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Find out how much longer your hard drive or SSD will last

Find out how much longer your hard drive or SSD will last

In the next few years, solid-state drives (SSD) are set to replace hard disk drives (HDD) as the main storage technology for most computers.

In fact, SSD adoption by laptop makers may even reach 50 percent by 2018. If you are buying a new computer, there's a good chance it will already have an SSD pre-installed.

To learn more about the difference between an HDD and an SSD, click here.

There are a number of benefits of an SSD over a conventional hard drive. SSDs are lighter, cooler, more power efficient, durable, and most of all, much faster than HDDs.

Clearly contributing to this amazing growth is the steady drop in SSD prices. Right now, you could purchase a 120 GB SSD under $50 and even a 1 TB SSD in the $200 to $250 range. If you have been planning on swapping your hard drive for an SSD, the current prices may be affordable enough for you to finally pull the trigger.

Benefits over SSD drives

Overall, solid-state drives offer tremendous benefits over traditional platter hard-disk drives but there is one drawback: solid-state drives have a finite number of write and erase cycles. This means the drive will wear out over time as it is written and overwritten.

Hard disk drives don't have finite read-write cycles like SSDs do. They usually break down due to mechanical failure.

How long then will it take before an SSD wears out? Don't worry, SSD lifespans range from about 700 terabytes to 2 petabytes written. That's a tremendous amount of data writing for the average consumer.

This means you'll have to write about 500 GB a day to even approach the 2 petabyte mark in 10 years! Your computer's other critical components (motherboard, CPU, etc.) will most likely die out faster than the SSD.

That sounds like a lifetime, especially in computer years, so there is definitely no need to worry about your SSD dying anytime soon. You still have to worry about someone stealing your computer or in the case of a laptop, you dropping it and all your data is lost forever.

On Windows or Mac, you can still keep track of the data you've written on a solid-state drive (or even a hard disk drive).

First, let's cover Windows

There are several ways to get this important information on a Windows-based computer. We like to do things the easy way here in KomandoLand. So let's start there. On Windows, you can check your storage drive health status with the free third-party monitoring tool CrystalDiskInfo.

CrystalDiskInfo collects drive health information from the computer motherboard's monitoring system called S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology).

As you can see from the screen shot below, there's a ton of information about your hard drive here. But we bet a lot of you techies love these details!


There is a very important section that we want to bring to your attention.

To check for total writes on your drive, check the CrystalDiskInfo section called "Total Host Writes." This will list the amount of data that has been written on a drive so far.

That's your golden ticket!

Click here for more information and the download instructions for CrystalDiskInfo.

Don't feel left out if you are using a Mac. We have you covered on the next page of this important tip!

Take a look using a Mac

On a Mac, there is a built-in command to display the number of writes on a drive.

To view this, open a Terminal window (the easiest way to do this is to launch a Spotlight search for "Terminal" then click on the first hit).

On the Terminal window, type diskutil list then press enter. This will show the drives on your Mac.

Locate the name of the drive you want to test (it's usually in this format: disk0) then run this command next: iostat -Id disk0" (replace the last part "disk0" with whatever drive you want to test.)

Disk Util 2

Three values will be listed. Look for the third number below "MB." That will be the total number of megabytes that have been written on the drive.

So now you are a hard drive pro! Congratulations!

For further reading, check out these related tips:

Is it cheaper to upgrade or replace an older computer?

5 signs your computer is dying

Quickly free up space on your hard drive

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