What Can I Do to Prevent My Computer’s Hard Drive from Failing?

Computers and other devices rely on hard drives to store and access information. For most consumers, the hard drive is where all information is stored on a device. Hard drives are worked very hard in their life and inevitably fail over time.

Scott Wright, Product Manager at Toshiba Storage Products Business Unit, says, “Today’s magnetic disk and solid-state storage devices are well engineered for the rigors of consumer use.” The hard drives are built for consumer abuse, but there are some steps you can take to ensure that your hard drive lasts as long as it can. In many cases, manufacturers will have recommendations for your computer handling and storage. These recommendations should be followed to help your hard drive remain functional. If for some reason you can’t find these recommendations, here are some basic items you can do to prevent your hard drive from failing.

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Defragment Regularly

As hard drives stores information for your computer it often creates, moves and removes data. The data that is moved can create different types of fragmentation. Fragmentation of data on a hard drive is bad because it make a hard drives work harder. Fragmentation of data happens naturally because of the movement of the data with use. Defragmentation programs are installed on every PC, they are used to help consolidate and prevent fragmentation of data on a hard drive. Running a defragmentation process will make the hard drive work less. Many computers already have defragmentation regularity scheduled to help keep a hard drive healthy, but it is always good to check and make sure it is running.

Power Management

Power management is especially important for a hard drive to stay healthy. Though today it is fairly common to keep your computer or laptop on for easy use, you might notice that computers “sleep”. The sleep function on computers is actually necessary for more than just keeping the energy bill down. The power management of the sleep function on computers also allows for a hard drive to rest. This is a very easy way to lengthen the life of your hard drive because it will not be running as hard as long.

Another important consideration for power management is how you are powering your computer. Make sure you have an uninterrupted power source will help the hard drive not have electrical surges or loss of power to avoid a common cause of some errors. It is often recommended to use a surge protector or UPS to ensure the power to your computer is consistent and unaffected by a surge or power loss.


As our computers and devices become more and more mobile, we forget that hard drives are easily affected by high temperatures. Keeping your computer operating in a cool, well ventilated place will lengthen the life of your hard drive. It is recommended to try and keep your computer/hard drive out of direct sunlight and not in a enclosed space so air can move freely. Having an enclosure for your computer will create higher temperatures and, without good air flow, will trap dirt and dust inside your computer.

Careful Handling

Though it should go without saying, proper handling the device will affect the life of a hard drive in your computer. Hard drives are fragile devices that, if handled to aggressively too often, will affect the hard drive. If you happen to be a laptop user, take care not to drop or impact the device too often. Like Scott Wright said, the hard drives today are able to take the rigors of consumer use, but excess ware could reduce the life of your hard drive.

Also, make sure you are properly shutting your computer down. If you too often just “pull the plug” you may also be reducing the life of your hard drive. Similar to a external hard drive, the sudden power downs will take it’s toll over time and may result in a loss of data.

When All Else Fails

Unfortunately, hard drives all have an expiration date. The above tips will only help to lengthen that expiration before it fails. If your hard drive fails there may be vital or important data that you want to get recovered. Luckily, there are data recovery experts to help you retrieve that information and get you back on track. If you have suffered a hard drive failure of any sort give DataTech Labs ® a call at (888) 288-3282 or submit a case so we can take care of your hard drive FAST!