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Buying used hard drives?
What are refurbished or recertifed hard drives? What are the risks? Should you buy them?
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What are recertified hard drives?

Remaining stock, returns or rejects for quality assurance: How sensible are recertified hard drives and what needs to be considered? What are the dangers of "used" hard drives?

16. May 2018 - Sebastian Evers

„Used“, „refurbished“ oder „re-certified“:

For used hard drives, rejects and returns with only a few operating hours, there is certainly a flourishing market, sometimes more or less professional. On Amazon or Ebay you will find sufficient offers for data carriers from second hand. Even Western Digital offers its own products in a "recertified" version - with a guarantee of 6 months and substantial discounts between 30% and 70%.

What does hard drive recertification mean?

Recertified products are products and goods, mostly returns, which for various reasons are no longer considered new and therefore cannot be offered as such. Factors for the "Recertified" seal can be missing original packaging, signs of wear, defects, or necessary repairs. Since the product is practically flawless after recertification and processing, but not as good as new, these are offered at a much cheaper price.

Preparation of the hard disk by the manufacturer

For hard drives, recertification is also carried out by the manufacturer. The manufacturer Seagate declares to its customers (last updated: March 17, 2011) that the deletion (if possible) of all data is recommended for data protection reasons when returning Seagate products. Seagate deletes data that could not be deleted by the customer in the course of the repair and recertification processes, in which it is proven that not only the addressable memory area of ​​the hard disk but also the non-addressable areas are cleaned up. Random character strings, digital zero patterns or high-frequency patterns are used to comply with modern hard disk technology. This ensures that the previously existing data sets cannot be restored using the methods of professional data recovery.

Refurbished and almost like new

In most cases, the manufacturer cannot determine or reproduce any errors when checking the data media sent in, or fix the diagnosed minimal errors with moderate effort. The device can no longer be sold as a new item, so that the data carrier is overhauled with a "recertified" seal and sold through the corresponding distribution channels. This usually refers to a limitation in the "mileage" and lifespan of the hard drive and a shortened warranty period is offered - as already mentioned above, this is e.g. the case with Western Digital.

Risks of recertified and used hard drives

For an unbeatable price, the purchase of refurbished hard drives can make sense, depending on the area of ​​application, but it must be taken into account that these storage devices are rather unsuitable for backups - multiple backups should generally be a prerequisite.

  • Due to the temporary errors that have made the hard drive a return, the risk potential for a timely recurrence of errors is significantly higher.
  • The market for used hard drives is also bringing up black sheep who trade supposedly recertified hard drives, although the respective data carriers have never gone through such a process.
  • Refurbished is not the same as defective, but you should keep the risks in mind.
  • When selling used hard disks, the supposedly deleted data can often be restored using common data recovery software

 

Dipl. Ing. Nicolas Ehrschwendner
CEO
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