10 Ways to Increase Hard Disk Life and Performance

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Performance of hard disk has always been an underrrated aspects of the overall system performance. The hard disk were considered only as a place to store and people paid heed to how they affected the operation of the PC as a whole. Each time you read and write on the hard disk some performance is lost, because the disk subsystem is the slowest component in your computer system. There is not much to do about the fact, but you might be able to take a number of actions to make certain that the computer’s hard disk is always running in tiptop shape. We provide 10 ways to increase hard disk life and performance.

1. Remove duplicate files from hard disk

The first step towards enhancing the performance of duplicate files from hard disk. There are several free duplicate file finders that easily find all sort of duplicate files on the disk. Users can then remove all the duplicate copies and just keep a single one. You might use duplicate file finders such as Duplicate Cleaner. It might even find files that have some common content, even if the file names are different. In case you wanna find similar looking photos you might be able to use the VisiPics.

It is an important step in any hard disk cleaning exercise. Removing all the duplicate files from the hard disk can considerably reduce the space occupied on the hard drive.

2. Defragment Hard Disk

It’s one most widely known  that speeds up the hard disk and improves performance.

Step 1: Now open My Computer. Right-click the disk that you want to defragment and click Properties. On the Tools tab, click the Defragment Now button.
Step 2: The Disk Defragmenter window appears. Click the Analyze button.
Step 3: An analysis of the drive is performed, and a message appears telling you whether or not you should defragment the drive.
Step 4: If the drive needs to be defragmented, click the Defragment button. The defragmentation process begins and may take some time, depending on how badly the drive is fragmented.

3. Checking up for disk errors

It’s easy to check the disk errors as another useful tool that is provided by Windows XP. The tool is available in the Tools tab of the hard disk properties sheet. It offers simple check box options to check for file system errors and recover bad sectors. The error checking tool needs complete access to the disk for its work. Sometimes the application is closed and the user needs to reboot before it starts to gain complete access to the disk. In case you use the computer a lot it’s a great idea to run this tool once for a month to ensure your disk is working perfectly.

To use the error checking utility

Step 1: Go to Start > My Computer
Step 2: Right click on the hard disk or partition that you want to check for errors
Step 3: Click on properties and then “Tools
Step 4: Under “Error checking” click on “Check Now
Step 5: Select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
Step 6: Click on Start

This will scan the disk for errors and mark bad sectors

4. Compression/Encryption

In the NTFS you can compress folders and encrypt folders and files to stop unauthorized access of those files and folders. Given that the compression feature is impressive, compressed files takes longer to open and resave. If you want the maximum possible speed from the system you need to avoid compressing the drives.

Encryption will also reduce the performance in terms of the opening files. The encryption process needs to make sure that you have an authorized view of the file. In general the rule is to follow the encrypt files or folders that are necessary. Don’t get in the habit of encrypting everything.

5. To NTFS overhead disable the 8.3 filenames

NTFS is a feature packed file system that Windows XP users can work with. For compatibility with MS-DOS and old Windows 3.x systems, NTFS supports 8.3 filenames. It implies that the files are named with eight characters, followed by a dot and three-charecter extensions. It’s nothing wrong with it. Overload is unnecessary when you are not supporting older programs and systems. Some other programs depend on 8.3 filenames, so you need to turn off the 8.3 filename feature some programs might not work properly. It is unlikely at this point in time.

To reduce NTFS overhead we have the following steps

Step 1: Click Start>Run. Type regedit and click OK

Step 2: In the Registry Editor, navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet\Control\Filesystem.

Step 3: Locate the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation entry and change the value to 1. This will disable the creation of 8.3 filenames
Step 4: Close Registry Editor

6. Master File Table

The NTFS Master File Table (MFT) keeps track of files on disks. This file logs all the files that are stored on a given disk. It includes the entry for the MFT itself. It works like an index of everything on the hard disk in much the same way that the address book. It makes the index of all these files so are easy to locate for defragmentation and for use by application.

You can add a registry entry to ensure the table is large enough and has the space it requires. It will take up more space on the hard disk that reduces overall NTFS overhead to help general performance.

Steps 1: Click Start>Run. Type regedit and click OK

Step 2: In the Registry Editor, navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

Step 3: Create a REG_DWORD entry and name it NtfsMftZone Reservation

Step 4: Set the value of the entry to 2.
Step 5: Close the Registry Editor.
Step 6: Set the value of the entry to 2

7. Stop Hibernation

In Windows systems like XP the Hibernation feature is quite handy. It can be shared with others to optimize Windows XP disk performance to switch off hard disk Hibernation mode in Windows XP. To use this mode follow the steps below

Step 1: Click Start
Step 2: Control Panel
Step 3: Power Options Properties
Step 4: Click on the Hibernate tab and clear the Enable Hibernation check box

8. Clean up unnecessary files and optimize the Recycle Bin

The number of temporary files, temporary Internet files, recent documents list in Windows start menu, download files and log files which Windows XP  generates. In case you want the hard disk to perform in the best possible way, just delete all the junk files from it. It is an overstuffed hard drive that makes Windows XP work harder. Make sure that you have the system in place to keep the old files and junk cleaned up and removed.

Make sure you optimize the Recycling Bin. The size of recycle bin is the percentage of hard drive.

Step 1: Right click on the Recycle Bin and choose Properties
Step 2: In the Recycle Bin properties, move the recycle Bin size slider from 10 percent to 3 or even 1 percent. It is still a decent amount of storage since you now have a larger disk to work with.
Step 3: Click OK

9. Convert to NTFS

NTFS is better than FAT/FAT32 and allows users to use some management features of Windows XP that FAT/FAT32 does not support. Try to convert any FAT/FAT32 drives to NTFS. It’s only exception is the rule used in a dual-boot system that also boots earlier version of Windows that doesn’t support NTFS, such as Windows 98 or Windows Me.

To convert FAT or FAT32 drive to NTFS follow the steps below

Step 1: Click Start>Run. Type command and click OK.

Step 2: At the command prompt, you will use the Convert command to convert the FAT drive to NTFS. Keep in mind that the conversion process is completely safe and all of your data will remain as it is. The command and syntax is as follows:

convert D: /FS:NTFS

Press Enter.
Step 3: Conversion may take several minutes, depending on the size of the drive. When the process is complete, simply exit the command interface. If you converted the boot partition, you will be prompted to reboot the computer.

10. Remove the temporary files

Windows creates a lot of temporary files during the normal operation. They try to clean up those files while some of them stay and keep accumulating. For instance file fragments, browser cache, memory dumps, log files, cookies, Recycle Bin.

Windows provides a built-in tool to clear such files that is not as efficient as some of the free disk cleaners available in the market. You can use FCleaner, CCleaner, and Comodo System Cleaner.

Source: pc-washer.com

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