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The Care and Feeding of Hard Drives

Hard drives are very tiny and complicated machines tasked with saving the most critical of data and should be treated as such


Without hard drives, computers would just be expensive calculators. Even though faster processors, retina displays, portability, and battery life have become the buzzwords for what’s new in computers, nothing matters without the ability to store and retrieve data.

Anyone who has been working with personal computers since the 1980s recognizes or has actually emitted "the scream heard around the world" when a hard drive crashes; taking with it precious irreplaceable data. It could feel as catastrophic as a fire, hurricane, or even a Tsunami. All was lost.

Hard drives have come a long way since those days. However, without proper care and maintenance, they still crash; and newcomers to the computer age and veterans alike will still emit that horrifying scream when they realize they can’t get to their data. In an effort to eliminate that scream forever, here are some tips for the care of your hard drive and data.

You have to care

Complacency or a false sense of security is usually the number one enemy of your hard drive. Your hard drive isn’t a Ronco appliance where you "set it and forget it." If you really care about your data, you have to care for your hard drive. If your data isn’t that important to you, when your hard drive crashes it really won’t matter. You will be out a few hundred bucks to replace it and you are back in business. However, if you are like most people, your computer's hard drives are digital archives of your life, your business, and everything else that is important to you.

Know the rules

The first key to caring for your hard drive is to know the rules. There are some basic points to know about any hard drive. They are:

  • Keep your hard drive cool: Heat is a mortal enemy of anything electronic. Keep your computer in a well-ventilated area; don’t try to cram it into a slot in your rolltop desk or bury your tower somewhere under your desk. Your computer needs to breathe fresh cool air.
  • Keep it clean: Your hard drive, in fact your entire computer hates dust and dirt. It can create havoc on your hard drive and can lead to a build up of static electricity. Speaking of electricity, keep you hard drive and computer free of any magnetic contamination as well.
  • Keep it stable: Hard drives do not like to be jostled, bumped, or dropped; especially while they are functioning. Solid-state drives are good for this reason. However, a rule of thumb is to keep all hard drives on a level surface, and always consider them fragile.
  • Keep it safe: Disk utility programs and virus protection programs are vital to the health of your data and hard drives. Talk to your computer professional about the best programs and protection regimens for your computer and hard drives. There are three types of programs to have available at all times. They include; virus and malware protection programs, disk utility programs, and monitoring programs that keep constant tabs of your hard drive and computer systems. A monitoring program will keep track of the temperature of your computer and the overall health of your hard drive.

Accept Reality

It doesn’t matter if you are on a PC or a Mac, hard drives are like cars; they wear out and crash. By recognizing this reality, backing up your data won’t seem as much of a chore. Some computers can be programmed to backup automatically to an exterior hard drive or to a cloud. Even with these precautions, hard drive failure at the wrong time can put some of your most important data at risk. For those times when a failed hard drive traps unbacked-up data on a dead hard drive, companies like Secure Data Recovery are available to prevent you from releasing the primal scream of lost data.

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