Articles in Category: Hard Drives (HDD)

Traditional magnetic-media spinning-platter hard drives in all shapes and sizes.

A cracked hard disk juxtaposed with a pristine one, symbolizing sudden versus gradual hardware failure. The background is split in two: one half features a chaotic, glitched computer screen to represent instability and failure, and the other half displays a stable, smooth interface to symbolize normal operation. The composition emphasizes the contrast between sudden and gradual hardware failures.

The Warning Signs of Disk Failure: An Unexpected Tale of Gradual Decline and Urgent Replacement

The reinstall of my system slowly uncovered a potential hardware issue. Here’s how I diagnosed and repaired it.

A surreal scene showing a standing maintenance person using a floor polisher on a giant hard disk platter. The maintenance worker, dressed in a standard blue jumpsuit and safety shoes, is actively operating the large, mechanical floor polisher.

How Often Should I Wipe Hard Drive Free Space?

Free-space wiping prevents the recovery of deleted files. Whether you need to do it, or how often, depends on how interesting your data is.

Gigabytes and higher.

What Comes After Terabytes?

Zetabytes? Petaflops? Gigahertz? Confusing terms for the ever-increasing capacity and speed of our computers.

An external USB hard drive positioned vertically on its side, with a carrying handle attached to its top. The hard drive has a 'Moving' sticker prominently displayed.

Can I Move My Old Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data?

You can take the internal hard disk of an old computer and install it as an additional drive in a new one, or consider a more flexible alternative.

A balance scale featuring a 3.5 inch hard disk on one side and a 2.5 inch hard disk on the other. The setting is a simple, neutral background to keep the focus on the balance scale and the hard disks. The 3.5 inch hard disk appears slightly larger and more robust, representing its greater storage capacity and power requirement. In contrast, the 2.5 inch hard disk is smaller, symbolizing its portability and convenience for travel.

Can You Recommend a Good External Hard Drive?

Quality and features in external hard drives change over time. First, look at what you need.

Disk Management utility

Why Is My External Hard Drive Not Showing in Windows?

Occasionally, attaching a drive to a computer will appear to work, but the drive’s nowhere to be found. I’ll walk through one common solution.

Waiting

Why Does Copying Files Slow Down?

Issues with copying files are most often traceable to hard disk issues, but there are other potential causes as well.

Hard Disk Interior

How Long Should CHKDSK Take?

Several factors affect how long CHKDSK takes to run, but a scan requiring an unusual amount of time may signal additional problems.

NAS -- Network Attached Storage

What’s a NAS? How Do I Set One Up?

NAS, for Network Attached Storage, is a device that provides shared disk space on your network. You may already have one.

Digital Error

How Do I Fix a CRC Error When I Try to Copy a File?

CRC errors happen when there’s a bad spot on the media of your hard disk. Data recovery and disk repair are often possible with the right tools — but you won’t need them if you have a backup.

External Drive

Can an External Drive Fail?

Hard drives fail, and external drives are no different. What to do?

Old Hard Disks

How Do I Tell If My Hard Drive Is Too Old?

Age isn’t the most important factor when evaluating hard disk risk of failure. I’ll discuss what is, and what you should be doing to protect yourself.

Hard disk in motion with conceptual data

How Do I Make My C: Drive Not ‘Dirty’?

A dirty machine is the result of improper shut downs. There are ways to clean it up, but getting control of your shut-down process is important.

A (very) broken computer.

How Do I Get Files From a Machine That Won’t Boot?

If your machine won’t boot for some reason, there are a couple of approaches to try to get data off its hard drive.

Hard Disk

Why is My Disk Busy Even Though I’m Doing Nothing?

Unexpected hard disk activity isn’t unusual. I’ll show you how to use a free monitoring tool to determine what program is causing it.

Looking at a Hard Disk.

Can CHKDSK Corrupt Files?

If CHKDSK freezes when you run it, you may have a problem with your files or hard disk, but CHKDSK didn’t cause them.

Change Drive Letter

How to Reassign Drive Letters in Windows

Drive letters like C:, D: and so on are assigned by Windows to reference your hard disks. They are not all cast in stone; most drive letters can be changed.

Disk Partitions

Can I Delete a Partition Without Losing Data?

Deleting a partition is a destructive operation, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose the data it contains.

Bitlocker is ON.

How Do I Turn Off BitLocker on a Drive?

BitLocker is a fine approach to encrypting hard drives, especially the system drive. It’s easy to turn off BitLocker if you decide you no longer need it.

A Typical Hard Drive

How Do I Get Files From an Old Hard Drive?

If you’ve got an old hard drive and you want to get data off of it, there are several approaches.

Installing an HDD

Can I Move My Hard Drive to a New Computer and Have Windows Work?

Windows configures itself to the hardware it finds — but changing everything at once by moving the system disk to a different machine might be too much.

CHKDSK /F /R

What’s the Difference Between CHKDSK /F and CHKDSK /R?

CHKDSK is a powerful Windows utility used to diagnose and repair disks. /F and /R represent two types of repairs.

Padlocked Hard Drive

How Do I Secure a Hard Drive Before Sending It in for Repair?

