I run defrag on the HD at least once a week, along with virus scans and spyware removal...that, and I never shut off the PC. It's on 24/7. XP even tells me the I don't need to defrag the drive, but I do anyway. Anyway, I've been doing this for years, and never had a HD kick yet.
Hope this helps...
Re: AV Scans#132007 01/11/0502:30 AM01/11/0502:30 AM
It is usually the drive motor or its bearings that kill a hard drive, the head positioning mechanism doesn't suffer much wear. That being the case, just having the computer powered on puts almost as much wear on a drive as running a defrag. and a defragged drive is less likely to encounter a read error.
Re: AV Scans#132008 01/13/0512:57 AM01/13/0512:57 AM
Well it seems like there are 2 parts to "wear out"- mechanichally leaving the computer on all the time is probably easier on the bearings servos and motors that do the actual work inside the hard drive. Starting up the drive cold, where it has to go from 0 rpm and spin up to 5000-12,000 rpm (depending on age and type of drive) is harder on the motor than just leaving it either off all the time or running all the time- in either case the load on the motor is small to naught. The read-head which is like the arm on a- dare I say- oldfashioned turntable never physically touches the metal disc spinning inside the hard drive where the data is stored, so the data "rubbing off" or wearing out like an old LP is never an issue. The computer may make odd growling noises as the red light lights up during a defrag, but that is nothing to worry about- just noise from intensive read/write operations as the data on the disk is reorganized during a defrag As for the second part of the question- are you hinting at data decay and loss when you say "wear out"? Magnetic decay is a serious reality for data stored on harddrives which store information as magnetic stripes. Defragging your disk helps keep the data in contiguous chunks on contiguous pieces of HD real-estate, which is a good thing if you should ever need to recover data from the HD platters in the event of a motor failure, but also important is to run chkdisk or its win2k/XP equivalent (it should still be called chkdisk.. no reason I can think of that MS would have changed the name of the program). Chkdisk will check the accuracy of the data structures in the filesystem that point to where a file is, what type it is, where it begins, where it ends, etc.. In my opinion keeping your data from "wearing out" and becoming corrupt is a more a concern than a disk failure. Disk quality seems quite good these days- I have cheapo off-the-shelf disks I bought in 1998 that have been running 24/7 since 1999 and are still running strong. Since it is seldom economically feasible to repair any of the mass produced microelectronic components on the disk once they blow, I focus on good backups and maintaining data & filesystem integrity as the pillars of my data strategy and really don't worry too much about a drive wearing out, which is a seldom occurence for 99.9% of us out there. Hope that helps...