Your computer’s hard drive holds all of your data. Unlike the memory or RAM, these drives do not lose their information when the computer is turned off. That’s why they are referred to as non-volatile memory. In the early days of personal computing, hard drives did not exist. You had to start up your computer with a floppy disk, called a boot disk. With the introduction of Windows 3.1, these data storage devices, although tiny in the amount of data they could store, began to make an appearance on the consumer market. This means faster boot times and easier use of the personal computer. Here are three reasons to replace a one.
Perhaps the largest reason to replace a hard drive is that of a drive failure. A bad one can happen either at-once or slowly, over time. When your drive fails immediately you simply will not be able to boot your computer up. You may hear a clicking noise coming from it or you have determined it’s bad through a diagnostic program. Hopefully, at this point, you have a good backup. If not, you will either need to have a third-party software tool or attempt to connect your old hard drive as a secondary one once your new drive is installed before attempting data retrieval.
The second reason for replacement is simply because your old, current data storage device is too small. Older computers typically have less hard drives so it’s natural that with all of your home videos and photos and downloaded movies and TV shows that you have run out of space. Typically, in this situation, you will want to have a good backup of your data before removing your old one. Your new, larger drive will be blank so you will need a copy of your operating system disc. Boot on the disc and install windows to your new storage device. After this, log into your ‘new’ system and make sure all of your system updates have been applied. Next, you will want to reinstall all of your programs. Once that is done, you’re ready to restore your data to the new device.
A third, sometimes seldom used, a reason to, not replace, but add an additional storage unit is when you want to run an operating system with two drives. Consumer operating systems can rarely use more than two hard disks. One reason for doing so is to implement a feature called RAID, Redundant Array of Independent Disks. RAID is offered with higher-end operating systems, such as Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. RAID 0 offers the ability to use two disks to create striped partitions. This means data is written to both disks at the same time, so making for faster write times. RAID 1 offers some backup protection if you lose one of your drives. This level is known as disk mirroring, where identical data is written to both hard drives at the same time. When a drive fails, you receive notification and simply turn off the PC and pull the bad drive, replace it with a new one, boot up the PC and it will rebuild the new hard drive. Alternately, you may just want to add a secondary new storage device to use for data storage. In this case simply install the hard drive on your computer, format it, and assign it a drive letter and you just drag the files over to it to reduce space on the other disk.
Hopefully, these three reasons for replacing a hard drive have shed a little light on what to do when either needs more space on your computer or when a drive goes bad. These days it’s much simpler replacing computer parts thanks to user-friendly hardware. In addition, advances in consumer operating systems have made technology such as RAID a reality for everyone.