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Monday, 21 February 2005

Lengthening the life of your disk

How to get more hours of computer usage before your disk dies. All disks die, but you might be able to make it happen later rather than sooner.

  • Keep it still
  • If you have a desktop, that means placing the desktop in a location that is stationary. If your desk tends to rattle or vibrate, you want your computer on the floor. don't ever move a desktop computer without turning it off first. If you have an ipod, that means not running with it or throwing it around (unless you have an ipod shuffle, which has no moving parts). If you have a laptop, you want to minimize motion while the disk is spinning.

    Laptops are designed to be used in places like cars, trains and airplanes and they're supposed to be moved from place to place. A little vibration is ok. But the less vibration, the better. Also, if you're going to be running for the train or walking around swinging your laptop case, you want the disks read/write heads to be parked. Disks are a lot like record players that spin at many thousands of RPMs. like the needle of a record player, disks have an arm that reads and writes data. but it doesn't make contact with the surface of the disk. It floats above the surface, only a few microns away. If you jar the disk suddenly, you might cause the read/write head to hit the sinning platter. That's called a head crash. It scratches the platter and destroys data. sometimes it kicks up debris which the head then runs into, causing more head crashes. this is a bad thing. so if you're going to jar your computer, make sure the heads are parked. that happens when your computer is off or asleep. If you're going to carry your powerbook across the room, close the lid, let it go to sleep, then move it.

  • don't spin it when you don't need it
  • In system preferences, under energy saver, check the box next to "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible." If they're sleeping, they're not spinning. If they're not spending their lifetime spinning when unneeded, they will spin when you need them.

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1 comment:

goat said...

i like this post. i had never specifically thought about what actually goes on re: a hard disk. as in the fact that it's a disk. by which i mean a disc. oh god i should be asleep. anyway i like suddenly knowing my disc is spinning.

*holds up laptop, against all advice, and listens to disc spinning*