The Hard Disk Guide ;
From throwing our unnecessary files, to defragmenting, from partitions to formats-learn how to keep your hard disk in top shape
The hard disk is place where all your programs and data are stored. If hard disk Stops working you could end up losing all your data. What we’ll do here is take you on. A quick tour of different things you need to know about it, so you can keep it working smoothly.
What is hard disk? The hard disk is a magnetic mass storage device installed in special bays within system unit. The hard disk could do compared to a large cupboard having several shelves With different items being neatly arranged and stored on each self. The hard disk stored all data you need to store on your PC-the operating system (for example, Windows), Software program (for example an office suit), business or household applications and data, games, e-mail message, address books and so on.
A hard disk off assembly line is just a mass of magnetic media. The magnetic surface of hard disk has to be structured into specific areas where data can be stored properly, a process known as formatting. When you buy a new computer, system comes with a formatted hard disk.
A hard disk needs to be divided into partitions before it can be used. The hard disk on a newly purchased computer comes configured with a single large partitions, primary partition (C: in My Computer) and an extended partition, which may be further subdivided into logical partitions (D: E: and so on in My Computer) if required. Partitioning makes storage of data more efficient and reduces access time to retrieve data.
The storage capacity of hard disk has increased by leaps and bounds since IBM XT’s first 10 MB hard disk. Nowadays, 10GB is entry level and 17 GB is common. The hard disk communicates with a PC’s motherboard through an expansion card or a disk interface card.
How does it wok?
The dusk is formatted to divide its magnetic surface into concentric circular paths called tracks (these are like grooves on a phonograph record) and wedge-shaped slices called sectors. Data is stored in form of a file or groups of disk sector called clusters. A disk drive locates data by moving its magnetic read-write head to specific track within a specific sector.
When a new file is created in a freshly formatted hard disk, it is assigned cluster numbers in a sequential order. If file is expanded, then first available clusters are assigned. When file is deleted, their cluster numbers are simply marked as available. Over course of time, when files grow in size to require additional cluster or are deleted, perfectly ordered sequence of clusters gets disturbed, a process known as fragmentation.
Partitioning hard disk Partitioning divides a large hard disk into smaller virtual-not physical-hard disk or partitions, leading to an efficient utilization of space and boosting your PC’s performance. Partitioning could be very useful in following circumstances:
1-One PC, several users-If several persons have to work on same PC, partitions could be assigned for each of them so that each person has his or her own “working space.” This could be useful in home setting too, where you could have separate partitions for your spouse, children’s games, business applications and data and so on.
2-Work on multiple operating systems-You may want to work on more than one operating system on your PC, for example Win98, Linux and Windows95. (Maybe you have applications that work perfectly in Win95 but suddenly crashed in Win98). You can keep these various operating systems safely on same hard disk by installing them in separate partitions.
Partitioning Tools There’re several partitioning tools available for your hard drive. Two of most popular ones are:
1-PartitionMagic Version 4.o for Windows95 and 98-Partition Magic, from Power Quest is a useful and powerful partitioning program. It effortlessly creates, moves, converts and resizes partitions on your hard disk without necessity of reformatting disk of erasing valuable data.
2-FDISK- is a freely available partitioning utility that runs in DOS environment. Its greatest UPS is that it is available for free. It is cumbersome to use and also requires formatting of hard disk (perhaps its biggest drawback).
Formatting a hard disk
As with most mechanical devices, prolonged use of hard disk results in inevitable wear and tear and malfunction. Repeated adding and deleting of files takes its toll on hard disk and you may get disk error, including notorious “fatal error” of Windows. This is an indication that you may need to re-format your hard disk to have it working properly again. However, before deciding to re-format disk it may be worthwhile to try out other alternative- 1-Run Disk Defragmenter 2-Use a cleanup shareware programs such asregclean.exe, available for download.
However, if after trying out these alternatives, you continue to get fatal error message, then you probably need to format your hard disk.
The procedure of formatting is simple enough but has to be done carefully. When you format hard disk, all data on disk is lost-Windows operating system, software programs, business applications data, games, e-mails messages. In short everything.
How to do formatting
Windows 95 1- Double-click on My Computer icon. Then click icon for drive you want to format. (e. g. C:)
2- On File menu, click Format and follow instructions.
Remember that you can not format a disk if there are files open on that disk. If disk has been compressed, use Drivespace or other compression to format disk.
1- Click Start, click Shutdown, click Restart, and then click on OK. 2- Press and hold CTRL key until Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu appears.
3- Select Command prompt only and press Enter. 4- At C:prompt, type format C: and press ENTER. 5- Follow instruction on screen.
After formatting you’re left with a blank hard disk with more space then before. The next step is to restore programs you need on your disk.