Hard drive failures

Alan Dala
Alan Dala used Ask the Experts™
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Hi -

I have a few Dell Optiplex 3020 PCs and in the last week or so, two of them got a HD failure. These are brand new computers. The only thing that I can think of is that they sit on the floor(carpet) and there might be some static causing this.

Stupid question: They are connected to the network through a Netgear switch with all PoE ports. Could this cause any kind of power surge that could fry a  HD?
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Commented:
Dell should replace new hard drives under warrantee
POE should not be an issue unless it has some weird configuration.
You should have a UPS on all your computers to avoid power surges, blackouts and brown outs.
And yes I do not think sitting on a synthetic carpet is a good idea.  I would place a piece of plywood or a short stand under them.  We use short stands do to a flood we had a few years ago.  Who would have thought it.
Commented:
Most PoE switches are auto sensing, means if there is a request for power from the endpoint it will turn on power as per the per port max power specification. If your endpoint doesn't need power PoE is turned off.

So my response will be similar to pjam.

As you mentioned both Dell system had similar Hard drive failure issue and it seems to me a bad batch of the HDD . I would contact Dell for replacement and also look into Dell Support page for the specific model for any Firmware/ BIOS updates.

If available Install them as well. If a Firmware was to cause it you will get some details about the Fixes regarding the Firmware. And again a bad HDD batch seems more likely the reason.

Carpet and static electricity shouldn't be the case as I am guessing you have other systems on the same carpet and you didn't mention any of them having the similar problems ?

But again a wooden frame or stand is always good idea. We do that to save our systems from a overnight flooding due to heavy rain or something.

Hope that helps.
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Commented:
Neither the carpet or the POe devices should have anything to do with causing disk failures. If your building's electrical system is properly grounded there won't be any issues with static.

What could cause HD's to fail is if the people kick the PC's or dropping them causing jolts, or if they are badly ventilated causing their insides to overheat.
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Top Expert 2014
Commented:
Might also very well e, the PCs are equipped with the same batch of HDDs and that this batch was a faulty one. Once we had a batch of 1TB drives. 70% of them failed in the 1st year. 100% within 3 years.

It could be very well its totally not your fault that the discs broke. Call Dell and claim warranty.

Besides this the above mentioned things about grounding a small stand and good ventilation are always good things to do.
Typically if a hard drive is bad, its going to fail within the first few months of life.  

I do not see how the carpet can do this, the chassis is grounded for a reason.  Kicking would cause it, but it would take a while.  Just bad luck drives.

Author

Commented:
Thanks everyone!

Yeah, I never had a HD failure because of the carpet but when you get two dying in one week, you start becoming a little paranoid.


Thanks again.
I can't see carpet, or a POE switch causing the problems you see. Either it is a bad batch of drives, or simply bad luck.

I would probably be hitting new machines with an overnight diagnostic to thrash them and provoke any early failures, before users put data on them.
Top Expert 2013
Commented:
just to be sure - open the pc's and check if the drives are the same model
and yes - use your warranty for replacement
Danny ChildIT Manager
Commented:
The PC case itself will be connected to Earth as long as your power cables have an earth connection.  I'm not sure where you are in the world, so this is a bit hard to say, but here in the UK, they would definitely be earthed - it's the law for public safety.

Static would therefore be discharged to there as soon as it arises, so there's no point in floor mats.  I'm not quite sure how this would work in any case as objects that build up static by moving against the carpet (like, er, people) would still touch the case from time to time...

Additionally, your hard drives are not particularly static sensitive.  RAM, CPUs and GPUs have much more sensitivity.

PoE could only send power to the NIC on the PC as well, so that's virtually impossible for it to somehow leap over to the hard drives.  It's either Bad Luck or Bad Batch...
Top Expert 2013
Commented:
the static should only be a problem when you connect external devices while it's running, like usb sticks or devices

Author

Commented:
Thanks everyone!
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
do you need more help?
if not -don't forget to clsoe this Q

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