Although cloud storage systems are gaining ground as a place where we store part of our digital life, local storage continues to dominate, whether in internal / external hard disk format or USB / SSD memory. Except catastrophe, one is confident that the useful life of our hard disks is high enough to be unconcerned. But in reality, for one reason or another it is not so.
That an internal or external hard disk (even SSD) fails and we start to worry about how to recover the information are multiple. But it is in our hand to take simple and easy precautions. Take note of the tips, tricks and instructions to prevent a hard disk from crashing or crashing and we may lose valuable information.
Tips to care for a hard drive and improve its life
Classic hard drive, USB stick or SSD, the appearance of these units sometimes transmit us that they are immune to everything that happens to them. But it’s not like that. The lifespan of a hard drive is not eternal but we can take into account a series of actions and care that will help us maintain a good hard drive, either the computer or any external model.
The most basic thing would be to make sure that the components are of quality. Here we refer first to the hard drive but we should not limit ourselves to this element alone. A common failure in the hard disk has to do with the power supply, so we should make sure the quality and suitability of the power supply of our desktop computer.
Also it is necessary to avoid that cuts in the feeding cause failures in the hard disk, and for that nothing better than protection strips or better, SAIs that perform a key work to maintain in good condition the hard disk.
If we are working with a tower-type desktop computer, taking care of where and how the hard disk is placed will not take time. The mechanics should adopt a horizontal position, which are well anchored and protected against vibrations. If we can also avoid being surrounded by other elements or cables that damage its ventilation and cause it to work at more temperature than adequate, much better.
The cleaning of the components is key and in a mechanical hard disk is perhaps even more, so that it does not accumulate dust or foreign elements. And do not forget that static electricity is one of the natural enemies of electronic components.
As in the case of the internal hard drives, in the external units we must make sure that the cables are in good condition and correctly connected. And also to avoid falls, more common since they are usually placed on the table or shelves, as well as place it in places that at certain moments can offer extreme temperature conditions.
Taking care of the hard disk to avoid failure not only includes physical tasks but also at the software level. The most immediate is the defragmentation, available to all users through the tool that includes Windows, and that not only can improve the performance of the computer but also reduce the accumulation of elements that facilitate some failures that can cause us to not Access the information that contains a hard disk.
Do not forget to also enable in your computer modes that put the hard disk to rest when not being used so that we can scratch the life of its most delicate components while saving energy.
Know the state of your disk and get ahead of the bug
In addition to the care / maintenance of the hard drive, most of the current hard disks let us simply know their status to anticipate a possible failure. If we are able to detect it, we can start a recovery process or make a new backup in case it has not done so in a while.
Hard disks have for years called the so-called SMART technology. With it, the hard disks themselves have the tools and information they need to monitor themselves for possible errors of a different type. These errors can be corrected by themselves or notified to the user to take the necessary measures.
In our case we will take advantage of that information that SMART technology provides us to, through programs such as Crystal Disk Info, track the status of the hard drive. This application, free, gives us varied information of the state of the hard disk, among them data of the temperature of the hard disk, hours of operation … The best is the simple color code with which to know the state of the hard disk In every moment. You do not have to be looking at it all the time but every now and then. The moment you move to a risk mode and there is possibility of problems coming, we will be able to start or accelerate the solutions that we have.
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Think about where you keep the most valuable data
Given the many options that exist today to have our most valuable information stored physically and offline, there is a general recommendation that you should keep in mind: do not keep the information in one place or in any other place.
Since hard drives often suffer a lot from drops, bumps and vibrations , especially if that hard drive is currently in operation, you should have the most valuable information on equipment that you displacer little. If you do it on a computer, better be on the desktop than on the laptop, which will be more times moving and of course more exposed to a fall, vibrations or accidents.
If we prefer to use external solutions, better to have backups on NAS or desktop disks than on external portable. If in spite of everything you need to move valuable information often, do not forget that there are external solutions specially designed to withstand falls, bumps, high temperatures or even water. For example we have Lacie Rugged solutions with capacity up to 4 TB or Transcend USB 3.0 and with 1 TB from 70 euros.
Make a backup of our hard drive
In technology, surprises we want the minimum. So in the case of hard drives, it is best to prevent. If our hard disk is about to fail or we want to minimize the problems in case of catastrophe, we should be prepared to overcome without more damage than the physical.
The best recommendation we must make to avoid losing valuable information on a hard drive is to make backup copies. With the affordable price of hard drives, in all its modalities, from internal to external, is an action that requires not much investment or time for what can lead in case of catastrophe with the main hard disk where we usually store personal information , Work or multimedia files.
To make a backup we can choose to do it manually by periodically storing files that we do not want to lose on an external hard drive, for example. This method is very common for photographs or personal documents, but today there are software solutions even integrated into the operating system that makes it much easier for that task.
In Windows, we have programs as free as Paragon or also payment, but the tool that includes Windows 10 will serve us perfectly, as it is the most complete that has ever been in this operating system. With it the user can make copies of individual files which to restore in different previous versions, of specific parts or of the whole system completely.
In Mac the realization and management of backups has been integrated in a very intuitive way with Time Machine for years. Just plug in a hard drive and tell us where and when we want to create backups.
In all or some of these backup solutions, we will require a second hard drive where we store the information. The most affordable is to have an external portable or desktop disk for both manual and automatic copies (usually the brands of those hard drives have pre-installed software to automate such backups, such as WD Smartware), but also There is the option of having a NAS (or the alternative of a networked hard drive, with its advantages and disadvantages) where it is even possible to automate the backup of the backup. For about 170 euros that costs the DS215j Diskstation we can begin to live in a world where our data are protected automatically and simply.