Tag Archives: hard drive

Intelligent Reasons Why External Drives Are Still Needed

External hard drive can provide additional storage solutions.

External hard drives can provide additional storage solutions.

Why Do You Still Need That External Drive?

There has been an incredible increase of storage options available which are cloud-based. For subscribers of Office 365, they can store up to 1 TB with the use of Microsoft’s OneDrive. Google offers 100 GB of cloud-based storage for a time period of two years when you purchase Chromebook. This is just a few of the enormous list of options available for cloud-based storage.

You may be asking yourself; with these many options available to me, is there a reason why external drives are still needed? The answer to that question is definitely yes.

Intelligent Reasons for Having One

Backup of Data

The first most obvious reason is data backup. As most computer users know the importance of backing up their data. They understand the possibility of accidents. Computers fall, drinks spill, motherboards burn out from power surges, the list of mishaps is endless.

Sure, you can use cloud storage for data backup, however, there are a few downfalls to this option. First, you must consider costs as well as data caps. Additionally, the time needed to efficiently backup your data is consuming. During the several hours used to upload your data, due to the drainage of bandwidth, your usage on the computer will be limited.

Additional Security

One of the most significant reasons why an external hard drive is still needed with today’s technology is security. There is always the possibility of someone stealing your password: additionally, the company servers of the cloud storage you chose could become a victim of hacking. In either situation, your private data is put at risk to be stolen and used by criminals.

Access Offline and Ability to Travel

Another intelligent reason to use an external hard drive is offline access as well as portability. The majority of external hard drives today are extremely small, approximately the size of your wallet. Due to this small size, they are ideal to bring along with you while away from home. This comes in handy when internet service is unavailable for an extended period of time.

Dependability

Almost all cloud-based servers have dealt with issues in the past where customers storage was unavailable for access. If this happens, how will you retrieve your data needed for work, school, or other important business? External hard drives do not pose this problem and are simple to use.

Cost-Effective

In most cases, the needed amount of storage space to backup data equals more than the amount in which cloud-based providers offer for free. This means you will incur monthly or yearly expenses to store your data. However, costs for an external hard drive is much lower and do not require an ongoing fee.

If you still feel cloud-based storage is right for you, consider the use of an external hard drive for a second backup to ensure the safety of your delicate data. 

Caring for Your Hard Drive and Make it Last Longer

Hard drives can last a bit longer with these tricks.

Hard drives can last a bit longer with these tricks.

Who Wouldn’t Want Their Hard Drive to Last?

Every hard drive is bound to fail eventually, but not at rates that are identical. Six years is a hard drives average life span. There are times this is due to the manufacturer, other times the consumer because we do not care for them as we should. Here is some common reasons for failure and ways of preventing them.

This refers to traditional hard drives, not solid state drives.

1. Physical Damage

This is the most quickest and obvious way for a hard drive to fail. These have a lot of moving parts that even a slight bump while it is spinning can cause problems.

To help prevent this once a hard drive is installed do not remove it. If you need to remove it, do it fast and lightly.

While your computer is on, do shake the computer case. Keep your computer in a place where accidents will be minimized.

Hard drives in a laptop are stronger but you still need to exercise caution. Data corruption can happen from bumping it on the desk or wall while the drive is active active.

2. Excessive Amount of Heat

Hard drives are designed to work in a specific range of temperatures. If airflow is not maintained properly to the inside of the case, temperatures will rise above this range and problems will follow.

Having fans installed in a desktop computer can improve not only your hard drives lifespan but every components lifespan. Air that comes in needs to have a route for escaping that is easy. You do not want air lingering in the case.

To help keep laptops cool, purchase a laptop cooler.

You should get a program, such as SpeedFan to keep watch of what temperature your hard drive runs at.

3. Turning On-and Off Frequently

The action that is most demanding on a hard drive is booting it up and shutting it down. This can wear the hard drive down more than it already gets from normal use.

You do not want to turn your computer on and off several times a day, but you do not want it to stay on at all times either.

A general rule is if you are walking away for longer than one day, shut the computer down. If only walking away for a couple of hours, consider using hibernation or standby mode. If walking away for less than this, either leave it on or put in hibernation or sleep mode.

Even if you take excellent care of your hard drive, it can still end up failing. However, practicing these steps above can be helpful to keep your hard drives running longer. Make sure you know how to have the right amount of space, and how to use it to your advantage for even more hard drive tips and tricks.

 

Free Up Space on Hard Drive or SSD

Free up space on your hard drive.

Free up space on your hard drive.

 

Space is Essential for a Computer

Even with the large amount of space we have on our hard drives, they tend to fill up quickly. There are options of upgraded disk space by replacing your hard drive, or using an external drive. Before we resort to those measures, you can free up space on your current hard drive or SSD.

