Life of Hard Drives, SSD and CD-ROM? What is Data Rot?

When it comes to securing our data we often think that our data is safe when we store our data in these electronic/magnetic storage medias. But we often forget that even the hard copies of data can’t exist for a lifetime. Even when we write something on a piece of paper even we cannot claim to be forever there maybe the paper gets rot or the ink fades away. So how can we be so assured in case of these electronic devices. They also do have a life span. This deterioration in the quality and performance of data is known as data rot.

What is Data Rot?

Data rot is the slow degradation in the performance of data stored on storage media such as Hard disk drives, Solid state drives CD or DVD’s. It is also known by the names bit decay, data rot, data decay and silent corruption. It is the detoriation in the performance of these storage media.

So let’s begin in all three cases HDDs, SSDs or CD and DVDs how does this occur how much impact and damage it deals with.

night computer hard drive hdd

Can on hard drives degrade and be accessed without a warning about the damage:

When a hard drive writes a sector to the platters, it does not just write the bits in the same way that they are stored in RAM, it uses an encoding to make sure there are no sequences of the same bit that are too long. It also adds ECC codes that allow it to repair errors that affect a few bits and detect errors that affect more than a few bits.

When the hard drive reads the sector, it checks these ECC codes and repairs the data if necessary (and if possible). What happens next depends on the circumstances and the firmware of the hard drive, which is influenced by the designation of the drive.

Data On HDD and Degradation

silver hard drive interals

Many user think that data on think devices won’t rot even after a large time span say 15 yrs data of some marriage function, Projects and then try retrieving them in such cases your drives might fail. So in such cases users are advised to take multiple backups for you valuable data.

We all use portable hard drives with the capcity of 2TB, 3TB 4TB OR more.. and we save all our important moments there as a backup but hard drives are mechanical, they have moving parts so most probably it often get corrupt due to shock, or any other sort of physical damage or platters have tangled. And in such scenarios data is there but we aren’t able to access it.

Even without any physical damage to it still can get corrupted as the data stored in it is in the form of magnetic bits can also flip inside a HDD even though the storage method used isn’t similar to that of RAM HDD might use encryption before saving the data to its sectors on its platters.

board business chip close up

And if we periodically plug our HDD to systems then there are fail safe systems that rearrange those data bits on it. But if a HDD isn’t used for a very long period of time then make sure you might lose your data and if it’s still there you are extremely lucky pal!!

What’s the Solution?

If you have a hard drive make sure you plug it in your system periodically which will keep your HDD at least fail safe.Make sure you take multiple backups of your hard drives.

 Data On SSD and Degradation

We might think that a Solid state drive isn’t mechanical they are relatively fast enough and sleek and light-weighted too moreover it also doesn’t have any loosely held parts compared to any traditional Hard drives . So how can data rot take place there?

Life compared to HDD ?

SSD have a relatively shorted life span as data is stored in the form of electrical impulses so SSD have a life around 2-3 yrs if they are held unused they’ll lose data stored on them. Whereas HDD are much reliable when compared to data stored and not plugged it some source.

 Data On DVDs and CDs and Degradation

We all might have noticed that data when stored on CDs and DVDs do not have a very longer shelf life. Mostly all DVDs and CDs get physically damaged. In such cases I’d Suggest using DVDs and CD’s having a longer shelf life.

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