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Keeping Your Hard Drive in Good Condition

Monday, March 9th, 2009 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

Hard drives are one of the most important components of the computer system. A general unmonitored hard drive has a life term of about three to five years. A hard drive may fail without any prior warning, leading to the loss of all the data on the disk. And that’s exactly why it’s so important to keep your hard drive in good condition. This tutorial will guide you through all the steps you can use to improve the health of your hard drive. Here we go!

Step 1: Check the Drive for Errors

1.) Go to Start, My Computer.

2.) Right click on the C: drive and choose Properties.

3.) Under the Tools tab, click on the Check Now button.

4.) Check both the disk options and then click on the Start menu.

5.) If a prompt for a restart appears, choose Yes.

6.) Windows will then restart, check and repair any corrupted files on your drive.

Step 2: Convert the File System of Your Drive to NTFS without Losing Any Data

Windows uses either the NTFS or FAT 32 file system to maintain the records of all your files. The main advantage of NTFS is if your system crashes, the NTFS file system is capable of automatically fixing any problems that may arise. It’s also capable of detecting and isolating bad sectors on your hard drive automatically. Those same features are not provided with the older FAT 32 system. To make sure your computer is using NTFS, follow these steps:

1.) Go to Start, Run.

2.) Type in “cmd” and then press Enter.

3.) When the prompt window opens, type “convert j: /fs:ntfs,” assuming you’re converting drive J. (If step 1 is not performed, the conversion may fail, so please follow all the steps sequentially).

Step 3: Defragment the Drive

As files are copied to and deleted from the hard drive, a process called fragmentation starts to affect performance and stability. Large files are scattered all over the drive and the drive has to work harder to locate all the different fragments. Therefore, the hard components have to cover the entire drive very quickly, just to access a single file. As a result, the hard drive’s life is shortened.

To overcome that problem, a utility called the disk defragmenter is provided with Windows. Here’s how to use the disk defragmenter utility:

1.) Go to Start, My Computer.

2.) Right click on the C: drive and select Properties.

3.) Under the Tools tab, click on Defragment Now.

4.) Now, analyze the drive and then hit Defragment.

5.) You should do it at least once a month to keep your hard drive in its proper working condition.

Good luck!

~ Ranjith Shetty

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