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

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23
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9answers
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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 ...
22
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4answers
3k views

How do I determine whether a drive is an HDD or SSD in Windows 8?

I've recently received an assembled PC. I don't know if the disk is an SSD or old HDD (whether SATA or other technologies). I can't find a way to tell if the disk is SSD or not, apart from the size ...
22
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the tolerable magnetic field (in Tesla) for a hard disk?

I was wondering what would be the safest magnetic field for a hard drive so that the data inside it is safe and not wiped off? For example I have a 2.1 home theatre system and when I take my android ...
20
votes
4answers
3k 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
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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
12answers
10k 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
3answers
2k views

What do you call the place on a hard drive (or motherboard, or anywhere else) to place jumpers?

Most hard drives have a set of pins next to the pata or sata port to place jumpers to do things such as designating it a slave or master. What is the name of those set of other pins? Hard drives are a ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

How to limit HDD write speed for chosen programs

My HDD is slow 5400RPM and when working with 10GB size files it is impossible to use the computer until that big file finish re-creating a new copy/muxing/writing/etc. depends on process, the thing is ...
20
votes
4answers
48k views

Windows 8 hard disk usage 100%

This is a problem I've seen described in many places: Super User (here, here, here and so on) Microsoft support forums (here, here...) The Lenovo forums have some users complaining about this too ...
19
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8answers
19k views

How much time until an unused hard drive loses its data?

Do you guys know how much time needs to pass until the data stored on a hard drive starts to degrade? To keep the data intact for long periods of time, I heard you need to periodically rewrite it on ...
19
votes
5answers
21k views

What is the lifetime of a typical hard disk? [closed]

What lifetime can be expected of the typical hard disk? Or are there big differences between different types? And does it make a difference if it is used heavily instead of never being connected to ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Is defragging relevant to improving disk performance anymore?

Does it stil make much difference, now that we have much faster and larger HDDs? Generally I find if disk performance is getting too slow, it's probably because of too little free space, and the ...
19
votes
3answers
41k views

What does 'Highest active time' for disk activity in Windows resource monitor mean?

I know what the disk io, disk queue length and other measures are, but what does 'Highest active time' mean? Is it the amount of time it is busy handling requests, or something else? When it is ...
19
votes
6answers
25k views

How to check the partition alignment on an SSD drive?

As I understand it, for SSD it's important to have partitions starting at the proper offset (i.e. correctly aligned). How can I check this offset under Windows Vista?
19
votes
4answers
61k views

Windows 8 extremely high disk usage and slow IO

Problem After upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Professional, there seem to be a few disturbing problems. When I have the Task Manager open, I sometimes notice the disk usage climbing to 50, ...
18
votes
7answers
88k views

What are the differences between 2.5“ and 3.5” hard disks?

What does the 2.5"/3.5" value indicate? The thickness? I want one of my friends to buy 1TB hard disk for me. I know I want a 1TB capacity and 7200rpm, but don't know how to choose between 2.5" and ...
18
votes
3answers
6k views

How to partition a hard drive that has no OS installed?

I have a 500 GB hard drive. The laptop came with Windows 7 preinstalled. Now as I am installing Windows 8, I have deleted the C drive. So I have 460 GB free unused space where I can install Windows ...
18
votes
5answers
13k views

Why is my /dev/random so slow when using dd?

I am trying to semi-securely erase a bunch of hard drives. The following is working at 20-50Mb/s dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda But dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/sda seems not to work. Also when I ...
18
votes
5answers
48k views

What is the maximum number of partitions that can be made on a hard drive?

What is the maximum number of partitions we can make on hard disk in Windows? If it is limited to some particular number, why can we assign all the letters C through Z to drives? If it is a special ...
18
votes
3answers
37k views

Does hard drive buffer size matter?

These HDDs will be used mostly for backups and data-storage (pictures, movies) which aren't often read. The price difference is 1.5 Euros in the case of these two: HDD Western Digital Caviar Green ...
18
votes
1answer
38k views

Why Do Some USB Cables Have Two USB Connectors at the End?

I've recently bought an external hard drive enclosure and it had arrived with an USB cable, with one USB connector on one side and two on the other. Why do some USB cables have two connectors while ...
18
votes
5answers
22k views

Why does a SATA hard drive have jumpers?

Back in the days of PATA hard drives, a person used jumpers on the drive to indicate whether the drive was the master or the slave of the channel, or to let the cable select which drive was which. ...
18
votes
3answers
22k views

Is there a way for Windows 7 to show remaining disk space in the status bar?

This is really driving me nuts. I do a lot of moving media files to and from USB drives, and I am constantly looking to the status bar to see how much remaining space I have on a drive. It's quick, ...
17
votes
5answers
19k views

How Do I Find The Hardware Block Read Size for My Hard Drive?

I'm trying to figure out the optimal size for a large copy from my hard drive using dd. I'm trying to figure out what the best blocksize to use it, which I would assume is the hardware block size for ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

When should I use SATA 6gb/s?

I purchased a Baraccuda hard-drive (model ST3000DM001) that supports a maximum read transfer rate of 210 MB/s and SATA 1.5/3/6 Gb/s. My motherboard has a limited number of 6 Gb/s ports so I'd like to ...
17
votes
3answers
58k views

How to resize the primary Windows XP partition?