Run Disk Cleanup

Using Windows 8, right-click on the screens bottom left corner. Now select control panel. Find on the bottom, Administrative Tools, and select Free up disk space. If you have two or more drives, Dick Cleanup will ask you to select which drive you want cleaned. Disk Cleanup now scans how much space on your disk drive you can save. After scan is complete, a dialog box will appear showing how much space you can save at the top of the box. The choices for cleanup include recycle bin, temporary internet files, offline webpages, and more. Now select Clean up system files, toward the bottom of the dialog box. Everything that is selected will now be cleaned.

Uninstall Application No Longer Wanted

Again, open control panel. Under Programs, select uninstall programs. Check all the programs, and select uninstall on ones that you no longer need or use. Before doing this, make sure you know what each program controls before uninstalling.

Remove Window Store Apps Not Needed or Wanted 

Windows 8 comes with many Window store apps already installed, and you can download many, as well. Some people do not use many of these apps, or they no longer want them. These can be deleted. Pointing your mouse upward from right hand lower corner, or swipe inward from the right of screen, select settings. Now select Change PC settings, PC and devices, Disk space, then App sizes. This will give you a list of store apps installed. Select each one you want removed, and hit uninstall. Keep in mind, this only uninstalls them from the user account. You can empty your recycle bin on this page, as well.

Clean Browser Cache

No matter what browser you use, cleaning their cache can free up space. Most times temporary files at approximately one gig, are saved. You should do this occasionally, or when space is desperately needed.

Copy Music, Photos, Videos

If there is music, photos, or videos on your PC that you want to keep, consider copying them to DVD, USB Drive, or an external storage. This can free up plenty of needed space.

External Drives

If you still need room after following these steps, external drives can give a lot of space easily. These come in several types, and sizes. Very simple to use and install.

There are many ways to clean up space, or even get more space on the PC that you’re using. Which you choose to go with depends on the needs and wants you have, and which you feel is the best choice to go with. All of them have pros and cons when it comes to additional storage space for your PC.

Extend Storage with an External Hard Drive

External hard drive can provide additional storage solutions.

External hard drive can provide additional storage solutions.

Get the Storage Space You Need

With the many things we download to our computers, space gets used up quickly. As you look at your hard drive and notice space is running out, there are choices to make. Should you replace your entire hard drive with a bigger one, or use cloud storage? Or there is another choice, an external hard drive. As with most things, there are pros and cons.

Benefits of External Hard Drives

There are numerous benefits with using external hard drives. There is basically an unlimited amount of storage, with being able to add another external drive each time more space is needed. Expanding is with external rather than internal drive, is quick and simple. Majority of times just plug and play. There are rare times that there will be an issue with compatibility, or driver. Another benefit is cost. Compared to using cloud storage, which has an ongoing cost, these drives are generally work out cheaper over time.

Three Cons with External Hard Drives

There are basically only three cons with their use. 0ne, their appearance of clutter may be an issue with some people. There are more cords and one more thing to add to your equipment. Another issue is with ports. After plugging in your keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals, will there be space to plug in the eternal hard drive. There is the option of using a hub, but then there will be another device and cords to be dealt with. The last issue, is when using a laptop rather than desktop PC. You have the choice of carrying it with you, or not have access to that data while on the run.

The Right External Drive for You

There are different types of external hard drives to choose from. The first type, USB drive. Also, the most popular. If you only need small amount of storage, thumb drives are a nice solution. There are also large capacity USB external drives available. You will want to see whether your USB is 2.0, or 3.0. Your device will work either way due to backwards compatibility, but without using 3.0 port with 3.0 device there will be great performance loss.

Thunderbolt and FireWire, are your other choices for connection of an external drive. FireWire uses smaller amount of resources while being more reliable and faster than USB, as well. A newer technology is Thunderbolt, combining functionality of DisplayPort and PCE Express with high transfer speeds. Both of these have better performance, at a higher cost than USB.

With any one of these connections, you can use a traditional hard drive or solid state drive (SSD). The SSD is more reliable but also more costly. Additionally, they are not sold in massive sizes like the traditional hard drives are. Either choice can supply you with the extra storage needed.

 

Solid State Drive Advantages

Hard drives provide a lot of use for your computer.

SSDs provide the power and backing you’re looking for.

 

SSD Technology is Now

With technology moving forward, this means that our hardware will also move in the same direction. Instead of choosing to have a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), that is mechanical, people can now choose a solid state drive (SSD), or both in their computer. There are advantages that a SSD has over a HDD, while performing the same job.

