Regardless of whether it’s a brick and mortar office or a virtual office, a computer is a valuable piece of equipment for any business. Professionals rely on their computers to store important data, maintain productivity and communicate with clients.
Computer problems can seriously interrupt work flow, resulting in loss of productivity, loss of profit and possibly even loss of customers. Hard drive failure can be catastrophic and the loss of important data can bring a business to its knees. Imagine losing all of your customers’ information due to a hard drive failure. Fortunately, there are a few companies that can handle hard drive repair if the unthinkable ever happens.
While all hard drives eventually fail, which is why regular backups are vitally important, there are a few things you can do to maintain your hard drive and extend its life.
Listen to Your Computer
With power supplies and fans constantly running, computers can be quite noisy and it’s often easy to miss the sound of a failing hard drive. But, if you hear a clicking noise, it could mean your hard drive is failing. If you start to hear anything unusual coming from your computer, back everything up as quickly as possible to avoid catastrophic data loss.
Scan for Errors
Unfortunately, most people ignore the maintenance tools built into computers until it’s too late. But both Windows and Mac computers come loaded with programs to help keep your computer healthy and they are worth using every now and then. For Windows PCs, navigate to the error checking test; for Mac computers, use the disk utility tool. Both check hard drive health and attempt to repair any errors they find.
Defrag the Drive
Fragmented files cause the hard drive to work harder than it should as it has to search the drive to piece together files. Defragging the drive keeps pieces of files together, so the hard drive doesn’t have to work so hard, and you can access your files more quickly. If you own a Mac you don’t have to worry about this as Mac computers automatically defragments files. But the process has to be started manually on Windows PCs.
Be Careful Installing or Downloading Software
Every piece of software you download or install takes up valuable hard drive space, and may contain malware. Although it’s unlikely this will cause complete hard drive failure, malware can result in the loss of valuable data and a full hard drive can cause your computer to slow down to a crawl.
Keep Your PC and Work Area Clean
One of the main causes of hard drive failure is overheating. Excessive dust can cause the fans and hard drive to run slowly or even stop working completely, so be sure to use compressed air to keep them clean. Additionally, placing papers and other items in front of the computer’s air vents, or keeping the tower in an area with minimal air flow can result in overheating. Ensure this doesn’t happen by allowing enough space around the tower for air to move freely.
Static electricity can cause problems with any computer component, espeically in areas with dry air and during the winter. Before touching your computer, be sure to touch something metal to discharge any static that may have built up.
A hard drive failure can criple a business, but it’s bound to happen at some point. Practice these maintenance tips to help prolong the life of your hard drive and remember to back up your important files regularly to avoid valuable data loss and minimize down time.