Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Keep Tabs on Health of Your Hard Drive

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Keep Tabs on Health of Your Hard Drive

Article excerpt

Hard-drive failure can be devastating, particularly if it's been a while since you backed up your data. It can lead to costly data retrieval or worse: loss of data if your drive becomes completely corrupted. Don't be caught by surprise: Make it a habit to regularly run a hard drive diagnostics software tool or at least know what to do if your drive begins to show signs of imminent failure.

A traditional hard drive is similar to a DVD or - for those of us who remember them - a record player. Data is written to one or more hard disks that spin quickly; there's a read/write spindle that accesses and records data on the disk.

Physical drive failure is sometimes precluded by an audible clicking that indicates that the spindle isn't properly moving over the disk or that the disk itself is no longer spinning smoothly.

In other cases, a failing drive will lead to reported errors upon starting the computer, intermittent system crashes or unexplained "glitches."

The first step if you suspect that your drive may be failing is to backup your data. The more you use a failing drive, the more you risk the data that's stored on it becoming completely inaccessible.

For information on backing up your data, visit databackup-basics.

Even if your drive isn't showing signs of imminent death, it's a good idea to be forewarned of potential problems before they affect your productivity.

Integrate a hard drive diagnostics test into your routine maintenance, and aim to scan your disk at least a couple of times a year. The process can take several hours, so plan accordingly.

Windows XP, Vista or 7 users should run the disk-check application integrated into Windows to scan for bad sectors and run basic reliability tests. Open "My Computer" or access "Computer" via the start menu and right-click on the drive that you want to test. …

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