Easy Fixes for Computer Hard Disk Issues

Problems with your computer's hard disk can be potentially devastating to your computer files. Boost your hard disk with more RAM and always back up your files.

Easy Fixes for Computer Hard Disk Issues

My hard disk is chattering

Back up your files

If you hear a high-pitched whine or a faint chattering sound from your computer, it is probably coming from your hard disk. It could simply indicate that your hard disk is busy, but if you hear it constantly, your hard disk may be under stress or even about to fail.

  • Don't take any chances. Back up your files immediately. It is usually possible to retrieve files from a "dead" disk using a specialist service (search the web for local data-recovery services), but it is far better to keep your files backed up regularly.
  • Defragment your hard drive or upgrade your RAM.

My new programs run slowly

Boost your computer’s RAM

If you have an older computer, some new programs may run very slowly. This may be because your computer has insufficient RAM to handle the latest applications. In such cases, your computer will use part of the hard drive to do the job of the RAM — this is called "virtual RAM"; many of your applications will slow to a crawl and you may hear your overburdened hard drive spinning frequently.

The solution is to upgrade the RAM cards — you'll notice an improvement in performance and your hard drive will last longer, too. Fitting new RAM is easy, but choosing the right cards to buy can be tricky. Seek advice from your local computer retailer or repair centre.

Five ways to back up your files

Do you worry about losing precious files and photos? There's no need — just back up your data. There are many ways to do this — some free, others cheap — so choose a method that suits your way of working.

  1. Copy, or "burn," your files onto DVD-Rs — they are inexpensive, available in most supermarkets and offer a moderate 4.7GB of storage. DVD-RW disks are a little pricier, but can be rewritten hundreds of times, making them more flexible.
  2. Transfer your files to an external hard drive. Choose a drive that is as big as your computer's hard drive so you'll never need to choose which files to back up — simply copy them all. You can manually drag and drop files to copy them, or use backup software.
  3. Use backup software to copy the contents of your hard drive to an external disk. You can download free or paid-for versions of such software, which offer differing degrees of sophistication. Some allow you to schedule automatic backups of selected files, or will update only those files that have changed since your last backup. Backup software is constantly updated — search the Internet for backup software to find the latest versions.
  4. Use a remote backup in the cloud. This copies selected files (which may be encrypted to ensure privacy) over the Internet to a secure data centre. You'll need an internet connection for this to work. It is usually a subscription service, but is sometimes offered free by Internet providers. Use it for your most valuable data.
  5. Download a free "social backup" program. Here, your data is backed up onto the computer of a friend or family member. In return, their data is held on yours. Encryption is used. An example of such a service is Crashplan (www.crashplan.com).

Hardware will fail — it's only a matter of time until you lose some vital data — so start backing up today!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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