Hard drives are most commonly used data storage device. They act as a primary source of data storage in desktop, laptop, servers etc., as internal drives and secondary source of data storage as external hard drives. Hard drives are mechanical devices, and like every other mechanical device, they are also prone to damages. Sometimes our careless approach also affects hard disk life.
We store all kind of important data like photos, videos, documents, important project assignments, etc. on the hard drive. Sometimes in the absence of any backup of important data, it becomes most critical data storage for us. They are also affected by external factors like moisture, change in weather conditions, temperatures, etc. Improper handling of hard drives or some unavoidable accidental circumstances can also affect the health of hard drives.
However, with the proper handling, you can increase the lifespan of hard drives. More the life of your hard disk, longer you can store the data safe and secure in it. Having a backup is an alternate, but as you back up all your data, increase its lifespan becomes a focal point.
In this blog, we will talk about how you can increase the lifespan of hard drives.
Solutions for Increasing the Hard Disk Life
Here are some steps that can help you to maximize the hard disk life on your computer:
Solution 1: Use ‘chkdsk’ command
After a certain period of use, your hard drive will inevitably have errors such as partition table, hardware or software issues. This consequently leads to decrease in the hard disk life. However, with the ‘chkdsk’ command on your Windows PC, you can fix such issues. Also, this command removes other faults of your hard disk such as bad sectors, cross-linked files, errors in directories and lost clusters. To get the best out of this method, you should use it at the time computer boots up. Sometimes the hard drive error can be fixed by using ‘chkdsk command’. Follow the below steps to run ‘chkdsk’:
Step 1: Open CMD (Command Prompt)
Step 2: Type chkdsk c: (Where ‘c’ is the drive that user wants to check) and press enter key
Figure 1.1 illustrates the chkdsk command
Step 3: Now it will start to scan – Check Disk (chkdsk) then performs scanning the drive and show the error message if any.
Figure 1.2 illustrates the disk scan
Step 4: After scanning, you will see chkdsk analysis report. It will verify the details and complete the analysis process if the drive hasn’t found any error. But if the drive has some logical errors like bad sector then after completing the scan it will fix the error and restart the system or asks whether you want to schedule the disk to be checked the next time you restart the system.
Figure 1.3 illustrates the disk analysis process
Solution 2: Perform Defragmentation
With time, your hard drive gets fragmented with data causing it to work slower, harder, and become less proficient. This deteriorates the health of your hard disk. Thus, it becomes necessary for you to defragment your hard drive in the right way to improve the health. This will help maintain your hard drive in the best possible state and increase the life expectancy of your hard drive. The reason being, with this the data gets stored in a more compact way that causes less movement of the read head and hence reduces wear and tear in your hard disk. To do so, you can set your system to defragment the hard drive automatically, either once every week or every month.
You can check and fix its fragmentation status with the steps below:
Step 1: Open the Disk optimization tool
Right click on the drive -> properties -> tools -> optimize
Step 2: Select the hard drive and click Analyze
Figure 2.1 illustrates the Analysis
Step 3: Check the percentage of fragmented files
Figure 2.2 illustrates the fragmentation percentage
Step 4: Click Optimize, If you want to defragment your drive
Figure 2.3 illustrates the optimization process
After completing the process, the drive will show – 0% fragmented in the Optimize Drives utility.
Solution 3: Avoid overheat and protect from dust
Both overheating and exposure to dust can cause your hard disk to malfunction, subsequently leading to reduce hard disk life. Therefore, you should adopt ways to prevent overheating and reduce exposure to dust. To deal with the overheating issue, you can go for cooling techniques or avoid over and prolonged use of your hard disk that leads to overheating. To address the dust issue, either you should protect your hard disk from it or regularly clean it by removing the dust particles accumulated on it.
Solution 4: ‘Ground’ your system properly
The static electricity is one of the primary reasons for corruption on your hard disk. Therefore, to prevent your hard drive from the damaging effects of the static electricity, you should have a solution to counteract static electricity. Well, this can be done by grounding your system in the right way.
Solution 5: Use of surge protectors
The power outage can prove to be extremely damaging for the hard disk in your system. Therefore, you should use surge protectors that work as a shield by diverting the excess voltage through the ground channel available in your system, and ultimately protects your hard disk and the data within it.
Solution 6: Regularly monitor your hard drive
You should practice regular monitoring of your hard disk to check its health and performance. To do so, you can use one or the other programs that can monitor the critical details of your hard disk drive. The parameters based on which you should monitor your hard disk are free space, core temperature, etc. From the vast number of programs that are available, you can use the ‘Acronis drive monitor.’
Solution 7: Install OS and other data separately
Installing your Operating System directories and other user data on different hard drive partitions ensure that the drive in which the OS is stored undergoes less of reading and writing. This improves the performance and health of your hard disk that, in turn, extends hard disk life.
Solution 8: Remove the temporary files
Windows OS creates several temporary files even during normal operation. Although you try to eliminate those files using Windows built-in tools and clean the hard disk, some of them such as file fragments, memory dumps, browser cache, cookies, log files, Recycle Bin stay back and keep adding. In such cases, you should third-party disk cleaners to remove the accumulated temporary files. E.g., CCleaner, FCleaner, Comodo System Cleaner, etc. You can also delete temporary files using the Disk Cleanup utility:
Step 1: Go to My Computer
Step 2: Right-click on the system drive, and select Properties
Step 3: On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
Figure: illustrates the disk cleanup process
Step 4: Scroll down in the files to delete list, and then select Temporary Files.
Step 5: Click OK, and then click Yes to confirm the deletion.
Step 6: Close the system drive Properties dialog box.
Solution 9: Remove duplicate files from your hard disk
Delete the duplicate files that exist on your hard drive, as this ultimately deteriorates its performance and health. To do so, you can use Duplicate file remover utility. There exist some tools that find and removes them. E.g., Duplicate Cleaner that can identify duplicate files with the same content but different file names.
Protecting Hard Drive from Data Loss
You can take above measures to extend the life of your hard drives. However, sometimes the situations around you may not help. e.g. overheating of hard drives, extreme temperature conditions, or environmental moisture levels etc. In such cases, you need to protect your hard drive from data loss. Read here about some preventive measures for hard drive crash.
Data Recovery Options
By performing above steps, you shall be able to increase the lifespan of your hard drives. However, like any other devices, they will stop functioning one day because of any reason. You should always ensure that backup of your important data is updated. However because of any reasons, if you are not able to find backup & your hard drive stopped working, we have data recovery solution for you.
Here is what you need to do if you are facing any data loss situation and want to get back your data :
Professional Data Recovery Software – This works best in following data loss situations :
1. Deleted Data loss
2. Formatted hard drive data loss
3. Crashed Operating system data loss
4. Accidental partition deletion data loss
In many cases where the hard drive is functioning, but you are not able to see your data. You can try a professional data recovery software to recover your data. Read more and download our Data Recovery Software
Professional Data Recovery Service – This solution works best in all data loss situations. However specifically if your hard drive becomes dead and is not responding, you can rely upon professionals for data recovery. Stellar Data Recovery provides professional data recovery.