Taking care of your hard drive should be a priority for everyone. It is where your operating system, photos and important documents are physically stored. There are quite a few things you can do to keep your hard drive running smoothly.
Take out the trash.
Over time your hard drive can become cluttered with useless junk. If your hard drive becomes too full, you will see a decrease in performance. You will also be placing your hard drive at a higher risk for failure. Use a utility such as CCleaner to remove the clutter.
Defrag your hard drive often.
As you use your computer, files are opened, spread out and moved around constantly on your hard drive. After a while your hard drive will become unorganized and files will become fragmented (scattered). This causes the hard drive to work longer to find files as needed when running programs and operations. I like to compare a program to a deck of cards. Each card represents a file in that program. Take ten decks and throw them into a room. Now try to find and put one deck together to use it. This is sort of how it happens digitally with the files. A good defragmenter utility will put all those files back together. It should also place them in an efficient order for the fastest access. I like to use Auslogics Disk Defrag. You can set it on a schedule and forget it or run it manually.
Shut your computer down correctly.
I can’t stress this one enough. A lot of people like to just push the power button or unplug the power cord to turn off their computer. This is not a good idea. Any sudden power loss can corrupt data on the hard drive. It can also cause other components to become damaged. The proper way is to select the shut down option from the task bar. Just click on the “Start” button on the task bar. Then select “Turn Off Computer”.
Next Click “Turn Off
Some of you may be laughing but you should know that many people are unaware that there is a proper way to shut down a PC.
ALWAYS shut down your laptop before you transport it. Your hard drive is extremely vulnerable to physical damage internally while it is running. You can also overheat a laptop when it is on and stuffed in a case. When you shut it down, WAIT for the laptop to COMPLETELY turn off before you close the lid. I notice a lot of people click “Turn Off” and then immediately shut the lid. When you open it later it may still be on.
Use a surge protector or preferably a battery backup (UPS)
You can find a decent battery backup for around $80 at your local retail store. This will help protect your computer against power loss in your home or business. If you cannot afford one you should at least use a surge protector ($5-20).
Your hard drive will serve you longer with proper maintenance and care. Hard drives are very sensitive and eventually will fail you. It is always a good idea to keep backups. You can read my previous article about backups for more information.
If you have anything to add or any questions about this article please use the comment area below.