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How to Prevent Hard Drive Crashes and Corrupt Data

Nobody wants their hard drive to crash but it is a statistical fact of life. While there are millions upon millions of hard drives out there, the slim probability of disk crash this huge number creates won’t ease the headache you’ll suffer if it is YOUR hard drive that crashes. Besides throwing off your schedule and being a general hassle, hard disk crashes can be quite expensive. Data recovery is not cheap nor is it fast. Here are some proven simple steps you can take to prevent hard drive crashes. We also wrote these tips with an eye towards helping make your data’s recovery easier.

Defrag early, defrag often enough

If your OS has a defrag feature otherwise get one from the disk defragmentation software directory, make sure to use it at least once or twice a month. Defrag reorganizes otherwise randomly scatterred data in a way that makes them easier for your hard drive to process. Defrag merely moves data around and places them in more accessible/easier to manage locations. This practice also makes data recovery much easier should your hard drive crash.

An Antivirus scan a day can keep data corruption away

There are two major reasons for hard drive crashes: hardware malfunctions/wear and tear and/or software corruption. Outside of defragging, there’s really not much you can do about mechanical failures. Indeed, hard drives are rated in terms of MTBF (mean time before failure) so mechanical failure, albeit statistically getting more remote, is a fact of life. However, you can do a lot to prevent software data corruption. Keep your antivirus security updated and run regular scans. Virus and malware infections can result in data corruption and this can harm your hard drive’s software settings.

Delete unnecessary or junk files

Another way to prevent data corruption is to delete unnecesary stored files on your computer. The most common example of this is cached web content that your Internet browser stores to enable a smoother browser/web surfing experience. This data piles up quickly and might lead to data corruption. The same goes for browser cookies.

Keep your OS and driver software updated at all times

It is not unusual to suffer data corruption due to out of date OS and driver software. If your OS supports automated updates, we strongly suggest you turn on this feature. The same goes for your PC maker’s driver database. Sometimes, miscommunication or incompatibility (due to version conflicts) between these and other pieces of software can lead to data corruption.

Back up often across many media

It is always a good idea to back up your data. You just never know what will happen regardless of how up to date your OS, drivers, and installed applications are. Don’t just back up to CDs. It is very possible that one of the disks might be bad or might go bad. Back up to USB flash drives and/or external hard drives as well. Having a reference back up also helps the data recovery process since it establishes base data that can be “patched up” by recovered data. In this situation, having a back up means you won’t have to start from nothing.

The most expensive part of your computer is NOT the physical hardware. It is the data, your holiday pictures, movies, articles or other personal things. Data takes a long time to accumulate and is a product of specific situations. Usually, this material cannot be replicated easily. Protect yourself from the headache and expense of painful data recovery by following the simple data protection “best practices” outline above.