Define "quite a long time". Statistical data and theoretical speculation are two separate concepts with different variables and outcomes, while they're both aren't the same as individual cases. Therefore, the following is only an opinion based on both statistical data and theoretical speculation as well as personal experience, but is not "fact".
I had an 8 year old flash drive with some good shit on it, it simply died on me despite taking real good care of it (so much for the "cold" data storage theory). I had taken out a HDD from a 2005 Toshiba laptop some time around 2014 or so since the CPA office I worked in were getting newer shit. I then installed Trisquel on it, shit still works like nothing happened to this day. I live in an environment that's on average 80% humid in any given day. I assume that if you have a temperature controlled room, never have power outages or compensate with battery backup surge protectors just in case you do deal with power outages from time to time, and keep the write cycles very low as possible, you would extend the lifespan of your HDD, though if you're using NTFS, fragmentation just might become an issue. If you're using Windows and/or Macs, they'll probably leave stupid index files. The more data there in say an 8 TB HDD, the more as time goes by, something might get corrupted by the sands of time through magnetic depolarization even by a bit or two. The platters is where the data is stored, so if either the SATA bridge or the moving parts (spindle and actuator), one could still recover the data. That being said, I've heard about lots of crap about Seagate external HDDs and some Western Digital external HDDs dying on them within a year though I suspect that it's anything but the platters. Assuming your HDD model isn't a reportedly statistically inferior product from an manufacturing flaw, I can only be confident enough to say that the original HDD would probably last at least 7 years, within average variables, but the data saved onto other storage mediums differ, it's pseudo immortal assuming that there's always someone alive at any given moment would pass on the data to newer, fresher, more reliable and trustworthy publicly available consumer level data storage mediums which are inherently inferior to what governments might use like sapphire optical discs. CD, DVD, Blu-Ray readers aren't going to disappear any time soon.>>10539
Here's the source behind the numbers https://www.storagecraft.com/blog/data-storage-lifespan/
What am I wrong about? Perhaps you haven't really thought about data preservation and various other implications behind it. HDDs aren't going anywhere until SSDs become more reliable and cheaper than HDDs. Ironic isn't it, SSDs aren't really reliable despite how HDDs got more parts to break. A giant magnet won't immediately destroy the data on the coated glass platters, only the ceramic magnet and the moving parts are immediately affected by the magnetic force, doing shit it shouldn't normally do. Having less moving parts is of course better, but that doesn't mean that data won't disappear. Heat destroys data regardless if it's an HDD or SSD. Some laptops get super hot despite using SSDs because the other components still use lots of energy. Some speculate however, that HDDs might be better than SSDs when it comes to heat. https://blog.korelogic.com/blog/2015/03/24#ssds-evidence-storage-issues
Yes, the case can and has been made that SSD lifespan might be shorter than HDD lifespan. In short, there's more to data storage than you might be willing to acknowledge. SSDs might be perfect for criminals that want to have their data naturally wiped within a shorter time than HDDs.