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Hard Disk Drives
Before discussing the care of hard disks, I should point out that in this section I am considering the physical device itself. The actual data that is on the hard disk is a different matter; protective measures and backup techniques for data are discussed here.
The hard disk itself does not generally require much maintenance, since it is a sealed unit with most of the components inaccessible. Most of the care of hard disks boils down simply to "don't abuse them". In particular, you want to watch out for the following issues:
I recommend that when the PC box is opened for annual cleaning, that the hard disks be checked, especially for heat and vibration levels. To check for heat, make sure the PC has been running for at least a half-hour before opening the case.
Note: I would also point out
here (again?) that it is not necessary to low-level format a modern hard disk under
almost all normal circumstances. Older, pre-IDE hard disks, did require occasional
reformatting because they had unsophisticated stepper motors that in time would become
misaligned with the locations of the tracks on the disk. This is not a problem for modern
disks that use voice coil actuators.
Next: Floppy Disk Drives