Computers have become such an important part of our daily lives, and with some much time invested in your files they're certainly worth protecting. Hard drive corruption is something we all want to avoid so here are a few handy tips to keep your hard drive fit and healthy.
1. Always shut it down properly.
Whether you have an internal or external hard drive, you should always use your computer's procedures to completely shut down the hard drive before disconnecting it. Every hard drive contains a series of directory files that indicate where on the drive data is stored. System crashes, blackouts, sudden disconnections and other rough use can corrupt these critical catalogues, preventing a computer from locating your files.
To avoid corrupting these files on internal hard drives, make sure you shut down the computer using the on-screen controls before unplugging the computer from the power or turning off the computer's power switch.
For external drives, ensure you disconnect the drive using the USB devices control in the Windows taskbar or by using the eject button in the Finder on Mac OS X. Wait for the computer to shut down its connections to the device before disconnecting the hard drive's USB or Firewire cable.
2. Keep the viruses away.
Computer viruses can cause your hard drives data loss. They have the ability to corrupt your disk formatting, erase files and fragment data. It's important to avoid suspicious websites and not to open email attachments from unknown senders. Keeping a reliable and up-to-date anti-virus program running on your computer at all times will detect risks that come in from the internet, emails and CDs and block them before they have a chance to get their way into your HDD. If a virus does get in and crash your hard drive, then a professional data recovery service can often help.
3. Defragment your hard drive every few months.
As you use your computer, the data that is contained in a file can spread out all over the hard drive disk. This fragmentation forces the drive head to increase its movement across the drive as it tries to access your data. By defragmenting your disk you will minimise the drive head's movement, increase the life of the drive and speed up your computer. It's a win for you and your hard drive! Defragmentation tools can be found in System Tools on Microsoft Windows.
4. Watch out for magnetic items near your computer.
Modern hard drives store data on a magnetic surface which can be easily corrupted by outside magnets or strong magnetic fields. If you use anything around your computer with a strong magnetic field it's best to keep them well away from your hard drive to avoid accidental corruption and data loss.Keep this in mind when using a laptop as well.
5. Use a surge protector.
Surge protectors are an easy an affordable way to prevent damage to your hard drives and computer from unexpected power spikes. Power surges are often caused by lightning and can damage the delicate components within a computer. Surge protectors are available from your local electronics store and will stop a surge before it reaches your computer.
Sometimes data corruption is unavoidable, and if it happens to you a professional data recovery service will often be able to rebuild and recover your files.