How to re-certify your harddrive.
Most people do nothing with their harddrives after they install them into their system. But, actually you need to perform a yearly maintenance on your drive in order to stave off problems that are sure to come. This maintenance is called re-certifying.
Re-certifying is cleaning the data from the HDD and re-logging the bad sectors and re-aligning the heads to the data tracks. One of the simplest ways is to run scandisk in an old MSDOS format. But with today's new drives and the Windows Versions we have, this really isn't the best way.
Depending upon your HDD manufacturer, most have a free program for doing this repair. At the Western-DigitalÂ® site you can download this program:
It is called Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows
SeagateÂ® can be found here:
There are several versions of this program for different HDD makers. You only need to go to their website and look for the software. Usually found under "Support".
Now this program will erase data on your harddrive so you must take precautions and backup the entire drive with a copy program. I always use another HDD to do this. Here is how I do this maintenance.
1. Buy an exact duplicate of the HDD you now have.
2. Install it into the system as a slave or secondary drive.
3. Prepare the drive by Partioning it and then formating it so that Windows recognizes it.
4. Using a cloning software**, clone the main drive to the secondary drive.
5. Now remove the old main drive and put the new drive in it's place on the motherboard
connectors making it # 1 or # 0.
6. With the new drive connected and power connected restart the system and boot into
7. Once Windows is up and running and you have checked all your programs for function, and
checked to see that all your pictures and data are intact then turn the system off.
8. Now reconnect the old HDD into the system board again using #2 or #3. Restart Windows.
9. Using Windows Administrative tools, find the old drive and re-partition it to one partition and
then rename it "OLD DRIVE".
10. Now, using the Diagnostic software you got from your HDD manufacturer's website, do an
extensive testing of the drive checking it for any defects. Then by writing zeroes to all sectors.
11. Once this completes (I leave it going all night) then your HDD is re-certified and ready for use.
12. Now in about a year, do this again by swapping the drives back again with each other.
Doing this will keep your drives fresh and lasting much longer than just pounding on them day after day when they are out of tune.
It's like driving a car with a motor that has bad spark plugs. It may get you down the road each day, but sooner or later, it is going to stop running. And usually when you need it the most.
**You can find free cloning software on the internet. Here is a very good free one:
This is a picture of the connectors for the HDD's. Your's may have 2 or 4 of these. Their designations are printed on the MB.
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