Wondrous Hard Drives But the advance of technology over the years has forced the computer hard drive to change form and speed. Today, all consumers, be it a personal user or a commercial enterprise, use the hard drive in some form or the other. In 1989, Disklabs launched an initiative to educate the consumer about the hard drive. The culmination of this effort can be listed in the features of a hard drive:

  • Physically robust
  • Large storage space
  • Reliable
  • Lends itself to archiving
  • Has a finite lifespan of three?five years but can be stretched to six-eight years with proper maintenance and usage
  • Prone to data loss as it is highly susceptible to temperature variations, movement and dust or bacteria
  • Prone to virus attacks and man-made disasters of terrorism
  • Lends itself to data loss through electrical spikes
  • Easily accessible ? can be easily recycled and sold by vendors
  • Equipped with inbuilt cooling systems of ventilation
  • Fragile disk interior with magnetic glass platters which are capable of spinning at high speeds
  • Interior disk is composed of micro electron particles which are charged with electricity

Thus, hard drive does form the nerve and pulse of computer data storage but their situation is doubtful. They suffer from many disadvantages and require the user to undertake optimal care and maintenance of the drive. Many times, the drive simply stops spinning or functioning due to an external natural or man-made disaster, or due to information overload. This usually happens in the case of old used hard drives which slow down after three years of prolonged use. It could also happen when the user uses recycled drives which already contain residual data and are, therefore, unable to save further data. Another reason could also be due to surface contamination. This could occur due to temperature variations including overexposure to light, heat and humidity. Research reveals that the drive?s magnetic layers simply dissolve in high level of heat or humidity. Sometimes, the drive stops spinning due to overheating. The user has to practise caution lest the tips of the magnetic platters collide causing a head disk crash.

Hard drives also fail when there is a controller failure. In other words, a hard drive experiences controller failure when an error message flashes across the computer screen during computer booting. Controller failures commonly occur when:

  • CMOS battery fails
  • Accidental user intervention leading to the saving of incorrect data in the CMOS setup
  • Adaptor is not firmly plugged into electrical slot
  • Hard drive or the motherboard corrupts or is damaged
  • Due to non- connectivity or non-installation of the hard disk drive
  • Hard disk drive cable wires have been twisted and broken
  • Master Boot Record or the partition tables in the driver become distorted or bent out of shape
  • Due to improper connection of the IDE drive
  • When the IDE drives i.e. the twin master and slave drive, are incompatible with each other

In short, a user has to undertake proper maintainence steps for the longevity and optimal functioning of the hard drive.

Movement: Movement including scratches, jars and pushes could successfully ruin a hard drive?s ability to save. To ensure faultless working of the drive i.e. an extended lifespan — proper location care becomes extremely vital. Usually, drives, whether inputted in the computer or archived in a storage library, should be kept stationary. In short, there should be minimal movement of any kind. Movement usually causes the alignment of the drive to become fragmented.


  • Avoid holidaying with your hard drive
  • Try not to expose the drive to extreme heat, light and humidity
  • Keep the drive away from pets to avoid urination and chewing
  • Avoid prolonged usage of the drive
  • Try to constantly cool the hard drive by keeping it below high-speed fans
  • Always keep the hard drive dust-free by dusting it with a soft and dry tissue cloth.

Always run Scandisk and Defrag computer applications periodically to clean the internal magnetic structure of the drive. In addition, the two applications check for errors ? logical and software errors.
Defragment your hard drive once a month to avoid hard drive failures and for easy data access.
Installation of good virus protection programs such as McAfee or Norton to prevent hard drive failures from virus contamination

By pauline