The hard drive is most important and yet the weakest component of a computer. At Stellar Phoenix Solutions we call it the little electronic brain, because it stores all of our data just like we preserve our memories in our brain.
Just like we all should exercise to keep us healthy similarly you've got to treat it right to get a good, long life out of it. These processes don't take a lot of time, but they can save you a lot of time by speeding up your system and also helping to prevent hard disk drive failure and the loss of your important data. Here are a few tips to increase your hard drive's life and some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
Tip #1: Defragment your drive regularly: Computer is designed to save files as quickly as possible. Saving files is fast because Computer would split files into several smaller pieces and write them on separate parts of the disk. Those small pieces of the files are called fragments, and reading fragments makes your computer take longer to open files.
The longer a hard drive is running, the more fragmented files get, causing more physical stress to the internal components as they search back and forth for specific bits of information.
Many experts encourage monthly, if not weekly, defragmentation of your drive. At Stellar Phoenix, we encourage you all to make a schedule to defrag and make sure you follow it; also, the Windows "Disk Cleanup" utility can help free up some drive space, which is always helpful for your hard drive.
Tip #2: Watch for heat, humidity and vibration: Many of us still don't consider heat to be that dangerous; after all, computers have fans, right? But the fan in a computer tower is designed for the normal heat of operation, not more extreme temperatures possible when a computer is put in a compartment such as a closed desk. Humidity is also bad news; ideally, your computer should be kept in a clean, open, dry area at a good room temperature.
Also, keeping a computer near any source of vibration (such as a large copy machine) is a bad idea; the vibrations can throw off the delicate internal mechanisms of a drive.
Tip #3: Don't shut your computer down without doing it properly: Hitting the power button is a huge shock to your computer. For a delicately tuned machine like a hard drive, suddenly cutting all power can be disastrous and can fragment files or permanently damage your hard drive. No matter how frustrated you get, always follow the proper procedure when shutting your computer down.
Tip #4: Keep your computer on a regulated power supply: Power surges (even imperceptible ones) can cause your hard drive to break down, and big ones can send the heads crashing into the platters which store the information, in some cases permanently damaging your drive. To be safe unplug the machine if you are not going to use it for a while especially during thunder storms.
Tip #5: Use antivirus software: Run virus scans regularly to keep your computer free of viruses and any kind of a malware that could crash your system and require emergency data recovery services.
Visiting adult sites and downloading pirated software puts you at a much higher risk of infection, but even legitimate web sites can be compromised, and seemingly innocent results in a search engine can lead to hostile sites. Many types of malware are installed voluntarily. The job of a malware writer is to convince you to run his innocent-sounding program, which secretly does something other than its stated purpose. It might claim to be a new video playback plugin but actually turns out to be a program that hides on your PC and steals passwords or sends spam.
Tip #6: Periodically back up your data and check your backups for consistency: It's really important to back up data. Professional data recovery can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, and it's much cheaper to periodically back up your data and check your backups for consistency. It is not all about the cost. There are a few times when the damage is so severe that data recovery is not possible. And your life’s worth of memories is lost for good.
For home users, consider investing in an external hard drive. Many come bundled with programs designed to back up your data automatically during low-usage hours. Businesses may consider investing in a RAID server to handle backups.
Finally, always remember that your backup is as likely to fail as your original drive; check both of them periodically to make sure your files look right, and follow the same rules of hard drive maintenance on an external drive as you would on an internal drive.
If you follow some simple rules, you should get a lot of life from your hard drive, and overall increased performance from your computer.
Note: Do not attempt to run a virus scan or defrag your hard drive, or take any other action if your hard disk drive is making grinding, clicking or mechanical beeping and whirring noises during boot-up. These sounds indicate hard drive failure and attempting to fix the problem yourself could cause permanent damage to your hard drive platters and a permanent loss of data.
At Stellar Phoenix, we have been studying various variety of hard drives like Parallel ATA (PATA) and Serial ATA (SATA), Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE), Solis State Drive (SSD), Hybrid Hard Drive (or, H-HDD), Flash Drive, Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), iSCSI, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Enhanced Small Disk Interface (ESDI), Shugart Associates System Interface (SASI) etc. We have experience in recovering data from any kind of viruses, accidents and malware then most of our competition.
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