Caring for your External Hard Drive: 5 Tips from Experts

Press release content from Wired Release. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

An external hard drive is extremely useful. You can use it to expand your storage capacity, back up your data, and have a way to transport essential files and data too. However, an external hard drive needs to be well cared for if you want it to be useful to you. If you dont take good care of it, you can soon find that it fails you when you need it most.

Take a look at these five tips from experts, informing you on how to care for your external hard drive.

1. Position and Store Your Hard Drive Correctly

This tip from Megan Mattingly-Arthur at itstillworks is one of the most important that you can keep in mind. Hardware problems can cause issues with your hard drive, so protecting it physically is a must. Positioning, storing and even travelling with your hard drive appropriately will keep it safe and working correctly. Keep it on a clean, flat and stable surface to prevent damage, and avoid temperatures that are too low or high. Like many computer components, hard drives are built to operate within a specific range of optimal temperatures. This range will differ on a drive-by-drive basis depending on the model and manufacturer, but as long as you stay within your drive’s range, you should be good to go.

2. Avoid Overloading Your Hard Drive
John Harris at Remo Software says that you should avoid overloading your hard drive if you want it to work optimally. When you fill your hard drive with a lot of data, it will need to work harder to keep going. Avoiding this means that you reduce wear and tear, helping your hard drive to last longer. Delete unwanted files or, if you dont want to remove any, compress them, so they take up less space. The evidence of increased wear and tear might not show up for a while, but it does add up.

3. Speed Up Your Hard Drive
From TidBits author Josh Centers comes the advice to speed up your hard drive. If youre a Mac user, he recommends preventing Spotlight from indexing your drive. You can do this in System Preferences. If youre using a Windows PC, you can go to Properties on your external drive, then choose Properties on the Hardware tab and Change settings on the General tab. On the Policies tab, choose Better performance and then select OK.

4. Use a Surge Protector
Electricity isn’t always constant. There are times when voltages spike above normal levels – even for just a few nanoseconds – and these are called surges. Using a surge protector is essential, according to the experts at Platinum Data Recovery. It protects both your computer and your hard drive from power surges. If there is an unexpected surge, any damage to your hard drive should be limited.

5. Back Up Your Hard Drive
Leo Notenboom over at Ask Leo makes backing up your hard drive the most important thing to do. Although you might use an external drive for backup, its a good idea to also have it backed up elsewhere. If your backup drive breaks, you no longer have your data backed up, and if its the only place you have that data, things are even worse. If anything does happen, you might be able to save your data with external hard drive data recovery[1]. However, its best to take proactive steps.

It’s entirely possible for your hard drive to fail even after you’ve taken care of it. However, we’re talking about probabilities and likelihoods here. If you’re careful to heed the good practices outlined above, your hard drives (current and future) will last longer and give you fewer headaches.

Care for an external hard drive is really quite simple as you will see from the information provided above. Given that it is simple and easy to take care of your portable hard drive and the potential disastrous consequences of not doing so, we highly recommend that you follow the advice provided.

When you do have problems with the data on your external hard drive, our external hard drive data recovery will save the day.


  1. ^ external hard drive data recovery (

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