Hard Drive Maintenance

Everyone bandies the term "Hard Drive" around, but do you really know much about this piece of hard equipment that operates your PC? Do you know how to keep it healthy?

A hard drive, aka hard disk drive, is the device that writes data, that is, stores data on rotating plates with magnetic surfaces. When you issue a command to your computer, the data is retrieved and viewable.


One of the routine tasks you should do to keep your hard drive healthy is to defrag it on a regular schedule. This is another of those tasks you should make a habit. It's easy to do since you can schedule the task to run at the same time on a frequency you select.

Why defrag? Fragmentation occurs when your operating system breaks a file into pieces because there is not enough space on the storage device where the file was originally saved.

Your computer system keeps a record of where the different pieces of the file are stored. This is done by using a FAT or File Allocation Table. A similar file system is NTFS.

When you retrieve the file again, the operating system queries the file system (FAT, NTFS, or other) to locate all the different pieces of the file.

Defragmentation, or defrag for short, is the process of scanning the file system and rejoining the split files. It's rather like gathering all the pieces together and lining them up next to each other.

Your computer system tools has the defrag app. Use it because it's one of the easiest ways to increase your PC's performance.

Takeaway Truth

A stitch in time saves nine, and a little time spent taking care of your computer saves a lot of bucks down the road.


  1. Computers are especially good at repetitive tasks that don't require complicated decisions. It takes a little while to defrag your hard drive, and it takes a little while to back up your data - but they need not be your time.

    Schedule your drives to be defragged while you're asleep. Install a second hard drive, and back up your first hard drive to the second every night while you're asleep.

    Backups to a second hard drive won't help in case of fire or theft, but that's not usually the problem - and given the low price of hard drives and the high price of brain cells, this is a must.

  2. One important thing that a lot of people don’t know is that vibrations could have an effect on the hard drive’s performance. It affects the alignment of the drive head which may lead to slow operation, and at times causes errors. You should avoid placing your computer near the speakers to prevent it from possible damage.