When you use a desktop or laptop, taking care of hardware components is a prerequisite. This is applicable regardless of what purpose you use the PC for- media consumption or image editing. The hard disk is the lifeblood of your PC- it is where your data as well as the OS is stored. Without the HDD in shape, you cannot expect the PC to run smoothly. There are some basic preventive steps that you can take to prolong lifespan of the Hard disk in your PC. It does not require you to be very tech savvy or invest in costly apparatus as such!
Methods that ensure the hard disk of your PC has a long life
To ensure you can prolong lifespan of the HDD in your PC, it is important to understand factors that can shorten its life and affect performance.
- Preventing Physical Damage – Unless you are using a SSD, your Hard disk has rotational parts. Such HDDs tend to be more fragile and susceptible to shocks that can happen from drops and bumps. To ensure your desktop or laptop HDD does not receive damage, ensure accidental kicks and bumps do not happen. Laptop hard disks tend to be robust and some of them have shock protection mechanism. However, you should be cautious when moving laptops when they are on.
- Preventing Overheating – No matter how cheap or expensive your PC is, it will heat up when used. Excessive heat can shorten your hard disk’s life to an extent. The overheating can occur when your laptop’s heat vents get blocked or there is not enough airflow inside the desktop cabinet, etc. It is good if you use the computer in an air conditioned room but that may not be the case at all times! You can resort to alternative methods to ensure the computer and HDD does not get overheated though. Installing extra fans in the cabinet and using laptop cooling pads can help in this context. Do not put the laptop on beds directly as it can block vents and heat up the chassis.
You can also use HDD health and status checking utilities. There are a few such free and paid apps that let you keep a tab on HDD health and temperature. If the HDD temperature exceeds safe limits, the app will pop alerts and sound alarms.
- Preventing Fragmentation – While a fragmented hard disk does not necessarily affect the health of the device, it affects your computing experience. Eventually, the HDD requires working harder to locate all bits of fragmented data. It leads to augmented wear and tear. So, you should use HDD defragmenting utilities. Windows ships with an integrated tool, but you can also pick from a wide range of HDD tweaking and defragmentation utility. Some, such tools also ship with scheduler, taking the burden off your shoulders. Defragmentation helps speed up multitasking and general computing.
- Safeguarding From Power Surges – Both at home or office, voltage fluctuations and power surges can happen. The worse thing is sometimes you may not understand these are taking place. If your hard disk is used in a place where power surges take place quite often, it can get damaged earlier than you expect. Sometimes, a heavy power surge can render your HDD unusable. It makes sense to invest in a surge protector strip. These devices do not cost a lot and they can be carried in your laptop bag as well.
What about the SSDs?
There is no denying with time SSDs are becoming more commonplace everywhere. They are faster than rotational Hard disks. The cost is used to be a factor, but with time, the steep price is coming down. It will still take some time before SSDs can be seen in budget PCs and laptops, as it is. Sadly, the aforementioned HDD care tips are largely inapplicable for a SSD. However, using a power surge protector is beneficial for any hard disk, eventually.
Summing it up
Taking care of the hard disk in your PC is not cumbersome as such. You need to take some preventive steps to make sure the HDD keeps running smoothly over the years. This will help you avoid hardware problems and loss of important data in the long run.