Your hard disk drive is one of the most important parts of your PC. It's where all your system files, applications and user data is kept. Most people understand the issue of security, the importance of making regular backups of your user data as an insurance policy against hard drive crashes. Few people realise and appreciate the importance of having regular hard disk maintenance which is designed to keep it in good working order.
The ultimate way to revitalise and cleanse your PC is to wipe the hard drive, start from scratch and then reinstall the operating system. However, there is much you can do to avoid such a situation arising, simply by using utilities provided within the bundle of your Windows operating system.Disk cleanup
The Disk Cleanup tool helps you free up space by searching your disk for unwanted files that you can safely delete. It can remove all of the following:
Temporary Internet files.
Files in the Recycle Bin.
Temporary Windows files located in the Temporary files folder.
Optional Windows components that you are not using.
Installed programs that you no longer use.
To launch Disk Cleanup via Start menu go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools
A dialogue window should now appear enabling you to select the drive you want to clean up. Select the required drive and click OK
The specified drive will be exampined and the amount of space you can potentially free up is calculated.
The results, showing the amount of space that can be recovered by deleting files that are not needed are then displayed on the Disk Cleanup tab.
Chkdsk.exe is a utility which verifies the logical integrity of a file system. In the event of the utility encountering logical inconsistencies in file system data, it will perform the necessary actions to repair the file system data. The same utility in earlier versions of Windows was called to as ScanDisk.
To Launch Chkdsk go to My Computer and right-click the hard disk you want to have checked. Then click Properties and select the Tools tab.
Click on Check Now
A dialogue box showing the Check disk options is displayed.
Select the appropriate options and click Start.
You may get the following message.
If so click Yes
and your computer will reboot and then perform the scan.Disk Defragmentation
Since files are constantly being written, deleted and over written to the hard drive, files are likely to become fragmented and scattered all over the drive. The disk defragment tool takes these files and puts them in order by eliminating spaces between files.
To start the disk defragment tool go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter
Then select the Tools
tab and click Defragment Now
It should now display the hard drives showing total capacity as well as the free space of the drive(s).
Now select the drive you want to defragment and click Analyse
The drive is scanned and a visual representation of how it is currently fragmented is displayed.
Depending on the the results of the analysis, you will be advised as to whether or not the volume should be defragmented.
Even if it's not necessary, you can choose to Defragment anyway if you like.
The time it takes to defragment the hard drive is dependent on the size of the drive, how the fragmentation lies and how much free space it has.
As the drive defrags you can see how it is neatly repacking the files by looking at the bottem visual bar.
Once it is complete you will get the following message
You can choose to view the report which will show hard drive information such as free space, used space, cluster size and the free space as a percentage. Or you can just lick Close
as the defragmentation is now complete.
Doing these checks frequently will prolong the lifespan of your hard drive and make sure it's running at maximum speed.