The last time I booted my old PC (do so once every four months), I got a SMART error.
This was for a drive that I used to store MP3s, fanfilms, and other oddball rarely used items. I hadn't even partitioned it fully, and left the last 200mb unformatted for whatever needs I might have in the future.
I did run HD Tune, and the drive is now making clicking/knocking noises for the last 100mb of the drive. Aside from an aggravating SMART error, the only partition on the drive is functioning without issue. If it wasn't for that SMART error, I would never have suspected anything at all.
I've since deleted the unnecessary data, and managed to get it down to 40GB which fit on my 60GB Windows partition.
Now, I've never actually had the opportunity to try and see how long a drive would last, or see if such an issue could be corrected.
I am also curious as to the cause of this issue. Whatever the cause, it has not affected my 160GB WD C: drive. I have occasionaly run Kubuntu, which may have used the 200GB unformatted space as a SWAP partition. However I don't see how Kubuntu could have worn a drive out.
The drive is dying is the cause. Its not going to affect another drive since its a hardware error on your drive. It should die pretty soon actually so I would get a new one before you lose your data.