A hard disk drive (or HDD) is a non-volatile, random access device for storing digital data.

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769
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What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?

In Windows you have a C: drive. Everything labeled beyond that is with the following letter. So your second drive is D:, your DVD is E: and if you put in a USB stick it becomes F: and the following ...
206
votes
10answers
18k views

Why is Google so much faster than a hard-drive search?

When I search a file on my HD in Windows 7 or Windows XP it takes some minutes to finish the process. If I fill in a search term in Google, the answer is on my screen in milliseconds How is it ...
167
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the purpose of the holes marked “Do Not Cover” on hard drives?

On many hard drives, there's a text warning to "not cover this hole", sometimes adding that doing so will void the warranty. What is the purpose of this hole and why would covering it cause damage or ...
111
votes
18answers
214k views

What utility can move my Windows boot partition over to another hard drive? [closed]

Can anyone recommend a cheap/free utility that can do this without very much effort? My preference is that it would be really easy. Boot into Windows Pick drive to move Pick target drive It copies ...
76
votes
6answers
9k views

How is the capacity of a harddisk faked?

I was reading about magical Chinese drives. How would this be done? The post talks about a 'looped mode' and comments suggest having a different controller to lie to the OS. I went and bought one of ...
75
votes
9answers
18k views

How can I wipe a broken hard disk drive before sending it back to the manufacturer for maintenance?

The hard drive of my laptop died, the manufacturer wants me to send it so that they can investigate, but I'm concerned that the drive might contain sensitive information. When I say the drive is ...
71
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does performance of a regular hard drive decrease over the duration of a benchmark while SSD doesn't?

I use HD Tune to measure performance of the hard drive. The tests typically take 2-3 minutes and the transfer rate of a regular hard drive decreases dramatically as the test comes to a close. ...
56
votes
14answers
6k views

Is there a way to make my hard drive inaccessible to everyone but me?

Let me give you some backup story first: A computer technician challenged me to give him my laptop and ask him for any piece of information that I wanted to "hide" in my hard drive. He claimed that he ...
50
votes
7answers
5k views

Commuting with a laptop that is powered on

How safe is it to leave my laptop running a build or other time-consuming task when I am traveling? I mostly travel on a two-wheeler, with my laptop in a backpack, strapped vertically to my back (left ...
46
votes
5answers
153k views

How can I move the page file to another physical disk location?

I would like to know exact instructions for moving the page file from 1 disk location to another disk in Windows 7. I.e. from an SSD to a non-SSD drive. I've spent about two hours searching - ...
45
votes
9answers
26k views

Does vertical position affect the lifespan or integrity of a hard drive?

I've noticed on many small PC cases that the hard drives are installed vertically. In midi cases, towers and others of a larger housing, they are in the horizontal position. What impact on a hard ...
40
votes
9answers
91k views

Free way to clone HDD to SSD?

Is there a free way to clone a full Windows 7 installation from HDD to SSD? (The free part is important, I know I can pay for Acronis True Image.) SSDs are usually much smaller than HDDs which ...
39
votes
19answers
10k views

Destroy a hard drive without proper equipment [closed]

I need to make two hard drives unreadable. Unfortunately, I have some constraints which make this harder than usual (in particular, they rule out the answers to other questions): I don’t have a ...
35
votes
4answers
3k views

Linux is to mount as Windows is to _______?

So Linux "mounts" a hard drive to perform some operation such as reading/writing. Does Windows "mount" in the same way? Is it called something different in the context of Microsoft?
34
votes
9answers
53k views

How can I use my small SSD as a cache for a larger hard disk?

I would like to use a (small) SSD disk as a cache for a large hard disk. I realize there are hardware-based products that do this: HighPoint RocketHybrid HBA, Intel SmartResponse and others. There is ...
34
votes
1answer
8k views

What is the purpose of this 4-pin interface on SATA HDDs and why doesn't it exist on SSDs?

