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How to Protect a Hard Drive and Keep it From Failing Early

Published on 19 December 17
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Ideally you probably want your hard drive to survive to a ripe old age rather than having it fail early and have to replace it. To accomplish that you should try to keep it well-maintained, and part of that involves protecting it from various risks that could cause issues or damage it.

In order to protect your hard drive, there are a few areas in particular that you should look at:

  • Surge protector

Try to make sure whatever power source your hard drive is connected to has a surge protector, of if it is an internal hard drive the computer should be connected to a surge protector. Because hard drives electronic components, an errant surge could damage those components and cause it to fail.

  • Cooling system

If you aren’t careful the heat within your computer can quickly build up and it will affect your hard drive. The exact range of temperature that hard drives can operate within tends to vary by quite a bit, which is why in general you should try to keep the temperature as low as possible and ensure your computer and hard drive is properly cooled. It is worth noting that if you’re using fans to cool your hard drive it is important that you clean out any dust that may accumulate at the vents and reduce the effectiveness of the cooling system.

  • Secure housing

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you should make sure that your hard drive is housed securely and all the screws are fastened tightly so that it doesn’t shake or jostle. Often damage to hard drive is caused by bumps that take place while the hard drive is spinning, and causes physical damage to the plate itself that is irreversible and likely to get worse over time.

  • Power save feature

In most modern operating systems there is a power save feature that will automatically switch off your computer and turn off your hard drives after a certain duration of inactivity. The reason this is important is because while your hard drives are turned on they are continuously running, and that will affect their lifespan. By using the power save feature your hard drives will run less, and that can protect them quite a bit in some cases.

Make no mistake your hard drive isn’t going to last forever no matter how much you protect it, but by taking care of the areas listed above you could extend its lifespan – maybe even by a few years. If nothing else it should ensure that your hard drive isn’t likely to suddenly fail out of the blue, and instead will gradually degrade and provide you with warning signs when it does.

Of course if for any reason your hard drive does fail, there are still options you can pursue in terms of hard drive recovery. Depending on the cause of the failure you may even be able to retrieve most of your data from your hard drive – but you should still make it a point to back it up, just in case.



Ideally you probably want your hard drive to survive to a ripe old age rather than having it fail early and have to replace it. To accomplish that you should try to keep it well-maintained, and part of that involves protecting it from various risks that could cause issues or damage it.

In order to protect your hard drive, there are a few areas in particular that you should look at:

  • Surge protector


Try to make sure whatever power source your hard drive is connected to has a surge protector, of if it is an internal hard drive the computer should be connected to a surge protector. Because hard drives electronic components, an errant surge could damage those components and cause it to fail.

  • Cooling system


If you aren’t careful the heat within your computer can quickly build up and it will affect your hard drive. The exact range of temperature that hard drives can operate within tends to vary by quite a bit, which is why in general you should try to keep the temperature as low as possible and ensure your computer and hard drive is properly cooled. It is worth noting that if you’re using fans to cool your hard drive it is important that you clean out any dust that may accumulate at the vents and reduce the effectiveness of the cooling system.

  • Secure housing


It may seem like a no-brainer, but you should make sure that your hard drive is housed securely and all the screws are fastened tightly so that it doesn’t shake or jostle. Often damage to hard drive is caused by bumps that take place while the hard drive is spinning, and causes physical damage to the plate itself that is irreversible and likely to get worse over time.

  • Power save feature


In most modern operating systems there is a power save feature that will automatically switch off your computer and turn off your hard drives after a certain duration of inactivity. The reason this is important is because while your hard drives are turned on they are continuously running, and that will affect their lifespan. By using the power save feature your hard drives will run less, and that can protect them quite a bit in some cases.

Make no mistake your hard drive isn’t going to last forever no matter how much you protect it, but by taking care of the areas listed above you could extend its lifespan – maybe even by a few years. If nothing else it should ensure that your hard drive isn’t likely to suddenly fail out of the blue, and instead will gradually degrade and provide you with warning signs when it does.

Of course if for any reason your hard drive does fail, there are still options you can pursue in terms of hard drive recovery. Depending on the cause of the failure you may even be able to retrieve most of your data from your hard drive – but you should still make it a point to back it up, just in case.

This blog is listed under IT Security & Architecture Community

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