		253		0 		Very good
Spin Buzz			253		0 		Very good
Offline Seek Performance	186		0 		Normal
Unknown attribute 99		253		0 		Very good
Unknown attribute 100		253		0 		Very good
Unknown attribute 101		253		0 		Very good
NOTE: not all warnings are reflected on fitness and performance overall values as relevancy is based upon the settings from the hard disk manufacturer who is the best entity deputed to define such relationships.
NOTE : your hard disk Power Cycle Count attribute current value (248) is below the normal range (249 - 253) reported for your specific hard disk model. Basically your hard disk was power cycled more times than the maximum number the average hard disk was. Power cycles put some stress on the hard disk mechanic. Sometimes power cycles can be caused by a loose hard disk power connector. Make sure it is properly fastened.
The overall fitness for this drive is 87%.
The overall performance for this drive is 87%.

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Manager, Technical Support
Here is the explanation about what the number means

Each drive manufacturer defines a set of attributes, and sets threshold values beyond which attributes should not pass under normal operation. Each attribute has a raw value, whose meaning is entirely up to the drive manufacturer (but often corresponds to counts or a physical unit, such degrees Celsius or seconds), and a normalized value, which ranges from 1 to 253 (with 1 representing the worst case and 253 representing the best). Depending on the manufacturer, a value of 100 or 200 will often be chosen as the "normal" value.

199       C7       UltraDMA CRC Error Count       
      The number of errors in data transfer via the interface cable as determined by ICRC (Interface Cyclic Redundancy Check).

230       E6       GMR Head Amplitude             Amplitude of "thrashing" (distance of repetitive forward/reverse head motion)[citation needed]
231       E7       Temperature       
      Drive Temperature
240       F0       Head Flying Hours             Time while head is positioning[citation needed]
250       FA       Read Error Retry Rate       
      Number of errors while reading from a disk
254       FE       Free Fall Protection       
      Number of "Free Fall Events" detected [18]

So this means that current entry you have of 253 certainly means that drive is good.

Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T. for more details


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From what I found, the drive was manufactured in 2003.  So its about 6 years old.  Most hard drives have a rediculous Mean Time Before Failure of about 1.5 million hours.  I would say as long as the drive will pass a CHKDSK or any sort of disk utilitie that will scan all sectors of the drive and not find any bad clusters, then its a good drive.
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