The hard drive – normally designated as the “C” drive – is the main form of information storage in a computer.
The computer’s operating and system files are generally stored on the hard drive, as are any saved files exclusive to the computer’s user.
These drives can corrupt and eventually become unusable. As long as the computer’s motherboard is not damaged, a new hard drive should fix the problem.
Once the new hard drive is installed, the question becomes should the user save the old hard drive?
Before You Decide: Hard Drive Basics – Storage & Use
The hard drive is a rectangular-shaped piece of hardware that is installed internally in both laptops and desktops. All computers have at least one hard drive; however, additional drives may be installed internally or externally depending on the user’s storage needs.
An internal laptop hard drive on average is approximately 0.4 inches high, 2.8 inches wide and 3.9 inches deep. An internal desktop hard drive on average is approximately 1 inch high, 4 inches wide and 5.75 inches deep. External hard drive sizes vary depending on the drive.
Hard drives are used to store information, but should not be confused with a computer’s memory. The computer’s memory is its RAM. The hard drive stores the information and the processor processes it.
The reason a hard drive might be confused with the computer’s memory is because it, too, has a certain amount of space designed to store the information.
This space is often reflected in megabytes for older drives and gigabytes for newer models. The larger the mega or gigabytes, the more space the hard drive has for storage.
Aside from its initial function of storing the computer’s operating, system and user files, hard drives are often also employed to back up the computer’s files.
Users have the option of installing a second one internally, if the mother board can support the extra hardware, or attaching an external hard drive via a USB port.
Once the extra hard drive is installed, it will need to be formatted for use. After formatting, the extra hard drive serves well to regularly back up the computer’s files.
Hard Drive Damage
As with any electronic component, the computer’s hard drive can suffer damage or eventually wear out. There are numerous reasons why a hard drive might become compromised.
If the computer unit suffers trauma, such as physical or water damage, the hard drive might cease to operate.
Electrical surges can also permanently damage a hard drive, as can computer viruses and worms.
Once the hard drive is compromised, it might not be repairable and new one must be installed into the computer to restore operation.
Data on the Old Drive
If the data on the old drive was backed up on a regular basis, and the computer user has all the software needed to reinstall the computer’s programs, losing a hard drive is not the end of the world.
If the data was not backed up, restoring the data becomes critical, and employing an expert to extract the data will most likely be necessary from a damaged hard drive.
The key is to get all data off of the old hard drive to save it onto the new one.
Necessity of Keeping the Drive
It is not necessary to keep an old drive. In fact, it’s most likely not even worth it. Along with the rest of computer technology, hard drive technology advances very quickly on a daily basis.
Anything from two to three years ago are outdated now and considered too slow for newer motherboards and processors.
Eventually the old hard drive will not be functional in a newer machine; in fact, the newer machine might damage the older hard drive.
Once the hard drive’s contents have been moved to the new hard drive, the old drive should be wiped for user protection and recycled per EPA standards.
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If you need to dispose of your drive, and want to do so safely and security, we can help! Our network of contractors that allows us to come to your location if you need to ensure a proper chain of custody, or we offer the ability to have you ship your drives to a secure facility to be destroyed.
We also provide a certificate of destruction that details when and where the hard drive was destroyed. The bits are separated into component parts and recycled.
To get started, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (800) 747-3365 for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION QUOTE IN MINUTES!