Hard Drive Manufacturers
There are many different makes or manufacturers of internal hard drives, Some of the most popular ones on the market include: Western Digital, which have different lines for different needs for example, the WD Green Series is good for all your data storage needs with a lower RPM using less power and causing less stress on the drive, these drives do tend to stand the test of time.
Western Digital Black Series which is their performance series of Hard Drives, and many more,
another popular brand is Seagate, which is known for it's reliability, longevity and overall good performance.
Longevity of a Hard Drive
The sad fact of anything in the electronics world is that it's lifespan is quite limited, the same goes for hard drives, now just how long do they last? well it's hard to put an exact timeframe on it, it all depends on various factors from the usage, environmental factors, brand and type.
As a general guideline, the faster the hard drive is e.g 7200RPM Drive, the more likely it is to last a bit short than the slower spinning drives of say 5400RPM as data is less frequently access and it doesn't need to read the data on a faster speed. The more frequently and faster a drive has to work, the more wear and tear it will encounter. So for example if you want a hard drive for storage use, it would be recommended to go for a slower spinning drive, as opposed to looking for a faster performing drive of 7200RPM for application usage purposes.
But in general it would be safe to assume a drive might last about 4 years before having to look at replacing it.
Recycling your old Hard Drives
You don't necessarily have to throw away an old hard drive,
What can one do with a old hard drive that you don't use anymore? well if you have previously upgraded to a bigger hard drive for more space, there are a few options available that you can look at , firstly you can always if your motherboard allows open SATA ports, connect your spare hard drive as a secondary storage drive alongside your other hard drive for extra space.
Alternatively you can also look at purchasing an external hard drive enclosure so that you can put your extra hard drive to good use as an external backup device if you like to have access to data on the go.