I have 4 HDDs here with me, from 3 different manufacturers, and all of them have the following 4-pin extra interface beside the SATA connector: Looking on internet, I can see that it exists on all ...
34
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5answers
5k views

**How** harmful is a hard disk spin cycle?

It is conventional wisdom¹ that each time you spin a hard disk down and back up, you shave some time off its life expectancy. The topic has been discussed before: Is turning off hard disks harmful? ...
32
votes
4answers
14k views

How badly do SSDs degrade without TRIM?

SSDs have been out for a few years, and have seen all kinds of usage patterns. Windows and Linux support the TRIM command, with Mac OS still trailing behind here. Update (2011): It appears OSX Snow ...
31
votes
7answers
8k views

Why is my computer really slow despite of having a considerable amount of free memory?

I have a Lenovo g560 3-4 years old, Intel i5, with 2GB ram and with a Geforce 310M. It always had some issues during startup or when starting a new program, but recently it just went crazy. From the ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do HDDs mostly have the same speed as 5400, 7200, 10000 RPM?

Why do hard disk drives mostly have the same speed? They are mostly 5400, 7200, 10000 RPM. Why not 6000 or 8000? Is there any reason or benefit for having those speeds?
30
votes
13answers
58k views

Easiest way to move my Windows installation to an SSD?

I've taken the plunge and bought an SSD and want to move my existing Windows installation over. The current hard disk is 500Gb, but I've trimmed the contents down to about ~40Gb. I'm transferring it ...
30
votes
2answers
5k views

How vibration sensitive are hard disk drives?

I've gotten my hands on a seriously cheap laptop grade 2.5 inch drive. I'm intending to use one on a desktop that dosen't have 2.5 inch bays as a boot drive. While I know there are adaptors available, ...
30
votes
4answers
4k views

When to stop using a hard drive? What rules/software apply?

When having a old hard disk - when should you stop using it ? I recently got a new 1 TB hard disk, and am left with 3 old hard drives (320 GB, 250GB, 160 GB). I am now wondering which of them to ...
30
votes
7answers
35k views

Is turning off hard disks harmful?

I set Windows 7 to turn off hard disks after 20 minutes of nonuse, which it does a really good job at - it seems to turn off individual hard disks that have been idle for 20 minutes exactly. When I ...
30
votes
8answers
6k views

Is flash drive wear a significant issue?

My netbook has a flash drive instead of a hard disk drive, and I'm using Ubuntu Netbook Remix with ext3 as the file system. I've read some articles concerning flash drive wear, and the main concerns ...
28
votes
10answers
7k views

Determining if a hard disk has been removed and data copied from it?

Is there a method or a tool that can detect if someone has separated my hard disk from my computer, copied data from it, and returned it back? I want to be sure that no one has done this without my ...
28
votes
10answers
2k views

Encrypted HDD 100% safe?

I guess am a bit of a paranoid ha... anyway i encrypted my HDD with truecrypt using all printable ASCII characters and the password is 64 characters long. It is quite random, certainly no dictionary ...
28
votes
4answers
32k views

Why should I choose (or not) AHCI over IDE in my PC's BIOS settings?

I've noticed in the BIOS settings of the newer PCs I own that I can configure the drive controller work either in AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode, or else in IDE mode. I'm suspecting ...
27
votes
16answers
18k views

Harddrive in the freezer ever work for you? [closed]

Once upon a time, my little 10 GB drive in my webserver failed and of course I had no backup, teaching me to immediately set up an automatic backup job afterwards. Anyhow, this drive refused to ...
26
votes
4answers
16k views

How do I find out what processes are accessing the hard disk in a GNU/Linux-based system?

I'm looking for the equivalent to top for disk access, so I can tell which process(es) are currently reading and/or writing to disk. I'm currently using Ubuntu, but I imagine there's a standard tool ...
26
votes
6answers
19k views

How can I log my hard drive activity by program?

I am using Windows XP and am looking for a utility that can tell me the percentage of hard drive activity a program is using. Basically, I'm looking for something like Task Manager and its ability ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

Hard Drives and types — What makes them so different?

