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The sector failure rate (SFR) is extremely small at normal operating conditions of hard disk drives. In practice, it cannot be obtained by counting as that would require prohibitively large simulation times. Therefore, appropriate statistical models characterizing the distribution of error symbols are used in order to estimate the SFR. In this paper, we look at the underlying philosophy of existing estimation methods and classify them into macroscopic and microscopic types. We observe that the microscopic approach is well suited for certain iterative channels.