External drives can indeed be used as part of your own home-brew NAS. It’s probably easier than you think.
Hard Drives (HDD)
Traditional magnetic-media spinning-platter hard drives in all shapes and sizes.
Extracting data from a hard drive in a dead computer isn’t typically difficult, unless it’s the drive itself that caused the problem.
You can defrag your external drive using Windows File Explorer, from the command prompt, or using a third-party tool. But should you?
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.
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.
Drive letters, like C:, D: and so on are assigned by Windows to reference your hard disks. They are not cast in stone: drive letters can be changed.
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 hard drives are handy and portable, but occasionally, it might be nice to move all that storage into your PC. You probably can.
I’ll review the characteristics of external drives and include a couple of specific recommendations.
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.
Partitions may be hidden for good reasons. Here’s how to peek inside.
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” is a message you want to take very seriously — so seriously that hopefully, you’ll have planned for it beforehand.
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.
If your machine won’t boot for some reason, there are a couple of approaches to try to get the data off its hard drive.
An “invalid system disk” error has several possible causes. Two of them will make you hope you backed up recently.
BitLocker is a fine approach to encrypting hard drives–especially the system drive. It’s also easy to turn off if you decide you no longer need it.
There’s deleted, and there’s deleted. Secure delete is one approach to making sure your files can’t be recovered.
We’ve all been told that defragmenting a hard disk is a good thing for performance – but the same is most definitely not true for solid state drives.
CHKDSK and Defrag are different tools for different purposes, and have different side effects. One is OK on any drive; the other should be avoided on SSDs.
File corruption happens most commonly when there’s a hardware issue or bad sector on your hard drive. I’ll look at implications and preventative steps.
Normally, a defrag operation will not cause data loss. Unfortunately, if there’s a pre-existing problem, a defrag could bring data loss to the surface.
SATA and PATA are two different and incompatible disk drive interfaces. PATA’s the old guard, but SATA’s taking over. I’ll look at the differences.
Multiple partitions can be useful at times. I’ll show you how to create a new partition by “splitting” an existing C: partition.
I had an impending NAS drive failure. I’ll share how I got there, the mistakes I made, the things I did right, and the lessons I learned.
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.
When you defrag files the pieces of the file are physically arranged for quicker access. But you can’t defrag some files. At least, not easily.
Partitioning, or splitting a single physical hard drive into multiple logical drives, has pros and cons. I’ll look at those, and make a recommendation.
It sounds like your hard drive is dead. You are going to have to dig deep to get the computer going again.
Chances are that you have a basic disk, and don’t need the functionality offered by dynamic disk support. Even if that functionality actually is kind of cool.
Changing the layout of the hard disk make the C: partition bigger requires a few steps, and occasionally special tools.
I see the appeal of slipping a little SD card into the slot of your computer for backups, but the safety of your precious data on that card has me worried!
The thing to consider is: what do we love most about solid state drives, and conversely, what would we worry about?
A bad sector on your hard drive could be causing strange intermittent problems. I’ll show you an easy way to find out.
Quality and features in hard drives can change over time. So first, look at your needs.
Replacing a hard drive on an identical model laptop might just work, but let’s make sure there are no misunderstandings here.
A grinding noise and slow computer probably indicate the worse. Stop everything right now and back up!
If you’re backed up, this isn’t going to be a problem. Otherwise, there are only a few steps we can take to help us retrieve your data.
It’s not just power you need to worry about; connected drives can also get malware. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself safe.
I’ll show you how to reduce the last little bit of disk activity happening on your computer, but is that really going to help?
This feels like a hard-drive failure to me. There are several things you can check, but the most urgent thing to do is back up!
It’s incredibly rare for a software crash to damage any drive connected to a computer. Other things, like a lightning strike, can do serious damage.
When the power goes out, data loss can happen. Fortunately, it’s not more prevalent for Solid State Drives. No matter what kind of a drive you get, you should always protect yourself.
Hard drive failures happen. Everyone needs to realize that. You can probably guess my recommendation for staying safe.
Defragmenting a hard drive speeds it up by moving pieces of files closer to each other. It does no harm except maybe waste your time if you do it too much.
It ‘s impossible to say how hard it may be for any one person, but, let me go down a list of things that you need to think about it when it’s time to replace a hard drive in a laptop.
Defragmenting a hard drive absolutely has its place. There are several ways to get to the controls in Windows XP.
Hard drives get laid out in fairly complex ways. Second-guessing how your disk heads move as part of a decision whether to use multiple partitions is not really a practical way to save a hard drive from failure.
I like to follow the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But there are some considerations here where replacing the hard drive would make sense.
An update can leave a large amount of temporary files, and even the old copy of the software still on the computer. After understanding what might be left, a cleanup tool might be called for.