7200RPM WD Blacks are designed to be faster then WD Blues/Greens. They are the same speed, same cache, etc., what really makes them actually faster? Does it have to do with spin up/down speeds or ...
25
votes
9answers
6k views

What happened to the B: drive in Windows and why does the hard drive default to C?

Why is it that I see an A: drive and a C: drive but not a B: drive? Is there a reason why the disk partitions start at C? And is it possible to change that letter designation?
25
votes
3answers
2k views

How do software programs determine the HDD temperature?

I had an argue with a colleague about : "How do software programs (i.e. hwmonitor) determine the temperature of the hard drive?" I said that there must be a thermometer inside the HDD and the ...
25
votes
8answers
51k views

Extremely high disk activity without any real usage

In a nutshell, the problem looks like this picture: In short, gigantic latency, very slow read speed (I assume that is caused by the same thing). After a very very painful few minutes, everything ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Why erase file with random patterns instead of all 0's or 1's?

Computer files aren't actually removed when they are deleted on Windows. The address pointer is simply released and that space freed for overwrite later. For sensitive information, it is recommended ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the origin of the hard drive light?

In practically every computer I've had, there's always been a light to display hard drive activity. What's it's origin and original use?
24
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5answers
40k views

What is the lifespan of an SSD drive? [closed]

Are SSDs comparable to HDDs for reliability and is there published research on this? Also are all SSD manufacturers at a similar 'reliability level'?
24
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3answers
2k views

How should I interpret the specifications of a SSD?

When considering to buy a SSD, how should I interpret the different specifications of the SSD? Here are some specific things that need to be deciphered: Controller (this can affect performance and ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it possible to format a hard-drive too often?

Every couple of months I find my computer becomes sluggish, so I format the hard drive then reinstall Windows to keep it running fast. I've been doing this for about a year without any adverse ...
23
votes
7answers
4k views

Why create many partitions?

I have noticed that when installing Ubuntu some people create multiple partitions for directories. Like one for root, one for home, one for boot. What is the advantage to doing this over installing ...
23
votes
1answer
48k views

What does “LFF SATA” mean?

I've heard of SATA, but "LFF SATA" as listed on HP's specs page is a new one for me. What does the "LFF" bit mean?
23
votes
7answers
10k views

What happens when an SSD wears out?

Since SSDs are still fairly new, there isn't a history of posts saying "I reached my writes limit on 10% of my SSD... – and here is what happened (I.e. I lost 3 directories of work files. The entire ...
21
votes
5answers
8k views

Where do deleted items go on the hard drive?

After reading the quote below on the Casey Anthony trial (CNN) ,I am curious about where deleted files actually go on a hard drive, how they can be seen after being deleted, and to what extent the ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Hazardous materials in a hard drive

I have an old laptop at my disposal that has a malfunctioning HDD in it. I would really enjoy taking the drive apart and looking at it. However, I would like to ensure that I am not going to end up ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Are all basic SATA drives equally reliable?

I'm about to purchase a SATA hard drive. I was wondering if, aside from the storage capacity, are there any other factors I should keep in mind? I care above all about reliability. Is a more expensive ...
20
votes
8answers
14k views

Do harddrives slow down with age?

My (windows based) laptop is coming up to six years old now, and it still has semi respectable specs - Core 2 Duo 2.6ghz, 1gb Ram, 500gb HDD, 256mb ATI graphics card. Although the hardware is on its ...
20
votes
11answers
9k views

Why are my hard drives failing?

I have a small Ubuntu server running at home, with 2 hard drives. There are two software raids (raid1) on the disks, managed by mdadm, which I believe is irrelevant, but mentioning it anyway. Both of ...
20
votes
8answers
43k views

How to check the health of a hard drive

My SATA drive started clicking and I was unable to access the data. It was not clicking loudly though, like a drive that has already gone bad. After tightening the connections to the hard drive, it ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

What is the quickest and best way to copy a 500 gig drive?

I have an external drive and it's not working well. I want to move all the stuff to a new external drive before it's too late. copy and paste will not work as it keep coming "Path too long" and kills ...