How to Prevent Hard disk Failure

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How to Prevent Hard disk Failure

How to Prevent Hard drive Failure

How to prevent hard drive failure is a important topic as Hard drives are vital component in a
computer that stores data. Many professionals and business organizations rely on their computer's hard disk drive to store informations

Regardless of this like other components like other components hard drives have a finite lifespan. Any damage to the hard drive may cost them significant losses. During last few decades hard drives have shown a massive improvement in size and capacity. Even though the size and capacity has been increased, almost all hard drives have a similar mechanism of operating. They are equipped with a fast spinning platters that has a read/write heads attached above it. Since it is mechanical it can experience high rate of failure. Worst case is that hard drives which have a higher capacity tends to fail more than a lower since capacity hard drives. And also the data recovery chances are lower as well. This is because of the large sector sizes in a higher capacity hard drive. 

To calculate how reliable a hard drive is, manufacturers are using a measure called Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF). Even with these measures hard drives tends to fail unexpectedly. If you have never experienced any type of hard drive crash you are lucky enough. Even though you cannot prevent a hard drive failure completely you can take measures to reduce it. Therefore prevention is the only way to tackle this. 

In this article I will be guiding you on,

How to Prevent Hard disk Failure 

At the end of the article you will be able to identify the key reasons behind a hard drive failure and how to prevent them.

Let's move to the topic,

1. Run Check Disk Utility

It is common for a hard drive to experience errors and develop bad sectors. To avoid this Windows have introduced a feature known as Check Disk Utility (chkdsk) to almost all their versions of Windows. This chkdsk is capable of identify and remove all types of Files system errors, Soft bad sectors and Hard bad sectors

Even though the chkdsk is unable to handle any physical damages caused to the hard drive, it is one of the best ways to identify non physical errors

To run the Check Disk,

        1. Open Computer (Double click on it) .
        2. Select the drive which you want to perform the Check Disk.
        3. Right click on it.
        4. Select Properties.
        5. Choose the Tools tab.
        6. Press Check Now.

It is advisable to run check disk utility every few months to prevent minor types of hard drive errors.

2. Customize Power Settings

Hard drives contains magnetic platters which rotates at a very fast rate to store data. Due to this it can experience high rate of failure. Therefore stopping its movement when a computer is in idle can help you to expand the hard drives life. 

Apart from some older operating systems, every new version of Windows comes with the settings Balanced and Power Saver that will turn off hard drive when it is not in use. On default the settings are not enabled in High Performance, but you can manually customize it.

To Turn Off Hard drive,

         1. Press the Start Menu.
         2. Select Settings.
         3. Click on Additional Power Settings.
         4. Choose High Performance.
         5. Click on Change Plan Settings.
         6. Expand the Hard disk option.
         7. Expand the Turn Off Hard disk After option.
         8. Select the minutes on which the hard drive 
             should be turned off after idle.

NOTE  :-  The default time period is 20 minutes, do not set smaller values as it will cause your hard drive to be malfunctioned.

3. Use Monitoring Applications

Hard drives are capable of showing signals when they have any trouble in operating. Understanding these signals can pave the way for extending its life. There are many programs available to download that can monitor your hard drive status. They basically display the disk states, temperature variations, scan for bad sectors

Apart from these programs hard drives today comes with S.M.A.R.T  (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology). Using S.M.A.R.T hard drives calculate how reliable they are and identify if they are failing. Other than the Command Prompt the Windows doesn't support any tool to show the S.M.A.R.T data. There are third party programs like Crystaldiskinfo that are capable of reading S.M.A.R.T data. Other than that you have to use your Command Prompt. 

To Check S.M.A.R.T data using Command Prompt,

         1. Press Windows + R.
         2. type '' cmd '' and Press Ok.
         3. type the command '' wmic diskdrive get status '' .

This will show the status of hard drive received from S.M.A.R.T. If the hard drive is working properly it will show every status as ok. If you see any status as Bad, Caution, Alert, Unknown it is a sign that your hard drive is facing a problem.

4. Use Secondary Drives

The single hard drive which you are using may be overloaded with the work of both Operating system and Personal/Business data. A Secondary hard drive will provide a extra storage capacity and less reading/writing tasks. Secondary hard drive can be internal or external. 

Most Motherboards comes with the special configuration known as RAID which allows using multiple hard drives. In the case of a internal hard drive it is always preferred to use a Modern Solid State Drive (SSD) as it is more durable. This method will ensure that the O/S to run more efficiently and provide a backup in case of any corruptions in the O/S.

5. Remove Unwanted Programs

Unwanted programs that you have installed years back may be taking your hard drive space and continue to run on the background. Apart from these programs there may be other musics, movies, differently files and folders. More the programs and files you have on your hard drive, harder the hard drive will be working. 

To avoid these situations take some time to uninstall and delete these programs and files that are not used frequently. And also avoid downloading and installing multiple unwanted programs as they will take up your hard drive space. Only install applications that are needed the most. Remember to keep at least 40% of hard drive as free space as it will reduce the work load given to it.

6. Run Regular Defragment

Data stored inside your hard drive does not not follow any particular order for saving files. When the hard drive is used too long the data stored spreads and distributes throughout the space making the read/write heads function harder. This is known as Fragmentation

By defragmenting your hard drive on a regular basis you can make the files stored inside your hard drive to become compact and reduce the work load given to the read/write heads.  

To run for a Defragment,

         1. Press the Start Menu.
         2. type Control Panel.
         3. Choose System and Security.
         4. Click Defragment Your Hard drive.
         5. Press Analyze disk.
         6. Press Defragment disk.

7. Keep the Hard drive Cool

It is a proven fact that heat can decrease the lifespan of a hard drive. Excess heat can be built up inside the system due to numerous reasons from improper ventilation, dust and particle accumulation and hot surroundings. Any of the above mentioned reasons is bad for a hard drive. 

When excess heat built up inside the hard drive, it can cause the magnetic platters to expand, this will interfere with the read/write heads which is rotating. This ultimately leads to a hard drive failure. To avoid this always try to keep the hard drive cooler. There are many methods for keeping a system from Overheating.

[ FURTHER READING :  8 Best Ways to Cool down a Overheating Laptop ]

8. Purchase a UPS Device

In order for a hard drive to function properly it needs a steady state of electricity, any form of fluctuation in power can make a hard drive malfunction. A Power Failure at a wrong time may cause your hard drive to become corrupted. To overcome this use a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) device. 

UPS devices ensures that the electricity across the system flows at a steady state and provides the user a chance to shutdown the system safely in case of a sudden power failure. Remember to purchase a high quality UPS device, because there are cheap low quality UPS devices that does not provide enough protection against power surges

1 comment:

  1. I’m going to show you a few good programs to help you test a hard disk and fix any errors they can find -


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