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Data Loss Prevention: 10 Tips to Prevent Hard Drive Failure

Data loss can be a hugely damaging issue, especially if it happens within a business. Not only do you lose your data, but it will also impact your finances due to the downtime and lack of efficiency. As such, it is important that you do everything you can to try and prevent your hard drives from failing. This article will present a list of ten tips so you can better protect your data.

1. Back up all your data
There is a reason this is at the top of the list. It is, without a doubt, the most important thing to take note of. You need to have a backup plan in place. It needs to be regular and it needs to be secure. If possible, have multiple copies of the data taken daily – one in the cloud and one offsite, for example. Also, make sure to verify your backups (there’s nothing worse than finding out that all those backups you’ve been taking aren’t actually functional).

2. Get an Uninterruptible Power Supply
An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) will help protect your entire computer, not just your hard drive, against damaged caused by power issues such as spikes and cuts. A power shock to the hard drive could risk corrupting the data. There’s no way of predicting when a blackout might occur, so getting a UPS is one way of protecting against them.

3. Shut down properly
Make sure you turn off your external storage devices only once your computer has shut down, otherwise it could cause directory corruption. Also, power off your computer properly and don’t just flick the power switch. This could cause data corruption due to the aforementioned power shock.

4. Invest in antivirus software
An antivirus solution is always important to have, not just for preventing hard drive failure. It is possible for viruses to infect your hard drive and damage all of your data. Having a decent antivirus software (it doesn’t have to be paid) will help protect you against such infections.

5. Don’t move the drive during use
The internals of a hard drive are very delicate. In order for your data to be a read, a head floats just above a spinning platter. If you move the drive while it’s in use, the head could collide with the platter and scratch it, which could lead to data loss.

6. Provide adequate cooling
At the very least, your computer should have a fan in it to keep all the components inside cool. It’s not good for anything inside to overheat, especially the hard drive. Make sure you have enough free space inside and out of your computer so that the air can circulate and cool properly.

7. Maintain proper temperature of drive
If, for whatever reason, your drive has been in a cold environment, allow it time to warm up before operating it again. Suddenly using the drive when it’s been freezing risks damaging your data.

8. Listen out for odd noises
A mechanical failing of the drive will produce a clicking sound from the drive. If you hear anything strange coming from inside your computer, backup all your data and power off immediately. The clicking noise is a sign your hard drive is failing and will likely die soon.

9. Dust out your computer
The inside of a computer case can get very dusty over time, so it’s advisable to open up your case every once in a while and give it a good dusting. Using a can of compressed air is great for this, but make sure you do it outside or in a well-ventilated area.

10. Defragment the drive
File fragmentation can cause a lot of stress on the hard drive head as it has to look all over the drive to piece your data together. Defragging your drive will put everything together and speed up file access, putting less strain on the head. However, be careful not to defrag too much as you risk shortening your drive’s lifespan.

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