It goes without saying: your hard drive is one of the most important devices of your system. Without it, you really wouldn’t have a computer to use, as you’d have nowhere to store an operating system or even have a safe place for sensitive files. In this article, we’re going to show you three steps to keeping your hard drive alive and healthy, ultimately prolonging its life span.
Electronics and excessive heat don’t mix, and a hard drive is most certainly not the exception. Hard drives are meant to operate within a certain temperature range. That said, diligence in maintaining proper airflow is a must. Installing extra fans (or fans with more power) in your computer case is a no brainer. After all, almost all custom PCs come with extra fan mounting space in front of the hard drive bays. In fact, even some prebuilt units have extra space, too.
In the case of owning a laptop, getting a cooling pad is definitely recommended, especially if your laptop is used in different places than just a desk (e.g. on your lap where there isn’t as much ventilation).
It’s important to run a defragmentation on your hard drive fairly regularly. A fragmented hard drive works a lot harder than it needs, not operating in its most efficient state. By keeping your hard drive defragmented, you keep the file structure more organized and compact as opposed to it essentially being all over the place.
Now, on the surface, it sounds like this might not do much. But, it keeps programs running fast and loads files quicker. Not only that, but a defragmented drive means that the mechanical parts in the hard drive aren’t moving or traveling near as much as they would be if it was fragmented. That reduces wear and tear, and ultimately, prolongs the life of your drive.
It’s worth noting that you should never defrag an SSD. In fact, there’s no need to at all. However, you can run a TRIM command on an SSD, which is basically the operating system telling the SSD what chunks of data are no longer used, and thus, can be permanently wiped from the system.
You’ve heard it before: static is the enemy of computer parts. Static electricity can literally destroy a computer component, and in the case of a hard drive, even wipe all of your data. With that in mind, keep your computer, laptop or external hard drive away from things that can give off static: the TV, speakers and so on.
SSDs are the future
Most of this information isn’t useful if you have an SSD or some type of flash storage. Flash storage is the future and doesn’t run into nearly as many problems as a mechanical hard drive does. However, this is useful information, as SSDs are still expensive and you get far less storage for that money. That said, hard drives are usually the go-to choice for mass storage, and the tips above are ways to keep those hard drives running optimally and for a long time.