Technology: 6 Tips For Caring For Your External Hard Drive

Hard Drive plugged in to laptop
Hard Drive plugged in to laptop Image from

The digital age in which we live brings with it a huge accumulation of data not just for companies but also for individuals. The average person with a smartphone can record high-quality videos and take photos which are because of the high quality really heavy. Most people especially those who really love taking pictures and videos as well as those who download content online and have just accumulated a lot of digital stuff need that extra location to back up their data. External backup is also critical just as a safety precaution should something happen to your primary device. Enter hard drives. Few things are as scary as the realization that your external hard drive has suddenly stopped working.

1.       Avoid overloading your hard drive

A hard drive’s capacity does not then mean that it should be filled until a few mere MBs are left unoccupied. In order for a hard disk to work optimally, it should not be overloaded with data. When a hard disk overly filled it increases wear and tear which over time compromises the hard disk’s performance. Carry out a monthly review and audit of your stored data and delete what is no longer useful for you to keep.

2.       Store your hard drive correctly

One of the primary ways that hard disks get damaged is by falling. Hard disks are super sensitive and physical damage is the quickest way to render them useless. Pack them in a protective bag when travelling with them or at the very least pack them in a padded way even if it’s just covered with a thick cloth. When using them, keep the hard disk on a clean, flat and stable surface. Recovering data from a banged-up hard drive or one that is dropped is an expensive affair. Also, keep them from extreme temperatures that are too high or too low. Use them in open spaces that allow for free air circulation.

3.       Do not unplug your hard drive abruptly

Always unplug your external hard drive through the “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” option. As tedious as it sometimes to have to go the long route, resist the impulse to just pull out your hard disk. Safely ejecting it reduces the chances of corruption and eventual failure.

4.       Monitor your drive’s health

Before hard disks completely fail, they exhibit many symptoms that if addressed can prevent the slow match to hard disk failure. Monitoring the health of your drive helps identify and fix problems early. There are many free hard drive monitoring tools that can monitor and report issues that you can then proceed to fix. Here are some free hard drive testing and monitoring tools for your consideration.

5.       Do not download files directly onto your hard drive

The only store already verified safe files in your external hard disk. Do not download files directly from the internet onto your drive because you risk a virus infection and the corruption of the rest of your saved data.

6.       Back up your back up 

Mitigate the risk that comes from putting all your eggs in one basket. Always have a back-up of your back-up especially for things as precious as family videos and pictures. This second back-up should be one you do not move around or use often. It should be kept safely and away from daily use.

Keep your data and your hard disk safe by following these few guidelines. If you can afford it purchase a Solid State Drive (SSD) which is a storage technology that is more advanced than hard disk drives (HDD). They are generally more expensive but also more durable and resistant being able to withstand drops and falls that would destroy an ordinary hard disk. SSD’s are also faster, easier to carry and overall more efficient and reliable.

On the subject of caring for things, check out these 10 cybersecurity tips to keep your users safe online.

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