As a designer, you probably don’t realize the importance of your hard drive until it is ruined or hacked or broken. You think of this essential piece of hardware as a peripheral aspect of your work because you are so focused on the functionality of your software.
As a result, if you hear your hard drive making unusual sounds, it’s merely annoying because it’s getting in the way of your work.
You’re preoccupied by the idea of beautiful web construction, perhaps fascinated by the idea of finding the right template for a website or on a passionate quest to discover the perfect color scheme for your client’s virtual real estate.
You’re lost in a world of aesthetic creativity with little room for practical considerations.
As a result, you might ignore those unusual whirs, clicks, or grinds coming from your hard drive. It’s a warning sign. If you let it go too long because you want to get all your work done to meet your deadline, it might crash completely. At that point, you will need a hard drive data recovery service to reclaim your precious work.
Some Warning Signs
Unusual sounds coming from your hard drive are not the only warning signs you might get.
Here are a few more:
1. Files disappear or don’t open because they have become corrupted
One or both of occurrences indicate that the head of the hard drive is breaking down. As a result, the hard drive can’t read or write information correctly.
2. Your computer slows to a crawl
A slow computer is not always an indication of problems with your hard drive.
It could be malware. Run your antivirus scan and clean up your computer. However, if after a brief spurt in performance, your computer slows down again, you know it’s not malware.
It could also be due to a problem with your ISP and you’re not getting as much connection speed because of many people getting online at the same time in your neighborhood or a problem with a tower. However, you can rule this option out if you also notice the same performance issues when you’re working offline.
However, once you can eliminate all possible reasons for your computer slowing down, then it could be your hard drive. There is some damage to the spindle or head.
3. An eerie silence
If you can usually hear the gentle hum of your hard drive but then notice that it becomes unusually quiet, the disks might not be spinning up, which suggests imminent electronic failure.
Ideally, you should do a backup, but if your hard drive is at a critical point, the next best thing is to shut down your computer and take it in for service. While you can still recover your data even if the hard drive collapses completely, it’s much easier to do it if it is still in some type of working condition.
Naturally, things don’t have to get to this critical point at all if you take protective steps to keep your hard drive in good working condition.
How to Protect Your Hard Drive
The worst thing that could happen to your computer is sudden amnesia. This is what happens when your computer’s hard drive crashes. Fortunately, prevention is fairly simple.
1. Treat your laptop with TLC
If you have a laptop, be sure to always protect it with a good bag when traveling and place it gently down when you use it. Also, avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or damp conditions.
2. Backup your data
In the early days of computing, backing up required you to copy all your files to another disk. This manual method was time consuming. Nowadays, you can use an automated backup system that does it for you at a scheduled time.
3. Avoid a hard drive hijack
The way to protect your hard drive from a remote hacker is to use passwords and set up data encryption. A secure password will prevent a malicious program from getting into your hard drive while encryption will make it difficult for anyone who gets in to read your data.
4. Take time to defrag your computer
What is defragging? Here is a brief description from Microsoft:
“Disk defragmentation is the process of consolidating fragmented data on a volume (such as a hard disk or a storage device) so it will work more efficiently. Fragmentation happens to a volume over time as you save, change, or delete files. The changes that you save to a file are often stored in a different place on the volume than the original file. This doesn’t change where the file appears in Windows—only where the bits of information that make up the file are stored on the actual volume. Over time, both the file and the volume itself become fragmented, and your computer slows down as it has to look in different places to open a single file.”
An Amazing Device
A modern hard drive is amazing. It can hold terabytes of data and pull up the information you need so seamlessly that you don’t even think about it.
Yet despite this marvelous precision, it is still only a mechanical device. It has read and write heads that hover over spinning platters. The data on these platters is stored through magnetic charges.
Since it’s mechanical, it can fail. Simple maintenance steps are a good idea.