5 Tips to Keep a Well-Maintained Hard Drive

5 Tips to Keep a Well-Maintained Hard Drive 

Photograph by Olivier Le Queinec

Keeping a hard drive well-maintained is essential so that it continues to operate smoothly and its lifespan isn’t adversely affected. Contrary to what you might think it really isn’t that difficult to maintain your hard drive, and you can start by following these simple tips:

  • Take advantage of chkdsk
Essentially chkdsk is a Windows utility that will check your hard drive for errors and attempt to fix them. In particular it can locate and fix bad sectors due to logical errors, as well as lost clusters, cross-linked files, directory issues, and so on. Ideally you should run chkdsk from time to time, so that you are aware of the state of your hard drive and fix whatever issues you can.

  • Protect your hard drive
There are a number of measures that you can take to protect your hard drive, such as by using a cooling system to keep its temperature down, using a surge protector to avoid electrical surges, and ensuring it is housed securely so that it doesn’t shake. Try to protect your hard drive in whatever way you can, so that it remains in good condition.

  • Monitor the hard drive
Nowadays there are tools that you can use to continuously monitor your hard drive and track the number of read-write processes, its temperature, utilization, and so on. If you feel this is overkill then you don’t need to use any tools, but can instead periodically check to make sure your hard drive isn’t too hot, and that it has enough free space.

Additionally you can track the amount of bad sectors that are found using chkdsk, to make sure they aren’t increasing rapidly which could be a sign your hard drive is going to fail sooner rather than later.

  • Use a separate drive for the operating system
By installing the operating system on a separate drive, you can isolate it so that the drive isn’t exposed to all the other read-write operations that are being carried out and that should let it last longer. Additionally you can then use it for hard drive recovery – should any of your data hard drives fail.

  • Always back up data
Keep in mind that even the best laid plans go astray, and at some point or other your well-maintained hard drive is still going to fail. As such one important aspect of every hard drive’s maintenance is to prepare for that eventually and back up any important data so that it can be restored when the drive does need to be replaced.

If you follow the tips listed above, your hard drives should be in better condition overall and you may even add a couple of years to their lifespan. That being said if and when your hard drives do fail, you should also be prepared and will be able to restore the data that you need without any issues – which in the long run is far more important than trying to make your hard drive last longer.

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