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Best Practices for Maintaining Hard Drives

There are several ways an average consumer can avoid premature hard drive failure.

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Manufacturers have refined the design of hard disk drives (HDD) to make them a reliable piece of computer equipment that lasts for years when properly maintained. Neglect can lead an HDD to fail sooner than it normally would. Given that an HDD is critical to a computer’s performance, it’s important to observe a few best practices to avoid a premature hard drive failure and the potential loss of valuable data.

Common causes for a drive failure include:

  • Water damage
  • Overheating
  • Electrical faults
  • Firmware corruption
  • Damaged boot sector
  • Mechanical failure

Be Careful about Downloading and Installing Software

One of the most common reasons clients need hard drive recovery services is because malware has infected the drive and destroyed its ability to boot. In some cases, critical data is overwritten or damaged, but often the hard drive is only disabled, and its data is fully intact. An important part of data security is preventing malware and virus infections, and the first line of defense is a cautious computer user. Businesses should research the common tactics hackers use to trick users into downloading their malware and train their employees to avoid them.

Keep the Computer’s Components Free of Dust

Another common cause for drive failures is neglecting computer maintenance. A computer needs two things to continue operating at its best: ample ventilation to stay cool, and dust-free parts. These two things are difficult to obtain at the same time. Air circulation causes dust to collect inside the computer’s case, so it’s important to periodically remove dust and debris to prevent electrical faults or overheating.

Update the Computer’s Operating System with Critical Patches

This best practice is important because security vulnerabilities in a computer’s operating system can allow hackers to install malware without the user’s permission. Software companies today release security updates frequently to combat this problem. By keeping the computer’s OS up to date with the latest patches, it’ll be less likely to become infected with malicious software that can damage data on its HDD.

Defragment the Drive Regularly

Fragmentation happens over time as software and files are installed and removed from traditional HDDs. Large files can become scattered across the drive’s platter, which slows the process of reading them and impacts a computer’s performance. Defragmentation tools reverse this process by reorganizing all the software and data into an optimal arrangement. Defragmentation is normally not needed for solid state drives, but it’s still recommended for older HDDs.

Delete Unused Software and Files Periodically

Another good practice is to maintain free space on a computer’s drive, which can be ensured by periodically deleting any software and data that aren’t needed. There are utility tools that can search a drive for temporary files left over from updates and installations and delete them, too. It’s important to maintain free space on a drive that the computer can use for temporary storage. When its drive becomes too full, a computer can slow to a crawl as it attempts to use the little free space left to juggle data.

Whenever important data seems lost due to a hard drive failure, there’s an excellent chance of recovering it. Our company has a 96% success rate due to our experienced engineers and hard drive recovery tools at our disposal. Whether the drive is a traditional HDD or a solid-state drive, Secure Data Recovery can help. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to start your case.

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