I just cloned my failing 250 GB hard drive onto a 500 GB hard drive (so I wouldn't have to re-install everything, etc.), but now the drive only thinks it is 250 GB. How do I tell it about the other ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it faster to have two smaller hard drives or one big one?

Assuming that the drives all have the same RPM and overall same specs except for storage space, would it be faster to install two hard drives together or just one larger one in a computer?
17
votes
7answers
2k views

How to measure disk performance? [duplicate]

A friend has asked me to perform maintenance oh his computer. The described symptoms point to a performance issue with the hard drive. I want to objectively confirm this suspicion by measuring the ...
17
votes
1answer
28k views

Will a 7mm SSD fit in a 9.5mm laptop HDD slot?

I'm planning to purchase a Crucial M4 256G SSD. There are 2 versions though, 7mm and 9.5mm, at the same price on Newegg.com My current laptop is 9.5mm SATAII. However, I plan to purchase a new ...
17
votes
4answers
11k views

Making sense of S.M.A.R.T

First of all, I think everyone knows that hard drives fail a lot more than the manufacturers would like to admit. Google did a study that indicates that certain raw data attributes that the S.M.A.R.T ...
17
votes
2answers
6k views

combining SSD and hard disk in software RAID1?

Does it make sense to build a Linux software RAID-1 (mirroring) using an SSD and a normal hard disk? I want to combine the advantages of SSD (fast transfer rates, fast access times) with the ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What do you call the area on a hard disk smaller than a sector?

So I know about tracks and sectors, but what do you call the "area" on a hard disk that makes up the sector? I'm talking about the spot that stores 1 bit of data, the tiny little area that stores ...
16
votes
5answers
26k views

Good block size for disk cloning with diskdump (dd)

I use dd in its simplest form to clone a hard drive dd if=INPUT of=OUTPUT However, I read in the manpage that dd knows a blocksize parameter. I was wondering whether there is an optimal value for ...
16
votes
8answers
19k views

How to move from one drive to another that's a different size?

I've run into this scenario a few time: I need to replace a drive because I need more space, it's having problems, moving to a new box, etc. What's the best way to copy data from one partition size ...
16
votes
2answers
9k views

Is Windows Hibernation Bad for SSD's? [closed]

I recently got an SSD, and I was wondering if should still continue using Windows Hibernation. My fear is that hibernation would cause significant wear-and-tear on the drive. I have about 8GB of ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Are 3.5 inch SSD drives available? Why so many 2.5inch versions?

I want an SSD SATAIII because to me it represents the best combination of quietest & fastest. But there doesn't seem to be much choice relative to 2.5" variants or non-SSD 3.5". I feel like ...
15
votes
9answers
22k views

How can I use an old PATA hard disk drive on my newer SATA-only computer?

I've got some old hard drives I'd like to connect to my new computer to quickly transfer gigs and gigs of data from the old drives to my nice large new drives. The old drives are PATA/IDE/ATA and the ...
15
votes
11answers
41k views

How to prevent hard drive from spinning down Windows 7?

I had a Western Digital External 1TB drive, which I was accessing via USB. I decided one day, that I would prefer to mount the HDD in my case, and access it via SATA interface. So I took it apart, ...
15
votes
2answers
764 views

Manually flushing write cache on Windows

On *nix systems, a user can use the sync command to force any pending writes in the kernel's disk cache to be flushed to disk. Does Windows have a similar command?
15
votes
5answers
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why does the partition start on sector 2048 instead of 63

I had two drives partitioned the same and running 2 raid partitions on each. One died and I replaced it under warranty for the same model. While trying to partition it, the first partition can only ...
15
votes
4answers
25k views

6Gb/s SATA hard drive with 3Gb/s SATA port?

I know I can use a 3Gb/s SATA hard drive with a 6Gb/s SATA port, but can I use a 6Gb/s SATA hard drive with a 3Gb/s SATA port? I am unable to find a definite answer.
15
votes
5answers
993 views

Why do HDDs suffer from performance loss due to capacity decrease?

Today I was looking over my HDD datasheet(a Western Digital 500GB WD5000BPKT) and I noticed that for its entire family, the "Performance" row "Host to/from drive (sustained)" is nominally decreasing ...
15
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4answers
33k views

What are the differences between primary and logical partition?

What are the major differences? Which is more preferable? Are there any OS specific advantages for one over the other?
15
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1answer
1k views

Cross platform Hard Disk encryption?

I would like to encrypt my hard drive so that it requires a password to access it. However features like BitLocker in Windows will only work under Windows, and cannot be accessed from another OS such ...
15
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1answer
3k views

How can I enable AHCI on a SATA drive after installing Windows?

Can I enable AHCI after installing Windows 7 in a SATA drive that was on IDE mode?
15
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3answers
2k views

Dispose or Recycle Hard Drive

I have 3 old 3.5" internal hard drives sitting gathering dust at the moment. 2 are SATA, and one IDE. I want to either start putting them to use, or dispose of them to clear up some space. What is ...
15
votes
4answers
23k views

How can I force an internal hard drive to power on or off when I want?

Obviously there are power management settings which Windows uses to determine when to power a hard drive off, and when to power it back on again. Powered down I assume doesn't mean absolute zero ...
14
votes
7answers
12k views

How much does a gigabyte worth of data physically weigh on a hard disk? [closed]

What is the physical weight of one gigabyte of memory/storage? Lets say this is on a hard disk. What is the weight associated with the atoms that are actually storing the data on the disk? How has ...