16 May

Keep the Wheels Turning: Proper Hard Drive Maintenance – post 4

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The hard drive in your computer is what makes it more than just a really cool looking door stop. Because it stores just about all the information on your computer, it includes information regarding starting up and using the system files. If your hard drive crashes, it’s essentially like your computer had its brain removed.

So how do you keep your hard drive in good working order? It’s actually a lot easier than you would think. The short answer is just routine regular cleaning; both run your defragmenter and/or your disc clean up, and you should be fine. However, as your hard drive gets older, you may need to start taking other preventative steps as well.

Hard disk drives are slowly being replaced by Solid State Drives, or SSDs. While SSDs are faster and more efficient, they also cost manufacturers a lot more, meaning we’re still seeing a lot of usage with HDDs. It’s only a matter of time, however, before the cost of the newer, faster, and better SDDs catch up; just as we saw the shift from DVD to Bluray.

As you hold on to your HDD computer, there are a few items you should consider to keep it healthy for longer. A properly maintained HDD can last years, possibly even a decade! Before you need to run out and purchase a brand new computer, try cleaning and tuning up your hard drive first instead.

Partition Your Files

This may be a little more advanced than what a lot of users would be comfortable with, but partitioning your files splits file into separate groups called “volumes”. What this does is keep necessary files used for running your computer away from files that aren’t needed. This helps boost your performance, reduce system errors, and can even allow you to run more than one OS on the same computer.

Check for Errors

If you could run a diagnostic tool on your car to see if it could find errors before they blew up into huge issues, wouldn’t you use it? One such tool exists for your HDD. By using the preloaded Windows tools, you can easily see what errors your disc drive has, as well as what to repair. There are two built in tools for this; the first is going in to your drive’s properties (usually the “C:” drive) and choosing “Error-Checking” under the “Tools” tab.

The other method involves running the Command Prompt as an admin and using the “sfc /scannow” tool. This takes a while, but the computer analyzes potential errors and attempts to correct them.

Get Rid of the Cobwebs

While you should always uninstall programs you are no longer using, this actually refers to physically dusting your hard drive. It’s much easier than you would think; simply carefully unscrew the protective plating and use a can of compressed air to hose away dust. Over time, dust collects, forcing your hard drive to work harder and overheat. By keeping it clean of dust, you’re helping it keep trucking for longer. If you’re not even sure where to begin, a quick Google search should point you in to the right direction as to where to find your HDD, how to remove it, and how to get it cleaned up.