10 Tips to Help You Maintain Your Hard Drive

Tips to Keep Your Computer Hard Drive HealthyComputers rank at the top of the most valued pieces of equipment for any business.

Professionals rely on their computer’s hard drives to maintain productivity, store important data, and communicate with customers.

Computer problems interrupt work flow by interfering with employee productivity by shutting down their work day. Not only does this create a backlog in work, it results in loss of profit, or even to a loss of potential customers.

There are definitely consequences if a hard drive fails.  Businesses have no choice but to implement a few preventative measures to minimize the chances of it happening prematurely. The good news is that businesses can maintain their computer’s health without involving too much time or resources.

Follow these 10 tips to maintain hard drive performance:

Think twice before installing or downloading software

Computers may start acting funny after installing a computer program downloaded from the Internet. Each software installation requires hard drive space, or may contain a virus or malware.

The more programs you install, the less space the computer has.  Although your computer uses memory to run programs, it also uses the hard drive to help decrease the load times.  If your hard drive is full, it will definitely slow down the computer.

Install software that applies to business operations

IT departments have blocked everyone from downloading software programs for a reason.  Downloading software programs from the Internet without scanning them for viruses is a dangerous practice, and it can cripple a business in minutes.

Whether you’re in the office or using your personal computer, be sure to use a reputable anti-virus program and firewall to manage incoming traffic and access to the PC.It’s a good rule of thumb to only install trustworthy programs that will help business operations.

Everything else should go onto a miscellaneous computer used for testing programs.  By isolating new programs on a computer off the main network, you will protect the company while still allowing your employees to test programs that may benefit the company down the road.

Update the operating system

By updating your operating system, you are ensuring that you have critical updates to make your system run better, and eliminate issues that could ultimately cause hard drive failure.Most businesses use Microsoft Windows as their primary operating system.

Microsoft Windows allows users to update the operating system on a regular basis by accessing the “Windows Update” on their computer- and in most cases, this can be updated automatically.

Remove unnecessary programs

Delete unwanted programs every few months. Unused and unnecessary programs waste valuable hard-drive space. If the business does not plan to use them, then remove them using the “Add/Remove” feature in the Control Panel of the operating system. Removing unnecessary programs also makes your desktop easier to navigate.

Defragment the hard drive

The hard drive works hard to keep the computer functional. In fact, it is the hardest-working component. It’s very difficult to access stored files if the hard drive crashes and usually impossible, depending on the situation.Unfortunately, the hard drive does not save files in any particular order.

It uses the first empty space available, which includes the space created after deleting files. This scatters data across the hard drive, making it harder to access stored data, which slows the computer down considerably.

As a result, it becomes necessary to defragment the hard drive on a regular basis to keep the computer running as quickly as possible. Businesses should defragment all computer hard drives on a weekly basis.

Clean in and around the physical machine

Computer hardware needs two things to ensure that it lasts longer than it’s expected lifetime: airflow to prevent overheating, and to have it’s components free of dust and debris.  It’s important to make sure your computer is cleaned thoroughly regularly to keep it working properly.

Businesses who stack piles of paper in front of their air vents or place the computer under their desk will eventually need to call a tech guy to fix an overheated hard drive. Ensure that the computer runs properly by uncovering the air vents.

In addition, if your computer is filled with dust that is choking off the fans or mechanisms, it’s going to overheat, and components are going to fail.  Be sure to clean on and around your computer, and use compressed air to keep dust and other debris from causing a problem.

Maintain computer security

When it comes to computers of any kind, you need to prepare for the worst- especially for a business.  Use a solid backup plan  to secure important data. Many businesses can make copies and transfer important data to a central server or external hard drive or create backups using a cloud service. The sky is the limit when it comes to security.

Keep static at bay

Static electricity will wreak havoc on computer components. To a computer, it’s like a lightning strike. This is especially true during the winter months or in geographical regions with drier air.  If even the slightest touch to metal around you produces a “shock,” then it’s best to avoid handling computer components altogether.

This also applies for other surfaces that produce static electricity, including televisions, stereo speakers, and other household appliances. Static electricity can be a killer for your computer.  Be sure to touch something that’s metal before you touch your computer just in case.

Utilize the power save and sleep modes 

Businesses should configure their operating systems to power off after a specific amount of time. Windows 7 already has a feature that turns off the hard drive after twenty minutes of inactivity. The less time your hard drive is running, the longer it will last over the lifetime of the drive.

Adding a minute or two here or there will prolong the life of the hard drive significantly.  Using Sleep mode makes it easier to return back to work without having to reboot the computer. It also prolongs the life of the hard drive.

Don’t Wait- Have a Backup Plan Implemented- and Use It!

You should always have a backup of your data. If that is not true for you and you fear that your drive does not have a lot of life left then time is of the essence. Create a backup of the data immediately, then store it on a secondary drive or upload it to a cloud storage service.

If you don’t have something for your business but are looking for a solution, we have professionals that can guide you to the service that might work best for you or your business.  You have several options at your disposal:

  • Cloud Storage – Online storage of records. This is commonly known as cloud storage or cloud backup. Your documents can be maintained on our servers to prevent the need to maintain your own server farm.
  • Disaster Data Recovery – Good practice for data recovery mandates that you keep a copy of your data in a secondary location. Your data can be backed up on physical media and taken to our media vault or it may be saved using a cloud backup service.

Any of these options will help keep you protected from an unexpected failure- don’t wait until it happens to make a change!

If you have questions, fill out the form to the right or just give us a call at (866) 385-3706.  Our experts will help you find a service that’s exactly what you’re looking for.