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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

28
votes
10answers
3k 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
3answers
2k views

Hard disk only recognized if it has already spun up

So here's a weird issue: When you first turn on this desktop computer, it does not recognize that it has a hard drive in it. However, if you then press the reset button, or turn it off and back on ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are there different lengths of contacts on SATA connectors?

I have looked around, but cannot seem to find out why. On SATA drives (2.5 and 3"), there are variable lengths to the copper contacts on both the data and power ports on the drives. These variations ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is FAT32 limited to just under 2^28 clusters?

With FAT16 the maximum partition size is 2GB when your maximum cluster size is 32K. This is calculated by multiplying the number of addressable units by the cluster size. (216 Allocation units) * ...
28
votes
5answers
43k 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'?
28
votes
4answers
33k views

Windows Disk I/O 100% at boot for 20 Minutes

I have a fast computer (quad-core i7, 3.5 Ghz, 24 GB of RAM, Windows 8.1) and I installed a new hard drive less than a year ago that was supposed to be as fast as you could buy for an HHD and not an ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

Hard drives and types — what makes them so different?

7200 RPM Western Digital Blacks are designed to be faster than Western Digital Blues/Greens. They are the same speed, same cache, etc. What really makes them actually faster? Does it have to do ...
28
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
27
votes
9answers
10k 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?
27
votes
8answers
4k views

Can a massive MySQL data import on an SSD damage it?

I have to import quite a lot of data (~100 million rows, ~100 times) into a MySQL database. Currently, it is stored on my hard disk drive, and the bottleneck of my import seems to be the hard disk ...
27
votes
7answers
17k 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 ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is my Seagate USB 3.0 drive showing corrupted data when plugged as an internal SATA drive?

I have a 3TB Seagate Backup Plus Desktop USB 3.0 drive, which works fine when in its enclosure, but when I get it off its enclosure and directly plug it as an internal SATA drive, it's just not ...
26
votes
3answers
4k views

How do software programs determine the HDD temperature?

Some software programs can etermine the temperature of the hard drive. E.g. HWMonitor: I say that there must be a thermometer inside the HDD and the data (via SMART) is passed as regular info to ...
26
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
26
votes
2answers
3k views

Would these magnets be enough to damage a portable HDD? [duplicate]

As per the title, would these magnets be enough to damage a portable hard drive such as this Seagate GoFlex if left next to each other for longer than, say, 20 minutes? Thankfully, this is all ...
26
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
101k 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, ...
25
votes
7answers
3k 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 its origin and original use?
25
votes
2answers
30k views

How to assign permanent drive letters to removable USB hard drives?

I have scripts that expect specific drive letters for hard drives. Windows sometimes assigns the different drive letters (e.g. I expected my Maxtor drive to be E: but it's now F:, therefore my ...
24
votes
11answers
61k 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, ...
24
votes
6answers
164k views

How to detect if a USB port is 3.0 or 2.0?

I have a Toshiba Canvio 3.0 external HDD. It has USB 3.0. It flashes blue if you connect it to a USB 3.0 port. If it is a 2.0 port, the light becomes white. Yesterday, I plugged it in and the light ...
24
votes
9answers
25k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
33k views

Use physical harddisk in Virtual Box

Using Virtual Box, how can I install an OS to a secondary, physical disk, and boot it in both (at separate times) Virtual Box, and as a typical secondary OS install?
24
votes
7answers
33k 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?
24
votes
6answers
73k 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
5k 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
12answers
13k 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Can data on a hard disk degrade without Windows warning me that this has happened when I attempt to access the data?

Is it likely that a physical degradation of a hard disk could cause bits to 'flip' in file contents without the OS 'noticing' and telling you about it when reading the file? e.g. could a 'p' in an ...
23
votes
6answers
25k views

How do I determine what file occupies a given sector?

I have a hard drive with 3 bad sectors. I know the sector numbers and the computer can still boot into Windows. I want to run sector repair from an HDD diagnostics tool from the manufacturer, but ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

5400rpm HDD speeds in a USB 3.0 connectivity enclosure

I plan to replace my laptop's 5400rpm HDD with an SSD in the near future. I then want to make the old HDD an external HDD. I want to get it to work with USB 3.0. Will I get better speeds from my ...
23
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
12k 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
3answers
4k views

Hard drive clicking for 16 times during startup

Sometimes when I boot my laptop the hard drive makes a clicking sound (every time 16 times), Windows does not start and I am stuck on the boot screen (note: F2, F4 or any other key do not respond). ...
22
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
75k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
51k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
59k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
71k views

Reset File and Folder Permission of External Hard Drive Data to default in windows 7

I have External Hard and changed some security setting of files and now I am not able to access in my other system. I am admin in this system is there any tool that can make all setting of all content ...
21
votes
5answers
25k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
54k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
25k 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, ...
20
votes
7answers
23k views

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

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 ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

Confusion with storage capacity (powers of 10 and 2) [duplicate]

I was taking a look at a HDD and I found a document (from Toshiba, link: 2.5-Inch SATA HDD mq01abdxxx) that says: "One Gigabyte (1GB) means 10^9 = 1,000,000,000 bytes using powers of 10. A computer ...
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
votes
7answers
88k 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 ...
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 ...