Advantages of Solid State Drives

One advantage in a solid state drive is that the parts do not move, unlike in traditional ones. This gives it more reliability. With parts that move, HDD usually fail, and get worn out faster due to more usage. Without parts moving, there is no shock or vibration damage. The regular hard drive can not operate on temperatures as high as the SSD, also because parts moving. The heat that is generated will be less, and therefore the lifespan is increased.

 Solid State Drive Speed

The rates solid state drives read and write data, is at an increased speed. Accessing data from the HDD, can take approximately 100 times more time, than with the SSD. This helps when booting your system up or down, due to the solid state able to almost instantaneously read the data, because being stored on flash memory chips. Because traditional drives being mechanical, boot time is increased. The HDD takes more time for applications to open, and the performance is not as fast as an SDD. The power that is used to do this, is less than with HDD. Less power being used, will increase your laptops battery life.

There is almost no noise, so you will not have to hear it while watching a movie. With all the components in your computer, a HDD is the loudest, with the parts moving to read and write the data.

Small Form Factor

When you need space in your case, an SDD gives you more with the small size. There is more space available for other components. Even though the size is smaller, that does not interfere with capacity. They are available in the same capacity size as all the other hard drives. The weight is less, giving you a lighter laptop or desktop computer, to move or lift.

Solid state is cost efficient for businesses when it comes to the long run. They last longer, energy usage is less,  and with productivity being greater.

Some people choose to use an SSD for their operating system, and other programs that are important, and use an HDD for the storage of music, pictures, and other stuff that does not require the speed.

Overall a solid state drive beats out the traditional hard disk drive on noise, heat, speed, size, power and ruggedness. They can be placed into an existing computer, or purchased within a computer that you purchase and use.

Understanding the Cloud

 

Upload and keep your files in one place safely.

Upload and keep your files in one place safely.

The Cloud Data Center

Where is the cloud?  The cloud is located in the data center. The place where super-computer servers store your information is connected to the internet. The information, is then recorded at the data center for retrieval with any device that is connected to the internet. The data center will either let you gain access and change the data, or send the data back to you. This is an advantage when wanting to access data from a different device than it originated. Some people might store documents that are not finished for work, or school from their home computer, and retrieve it from work, school, anywhere that has internet, to finish at a later time.

Computer Data Storage Options

During time your data that you store on the hard drive of your computer, or on CD, DVD, or USB thumb drives, but there is another option that will give you vast amounts of storage space. This is called cloud, even though it sounds weather related, it is not. This is a storage system that uses a third party to maintain it. With the cloud, you send through the internet, data that would normally take space on your hard drive or another device used for storage, to a database that a third party maintains. Some are free, while others charge based on the amount of storage you are renting, or a flat fee.

The best part, when you think all is lost, it is actually all on the cloud…

Examples of the Cloud

Some examples of the cloud, that most are familiar with, but did not even realize they are, is Facebook, MySpace, and providers of web based e-mails. With Facebook and MySpace, the users can upload pictures to their site and post them. With the web e-mails, for instance, Yahoo!, and Gmail, they can also be accessed anywhere there is internet. All of the messages you receive are not stored on the device you are on, but on the web e-mails server.

Some of the best services for cloud storage are names that you probably see, but are not sure what they do. Like Google Drive for instance. They offer the user 15GB of storage space, when you link your Google account or make a new one. If you  have a Gmail account, you probably have Google Drive and might not realize it. Another one is by Microsoft called OneDrive, giving 15 GB free also. This has Office integrated into it.

How Safe is Cloud Storage?

While it is convenient to store all your data with cloud, there is questions of security and reliability. There is encryption, a process of authentication, as well as other security features, but any data stored anywhere, including your own PC can be stolen. There are redundancy techniques in place by most services, but there is no guarantee your data will not be lost with a system crash.

When looking for different cloud services available, check the reviews online for each. Reputations are something that can make or break a cloud data center, which makes security and reliability, a top priority.

Computer Takes Forever To Shut Down

Do you hate that your computer takes forever to shutdown? There are many different causes that can effect the shut down process of your computer system. Let’s go through a few causes and possible fixes to result in faster shut down times

Windows Updates

From time to time your computer will update the operating system and during this processes shut down and start-up times are increased. Should this take to long you may need to restart the computer due to a glitch in your system. I have seen this process snag and freeze but that is a rare occurrence. There really isn’t a way to speed up the updating process.

Viruses

Always make sure your antivirus subscription is up to date and the definitions are updated regularly as well. Run regular scans to detect infections. Viruses can cause longer shut down times. Improperly turning off the computer can create a shut down problem.

Hard Drive

Your hard drive can be a determining factor in the time it takes for your system to shut down. A failing hard drive can cause a laptop or desktop computer to take an extremely long time shutting down. It is a best practice to seek professional help if  there is any possibility of a hard drive failing. When this problem is caught in time you can save all of your data from being corrupted or lost forever.

