We have a midsize business with a few dozen laptops. Whenever we get one in because someone leaves or gets an upgrade, standard procedure is to zero and then run SpinRite (level 4) on the hard drive to make sure it's in good shape before sending the laptop back out with a fresh OS. If the drive passes SpinRite (no bad sectors, minimal or no seek errors, no other kinds of errors)
Recently, a bunch (six or seven) of these SpinRite-ed drives I've put in laptops have started making weird noises and going bad. They aren't headcrashing, but several have developed a persistent "tick", and then lots of read failures, and three others have developed high-pitched whining noises. None of the drives were exhibiting these issues before the SpinRite/zeroing process, and none of the laptops they were from were reported defective. These are different-sized drives, from differently-specced laptops that were purchased at very different times. The oldest drive is about 2.5yrs old, the youngest is just four months old. These laptops weren't used for anything beyond your average business user's tasks.
Is SpinRite somehow breaking my hard drives? If it were just one or two with this problem, I'd assume that they were just near the end of their lives already, and the intensive operations of SpinRite just pushed them over the edge. However, 7 hard drives is pushing the boundaries of coincidence. Is there any way that SpinRite could be causing this?