SSD's life span and more depends on things like the TRIM command. Not to write a tutorial about that here but why would folk think an OS over a decade old would have support for SSD?
As to prolonging the life span of the HDD, it's too simple. Since it's mechanical and as it spins it's wearing out you'll want to not use it unless you have to.
I have an Asus netbook, Win XP, 3 years old.
The HDD is giving me the clicking sounds, and sometimes it stalls. I do daily back-ups of course.
The FAN comes on all the time and sometimes it gets very loud.
My question is, how do I prolong the life of the HDD till I get a replacement? I'm traveling now. I'd like to also see the benefits of SSD vs HDD, since I'm running XP.
Specifically, should I avoid booting off (just close the lid, hibernate?). I also limit the programs I'm running at the same time.
Lastly, "failing" software, programs etc is one thing, failing hardware after 3 years of standard usage is another. When are manufacturers going to realize that if my netbook hardware fails, I'll not get another by the same manufacturer, as THEY hope!