Temporary Files

Clearing your temporary files from your computer and browser can help in eliminating a lot of  memory usage that is unnecessary.

General maintenance should be performed on a regular basis of about twice a year. This helps keep your system healthy and running at optimum performance. To have PC maintenance done by professionals contact IQ Computer Services to keep your system at it’s best.

Top 10 Laptop Care Tips

Top 10 Laptop Care Tips

Many people have laptops but don’t understand how to take care of them. Here are ten quick tips on caring for your laptop:

  1. DustingUsing a can of compressed air, gently blow dust out the fan and keyboard.
  2. Cleaning – Ensure you clean your laptop regularly.  A clean computer runs better and is easier to see what is on your screen.
  3. Drops– Use a cushioned laptop case when on the go to prevent damage from an accidental drop.
  4. Spills– It is good practice not to eat or drink around your computer to avoid messy spills.
  5. Update OS– Most updates are created to fix or prevent known issues that may be potentially harmful to your laptop.
  6. Storage ( Put It Away) – Store your laptop somewhere safe to prevent it from getting stepped on and to keep it away from children and pets.
  7. Properly vent when in use– Setting your system on a blanket or couch cushion during use can cause the laptop to overheat due to insufficient ventilation.
  8. Battery care – Don’t leave your laptop plugged in all the time. Use the battery and when it needs to be charge plug it in. This will keep you battery functioning properly.
  9. Care for your power cord – Knotting and twisting up your power cord can cause the wiring inside to fray making it useless. Keep it put away to be sure pets can’t chew it.
  10. Antivirus– Always run some kind of antivirus to keep your laptop safe from malicious software. Updating your antivirus regularly will help save you money and precious data.

Following these laptop care tips can keep your laptop running great for years.

 

How To Back Up PC Using Windows

hard drive

Back Up Your Computer

 

In this time where your entire life is stored on your computer, a backup can save all that you hold dear. Whether it be movies, photos, documents, school work, tax or business records,  if you don’t backup your files you risk losing them forever.  A computer virus could cripple your everyday life by making your computer unusable.  Fortunately, Microsoft included a built-in application without having to purchase another program.  I am going to tell you step by step how to create a system backup in Windows 7 to protect yourself from disaster. Other Windows operating systems versions vary.

 Backup Using Windows 7

  • First, pick a storage device – external hard drive, CD, DVD, or flash drive (Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise offers a network drive backup feature)

    laptop dvd back up

    DVD, Flash Drive Back Up

  • Ensure your chosen media is ready for use
  • Now click Start
  • Click  Control Panel
  • Select System and Security
  • Click Backup and Restore
  • Now choose Set up Backup
  • Click the media selected for backup and click Next
  • Select Let Windows Choose (recommended)
  • Click Next
  • You can schedule automatic backups or just simply disable
  • Click Save Settings and Exit
  • Finally click Backup Now

Depending on how much data you are backing up, this process can take from a few minutes to a few hours.  It is really worth the wait for the piece of mind knowing that when the worst happens and the computer crashes the files you backup are still safe and ready for a system restore. Even those who are buying a new PC can take advantage of backing up their old computer and moving things easily to the new PC.

How Often Should I Back Up My Files?

Backing up your PC is not something you should do once in a while.  You should complete back ups regularly to ensure your important files, and memories are safe. You never know when something like hard drive failure could happen and your computer just doesn’t start-up the next morning.

USB 3.0 Explained

usb 3.0 port

Laptop USB 3.0 Port

 

 

 

 

 

 

USB 3.0 Comparision
USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Transfer Speed 5 gbit/s 480 mbit/s
Cable Length 2-5 m 2-5 m
Hot Pluggable Yes Yes
Electrical 5.00+0.25-0.55 V 5.00±0.25 V
Max Devices 127 127

 

usb_3.0

USB 3.0 Connector and Cable

 

 

Tired Of Waiting On Slow File Transfers?

Welcome the latest edition in computer connectivity.  USB 3.0 is the newest revision to the Universal Serial Bus standard for computers and media devices. This improvement over USB 2.0 offers up to 10 times faster transfer speeds. Along with faster transfer speeds USB 3.0 boasts more efficient power management. The important thing to remember when taking advantage of USB 3.0 is that you must use USB 3.0 cables, ports, and devices. For example, if a USB 3.0 hard drive or flash drive is plugged in to a USB 2.0 port then the transfer speed will max out at the USB 2.0 capability. It is easy to tell when you are dealing with USB 3.0 because of the blue connection or SS(Super Speed) that is stamped on it.  Get started with a new flash drive today!