You’ve heard it time and time again: “Backing up your computer’s data is an essential security measure.” Now that you’ve backed it up, though, you’re wondering how safe that external hard drive really is. While it’s true that external hard drives are a fantastic tool for protecting your computer’s data, they’re not impervious to failures, viruses, and crashes. Luckily, you can take steps to ensure the safety of your data by learning how to prevent data loss on an external hard drive. Read on.

Why External Hard Drives Fail

Like internal hard drives, external hard drives are vulnerable to a wide assortment of things, including physical and logical failure, and viruses.

As a general rule, people are more careful with their laptops than they are with their external hard drives (how often do you toss your laptop into a backpack without any protection or covering?), which may also contribute to their relatively high rates of failure.

As a general rule, people are more careful with their laptops than they are with their external hard drives (how often do you toss your laptop into a backpack without any protection or covering?), which may also contribute to their relatively high rates of failure.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that external hard drives are just mechanical objects and that they don’t last forever, no matter how high-quality the brand is or how well you care for them.

How to Prevent Data Loss on an External Hard Drive: 4 Pro Tips

So: external hard drives can fail, but how do you take proactive steps to prevent it, and to protect your data in the event that failure does occur? Do you know how to prevent data loss on an external hard drive? Here are a few tips:

1. Take Good Care of the Hard Drive

This may seem obvious, but it’s a mistake many people make.

To extend the life of your external hard drive, and protect the data you’ve stored on it, treat your drive like you would your computer. Purchase a case for it, keep it away from condensation, moisture, or high or low temperatures, and make sure it’s not running in a bumpy setting, where vibration could easily damage the internal components.

If your drive does suffer any kind of physical damage, take it to your local computer repair expert in Fort Worth to be fixed.

2. Monitor the Health of Your Drive

External hard drives don’t generally just fail without issuing some symptoms first.

As such, monitoring the health of your drive can be a smart way to identify problems and prevent failure. There are dozens of hard drive monitoring tools in existence, which are designed to monitor the health of external drives and report issues, so you can fix them before they cause a complete failure.

3. Don’t Overload the Drive

You know the saying about “putting all your eggs in one basket?” It’s as true with external hard drives as it is with anything else.

When you overload the hard drive, you not only decrease its lifespan by making it work harder and increasing wear and tear, but you also put yourself at increased risk of complete data loss, should the drive bite the dust.

With this in mind, keep your hard drive under capacity. If you need to, purchase an additional external hard drive or use a cloud-based service, like Amazon’s Cloud Storage, to backup your system.

4. Always “Remove the Device”

Instead of just pulling your drive’s USB out of your computer when you’re done with it, select the “Remove Device” option. There are two reasons for this: the first is that removing the device decreases the likelihood that your data transfer will be interrupted and corrupted. The second is that removing the device prevents your drive from suffering the power surge commonly associated with improper unplugging.

Keep Your Data (and Your External Drive) Safe!

While data loss on an external hard drive isn’t impossible, it will be unlikely if you follow the steps laid out here. To afford yourself some extra protection, don’t forget to also back up the files from your external device to a cloud platform.

If you have any questions about data security, or how to care for your external hard drive, call Computer CPR today!