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Does deleting and adding information to a hard drive wear it out?

Hey, Leo, just a quick question. I have two external hard drives. One has
the source drive, which I use regularly and then another one has the backup
source drive, which of course is the backup in case the original source
fails.

Now, both drives are filled up with valuable files and I make sure to always
have 10 GB left of free space because I update these things quite frequently.
Whenever I have a dozen new files that take up 10 GB I always update both
drives.

These 10 GB files though are disposable and they are continuously updated.
My question is if I keep deleting and re-adding the 10 GB files over time is
that wear and tear on the drive?

I also cannot defrag the drives because, again, 90% of both have valuable
data on them. Should I worry at all about them? I also only plug in the
external hard drives when I really need to back them up. I try my best to take
care of them as much as possible.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #12
, I look at the normal, expected use of a hard drive,
including copying and deleting regularly from that drive.

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Is it wear on my hard drive?

You’re asking if it’s wear and tear on the drive. The answer is “Yes.”
Using the drives is wear and tear on the drives.

The real question is, “Is this excessive wear and tear on the drive?”

And the answer there (fairly obviously) is “No.” You’re just using the
drives like drives were meant to be used.

I don’t see an issue here.

This is exactly like using a drive in your computer; it’s exactly like all
of the consumer grade drives that Google leaves running 24 hours, 7 days a
week, copying files and doing whatever it is they do in the background.

So, no, I don’t see an issue with respect to how you’re using the
drives.

I don’t see an issue that it’s causing excessive or additional wear and tear
beyond what would be considered normal usage.

Defragging a full hard drive

As far as the defrag: Defrag is really only a performance issue.

The way that you’re using the drives, my guess is that you may not care that
much about performance. I don’t necessarily see a reason to worry about
defrag.

Certainly, not defragging the drives isn’t hurting you:

  • Defragging the drives causes a certain amount of wear and tear on the
    drive.
  • Not defragging it means it has to work a little bit harder when it is
    retrieving files.

Since this is simply a backup scenario for you, it’s not something I see as
a problem.

I’m a little uncomfortable with only having 10% free space on any drive, just
because (at least in my world), I tend to fill things up. But it sounds like
you’ve got your plan down and you know what you need.

Do this:

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