Like all other mechanical and electronic parts, hard drives eventually wear out and fail. When they do, it can be catastrophic – causing a massive loss of data, an inoperable computer, and lots of personal strife.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent hard drive failure.
Here’s what you need to know.
Why do Hard Drives Fail?
Hard drives fail for dozens of reasons. Some of the most common are as follows:
- External damage, like drops or impact
- Power surges or other electronic problems
- Failure of the electric motor that spins the platter
- Air intake filter becomes clogged
- Overheating fries the circuit board
- Power outage while the disk is writing
These hard drive failure factors fall into two broad categories: logical and physical. Physical failures involve the moving parts of the hard disk, while logical failures step from file system corruptions.
8 Ways to Prevent Hard Drive Failure
While your hard drive will eventually need to be replaced, you can take proactive steps to prevent a catastrophic failure. Here are a few places to start.
1. Clean Your Computer’s Ventilation System
Overheating is deadly for your hard drive. As such, it’s essential to keep the ventilation system clean. You can do this by either cleaning it manually or having it replaced completely.
2. Defrag it Frequently
Defragging your computer is critical to keep it running well. In addition to preventing complete hard drive failure, it will also keep your computer fast and clean for everyday work and play.
3. Don’t Open Your Computer up Unless You Know What You’re Doing
While many people open their computers (to clean the CPU or do something else they believe will help prevent hard drive failure), this can harm your computer more than it helps, unless you’re an experienced computer repair tech. Since most people aren’t, it’s wiser to contact your local computer repair shop.
4. Get rid of Unneeded Software
The more files your computer is storing, the harder it has to work. With this in mind, go through your computer and uninstall everything you’re not using.
5. Shield Your Hard Drive From Power Surges
Even newer homes are subject to power surges. To protect your hard disk, use a surge protector to prevent damaging power surges from reaching and damaging your hard drive.
6. Avoid Static
While most people don’t consider static as a dangerous thing for computers, it is. In fact, a simple static shock can fry your computer components.
As such, it’s important to ground yourself before you handle your computer, especially if you live in a dry environment. To ground yourself, simply touch another item to discharge static before you handle your computer or electronic devices.
7. Use a Solid-State Drive
A solid-state drive has no moving parts, which can dramatically extend its lifespan. Because some of the mechanical components are removed from these drives, they’re immune to the physical failures that affect standard hard drives.
While a solid-state drive is more expensive than a standard hard disk up front, it won’t need to be replaced as often and can keep your data safer in the long-term.
8. Tighten Your Chassis Screws
While they work incessantly, hard drives are sensitive, and something as simple as excess vibration can harm them. With that in mind, tighten the mounting screws that hold your hard drive to the body of your computer.
If you hear or feel vibrations from the interior of your hard drive, take it to a computer repair specialist for a tune-up: it could save your computer and extend the life of your hard drive.
A Longer-Lasting Hard Drive Starts Here
While there’s no way to make your hard drive last forever, there are ways to maintain it so as to prevent a catastrophic failure that damages your data. To learn more about caring for your hard drive, or to have it serviced, contact the techs here at Computer CPR: your one-stop shop for computer wellbeing.