Don't be greedy for hard disk space

Defensively speaking, less is better

Are there things you can never have too much of? Sure. Money and closet space come to mind off the top of my head. What about hard disk space? You can, indeed, have too much hard disk space.

Western Digital

I know this seems ridiculous, but for Defensive Computing, large capacity hard disks are riskier than lower capacity ones. The reason is simple, cramming more bits in the same physical space means crowding them closer together. This is asking for trouble.

This came up on an old Security Now! podcast by Steve Gibson. Gibson is famous for security, but his day job is hard disks and he is an expert on the subject. He makes his living selling SpinRite, a hard disk diagnostic and repair program.

As he put it "Drives have gotten so dense that drives are now depending upon the error correction code, ECC, just to read good sectors, not even bad sectors."

SpinRite owners see this all the time. I recently ran a SpinRite diagnostic on a hard disk that generated over 3 million correctable errors.

When Gibson goes shopping for hard disks he asks for the smallest capacity available. This posting was prompted by the fact that I had just done the same thing a few days ago.

See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.

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About the author

    Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

    He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.

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