I’ve been quite unlucky. In a short space of 1 or 2 months, I’ve had to RMA 3 hard disks. One of them was especially bad, because the hard disk wasn’t even a year old, and it had already started to die. It also took the longest to replace, with the worst online tracking information for the replacement status.
That hard disk was a Western Digital portable hard disk. The important thing, of course, was that it eventually did come back, after waiting for over two weeks. Yeah, I got impatient because my Hitachi desktop hard disk came back in a few days (four days I think), and my Seagate hard disk took just 3 days.
Replacing dead or dying hard disks is really a pain. Most of the pain is actually with savaging your data, especially if you did not have a copy of it elsewhere. Recovering data from a dying disk can be really slow, and then you worry about stuffs that you might have lost. Even people who conscientiously backup their stuffs regularly might still wonder if they might have missed something.
Fortunately, the RMA itself isn’t so difficult. Except for Western Digital that took too long for my liking. But I’ve heard it had been far worse in the past, so maybe the two weeks or so now isn’t actually that bad.
The best thing I’ve learnt is to make use of local courier services like Ta-Q-Bin. It’s cheap. Just $6 for same day local delivery. I don’t bother to send my hard disks down to service centres anymore.
My Hitachi, for example, was supposed to be sent to the agent in Ubi. But I found I could just ship it directly to Hitachi’s logistics partner (UPS), and they’ll even send the replacement directly to me. I would otherwise have had to pick up from the agent’s service centre myself. The only glitch with the Hitachi’s RMA was that UPS’ address was in a restricted airport area which, apparently, no courier could deliver to. Not even SingPost’s Speedpost. Ironically, SingPost’s normal registered article service would work.
My two other hard disks were sent by Ta-Q-Bin without issue.
In the past my hard disks used to run so reliably, that by the time they die, either the warranty had run out, or they are so old I’d rather just get a new and bigger one to replace them. Or, better yet, they get so old that I want a new and bigger one even before they are spoilt.
That’s not the case anymore, it seems. Hard disks seem to be engineered to fail earlier. So backups are going to be more important than ever before.