7 Tips for Maintaining Your Computer Hard Drive
You can only expect a computer hard drive to live until the age of 4 - if you don't take good care of them.
Extending their life protects your data and means less recurring expenses to replace them each half-decade.
Stretch your computer hard drive lifespan with these 7 tips for maintaining it in top condition.
1. Heat Will Kill Your Computer Hard Drive
Overheating is a serious problem for any computer component, not least your hard drive.
That's why airflow is so important in a computer case. It's no use having exceptional graphics cards, hard drives and other components if there's no air flow. The system will burn itself out in no time.
You need to ensure that your fans are working properly and that they're adequate for your needs. Free hardware monitors are available to track the internal temperature of your case.
If you see the temperature rising out of control, shut down your computer and solve the problem before rebooting.
You may need to buy a new fan, for example. But you should also regularly clean out the fans you already have using compressed air. This will help them deliver airflow within the case and prevent a build-up of dust.
The solution may also be to move your computer case out of direct sunlight.
2. Defrag Every Couple of Weeks
When files 'fragment' this means that your hard drive has to physically pick out all the pieces to call up the file when you tell it to.
This happens over time during normal use, and it's not something to get too worried about. However, it can affect performance as the drive must do extra work. And by doing this extra work, it can wear out faster.
So it's important that you set up your computer to defragment itself every week. There are plenty of free defrag programs out there, and many modern operating systems provide their own tools for this too.
3. Power Surges Can Ruin Hard Drives
This isn't just a concern for your hard drive. It's for every component sitting inside of your computer.
Surges are less common nowadays, but they still pose a serious threat to your hardware. If the current peaks above normal even for a few moments, it can fry your hard drive - and motherboard, and CPU...
Surge protectors are affordable devices which you plug your power supply into, in a chain to the wall. This will help to protect against surges which could destroy your hard drive.
It can't offer protection all the time, but it will greatly reduce the risk of a surge decimating your disk.
4. Anti-Virus Software
If you want to protect your files, you need anti-virus and anti-malware software.
Your computer hard drive can come under attack from even unlikely sources if they've been compromised.
You should always keep this software up to date so that it's ready to tackle the latest viruses that creep across the Internet.
As with your new defrag software, set up your anti-virus to do a scan once every couple of weeks to make sure everything is safe.
5. Always Move it Gently
'Traditional' hard drives - those which aren't solid state drives - have many moving parts. That's why you can hear a light whirring from most healthy hard drives, though some are extremely quiet these days.
If you move them while they're whirring away, this can cause parts to falter or fail. It's therefore imperative that you keep your tower out of walkways or any other place it might get knocked about.
Even a little bump can knock a hard drive out of commission if it's spinning.
If you need to transfer drives to a new case, you should be very careful. Ensure that you always ground yourself before taking apart an old case to get at the drives - wearing a special wristband is a good idea.
6. Need to Transport it Further?
If you're moving any hard drive around and it's not inside a case, it should always be sealed up in an anti-static bag. This prevents static shocks from lighting it up.
Then, it should be packed up into a box with foam surroundings. There should be no room for it to move around during transit, particularly if you expect a bumpy ride - like a flight.
Generally, though, it's good advice to try to avoid transporting a hard drive wherever possible. Cloud computing makes it easy to transfer large amounts of data with little fuss.
So unless you've got a really good reason to move it around on a long journey, try not to.
7. Keep A Backup of Your Computer Hard Drive
No matter how well maintained your hard drive is, they can and do fail.
As always, no list of maintenance tips for your computer hard drive is complete without the advice to keep a backup of the drive's data.
You should regularly update this so that you don't end up losing months of work because of one hardware failure. If the backup is approaching the end of its life (if you're just using another hard drive), replace it.
You may also consider cloud storage backups and the like as an off-site alternative - just in case a drastic event destroys both hard drives at once.
Lost Data? We'll Recover It
If your hard drive isn't responding, and you can't get your important data off of it, talk to us.
Our hard drive recovery service can help you recover that lost data. We deal with FAT32 and NTFS file systems, as well as common Mac set-ups, Linux systems, and even virtual environments.
If your hard drive is clicking, grinding, or simply isn't turning at all, don't try to boot it persistently, as this can make the problem worse. We'll look into it for you, and we're often able to recover all of our customer's lost data.
Call us for an evaluation of your situation and a quote.