When sending your computer out for repair, you’re handing over everything on it, including your data. Options to secure a hard drive are limited.

CHKDSK on a RAW drive.

What Does “CHKDSK Is Not Available for RAW Drives” Mean?

CHKDSK can’t check an empty drive, and Windows considers RAW to mean empty.

External Drive

What External Drive Should I Get?

I’ll review the characteristics of external drives and include a couple of specific recommendations.

Hard Disk

How Long Does a Hard Drive Last?

Hard disks can last a long time, but it’s important to realize that they could still fail at any moment.

2.5 and 3.5 inch disk drives.

How to Use Old HDDs as External Drives

When replacing a hard drive or an entire machine, it can be very convenient to have the old hard drive available in an external drive enclosure.

Disks

How to Reformat a Disk

Formatting is the process of erasing a disk for use or reuse. There are a couple of different ways and options.

CHKDSK /F

“Chkdsk Cannot Run Because the Volume Is in Use by Another Process”

Chkdsk checks your disk for errors at a low level, requiring exclusive access to the disk to do so. “Chkdsk cannot run…” means it doesn’t have the exclusive access it needs.

An SSD

How Long Will My SSD Last?

We keep hearing that SSDs and other flash-based drives wear out. Particularly when it comes to SSDs, there are ways you can see how close to wearing out your drive might be.

Externnal Hard Drive

My External HDD Shows Not Formatted — But It Has All My Data!

Occasionally, when moving a drive to another machine it’ll show up as unformatted. I’ll look at some possible causes and actions to take.

Partitions on a hard disk - conceptual.

What’s a Disk Partition?

Partitions allow a single physical disk drive to be treated as if it were multiple disks.

“Do You Want to Scan and Fix” a Removable Drive?

“Do You Want to Scan and Fix” a Removable Drive?

The message “Do you want to scan and fix” means Windows found an error on a recently-attached drive. What you do next depends on how disastrous data loss might be.

Should I Use FAT32 or NTFS on a Flash Drive?

Should I Use FAT32 or NTFS on a Flash Drive? The Differences, and a Third Alternative

File systems are commonly formatted as FAT32, NFTS, or exFAT. Which is best for your thumb drive?

What is Defragging and Do I Need It In Windows?

Defragging rearranges the layout of files on your hard disk for faster access. Chances are you need do nothing at all.

Why Doesn't My New, Empty Hard Drive Show All the Advertised Space?

Why Doesn’t My New, Empty Hard Drive Show All the Advertised Space?

Terms used to measure disk space can be ambiguous. As a result, a megabyte to you might not be the same as a megabyte to your computer.

Initial progress in a Recuva scan

Can I Recover Old Files from an External Hard Drive?

It is possible to recover deleted data from an old external hard drive, but success depends on how that drive has been used since the data was deleted.

Should I partition my hard disk?

Should I Partition My Hard Disk?

Partitioning, or splitting a single physical hard drive into multiple drives, has pros and cons. I’ll look at those and make a recommendation.

Hard disk under a stethoscope

Is My Hard Disk About to Die?

There are signs we can use to determine if a hard drive is about to fail, but it’s also common for a drive to fail without any indication at all.

What is “Quick Removal” and How is it Changing in Windows 10?

What is “Quick Removal” and How is it Changing in Windows 10?

Windows is changing the default setting for “Quick Removal” for external drives. I’ll look at why, and what it means.

The backside of my NAS machine

Can I Use External Hard Drives as NAS Storage?

External drives can indeed be used as part of your own home-brew NAS. It’s probably easier than you think.

How do I get data off of the hard drive in a dead computer?

How Do I Get Data Off of the Hard Drive in a Dead Computer?

Extracting data from a hard drive in a dead computer isn’t typically difficult, unless it’s the drive itself that caused the problem.

Optimizing a drive in Windows

Should I Defrag My External Drive, and If So, How?

You can defrag your external drive using Windows File Explorer, from the command prompt, or using a third-party tool. But should you?

Drive with no drive letter

Why Doesn’t My External Drive Appear When Plugged In?

When attempting to back up a new Windows 10 laptop, I inserted one of my external USB drives and … nothing. Here’s what I did.

External Drive

Can I Convert an External USB Hard Drive into an Internal One?

External hard drives are handy and portable, but occasionally, it might be nice to move all that storage into your PC. You probably can.

Disk Management interface

How Do I View the Contents of My Hidden D: Drive?

Partitions may be hidden for good reasons. Here’s how to peek inside.

Disk Partitions

Do I Need All These Partitions?

Newer machines often come with multiple partitions. While it’s tempting to remove them, there’s little to be gained.

Hard disk failure is imminent

Hard Disk Failure Is Imminent! What Do I Do?

“Hard Disk Failure Is Imminent” is a message you want to take very seriously — so seriously that hopefully, you’ll have planned for it beforehand.

Hard Disk Drives

What Should I Look for in a Replacement Hard Drive?

It’s always a good idea to look for the “best”. The problem is that when it comes to hard disks, “best” is a moving target.

Invalid System Disk

How Do I Fix “Invalid System Disk” Error?

An “invalid system disk” error has several possible causes. Two of them will make you hope you backed up recently.