How to Maximize the Life of Your Hard Drive

As the cost of solid state drives continue to fall, they are gaining popularity over traditional hard disk drives. Although HDDs are much faster and more durable than their predecessors, they are still susceptible to physical shocks and high temperatures which can shorten their lifespan. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase the life expectancy of your hard drive. The following tips will help you to do just that:

Keep It Clean

The hard drive is a very vital component in your computer. It works very hard to keep the entire system functional and if not cared for properly could end up failing very soon. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prolong the life of your hard drive and protect your data.

Regularly defragmenting your hard drive is important to optimize its performance. Performing this task reorganizes the stored files in a contiguous manner, making it easier to access them. Ideally, you should perform this task on a weekly basis.

Be gentle when handling your hard drive and always use an Uninterrupted Power Supply to avoid sudden electrical shocks that could damage the delicate components inside the hard disk. Additionally, never leave a hard drive unattended as it could suffer physical damage from accidental impacts or a sudden drop. These types of mechanical failures could result in significant data loss and costly repair bills. Alternatively you can use to recover your data if you have no hope to get it back.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

While hard drives are designed to work in a variety of environments, the harshest conditions can significantly shorten their lifespan. In particular, extreme temperatures can damage the internal components and cause data corruption or failure.

Keeping your computer cool is one of the best ways to extend the lifespan of your hard drive. If you regularly have several programmes and files open at once, you’re pushing your hard drive to the limit and putting it at risk of overheating.

To prevent this, you can install programmes such as HDD Health or WD SmartWare to keep an eye on your drive’s temperature and power consumption. You can also look for ‘green’ or eco-friendly drives that spin at lower speeds and have less platters to reduce the temperature of your drive even further. These are great options if you’re looking to extend the lifespan of your hard drive for longer than the average 3 to 6 years.

Avoid Vibration

Hard drives have moving parts that generate some noise. However, they can be quieter than you might think.

If you have a large external hard drive, for example, it could make only a soft hum when in use. However, if you are using it in an otherwise quiet room, that sound can be amplified and heard over other things around the drive.

Vibration can come from many sources, but the most common is platter wobble. This vibration is a readily identifiable sinusoidal pattern with a frequency equal to the rotational speed of the drive. It is felt in the X and Y axes, and it can cause positioning errors that lead to performance degradation and eventually to non-recoverable failure.

To minimize vibration, try placing rubber cladding beneath the hard drive or by adding a cushioned spacer between the drive and chassis in your PC case. These measures help to reduce the occurrence of platter wobble and, thus, increase the lifespan of your hard drive.

Limit the Amount of Writing and Reading Data

Computers are critical tools for many business operations. Professionals depend on them to maintain productivity and communicate with clients. However, a hard drive crash can cause a huge disruption and even cost the company valuable customers. That’s why it is important to take preventative measures to keep your hard drive healthy.

While age and general wear-and-tear are mostly out of your control, most other factors that affect the lifespan of a hard drive are easy to manage. These tips can help you get more life out of your hard drive and protect your important data.

The key is to minimize the amount of time you are using your hard drive, especially when it is writing and reading data. To do that, it’s best to regularly backup your files. Also, you should monitor the “smart values” on your hard drive and watch for any changes that could indicate a problem. Moreover, it is important to defragment your hard drives on a regular basis.

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