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Protecting your external hard drive

Many people still use external hard drives for backup or portable storage, despite the advantages of cloud computing. If you are still using an external hard drive, it’s important to look after it properly as failure can happen at any time.

Avoid knocking the drive

Depending on the type of external hard drive, such as mechanical or SSD, an impact could damage it, especially if it’s plugged in and powered up. If you are using a mechanical external hard drive, a knock could cause the heads to crash against the platter (the bit where your data is stored), which could lead to data loss.

However, if your external hard drive contains an SSD (Solid State Drive), there are no moving parts, so you don’t have to worry about knocking it as much.

Don’t just unplug the drive

Never unplug the drive while reading or writing data to the external hard drive. If you do, you risk corrupting the data. Instead eject the drive. You can do this by right clicking on the drive and select Eject. Once you’ve ejected the drive, you can safely disconnect it from your computer.

It’s also important not to pull too hard on the USB cable, as you could damage the connectors.

Keep it flat on a table or desk

We see this a lot, external hard drives balanced on something or not set on a level surface. If your desk is knocked, you run the risk of the drive falling (see avoid knocking the drive above).

They won’t last forever

Just like the hard drive in your computer, external hard drives won’t last forever. They can also be easily lost or stolen, so it’s a good idea to have a backup of your external hard drive just in case.

If you need help deciding on the best hard drive for your computer, give us a call on 01543 889 444