As significant as computers have become in shaping our daily life they are often left off the list of top things we need to keep healthy in order to ensure reliability. While we ensure our oil is changed in the car so that we don’t ruin the engine and we keep batteries in our flashlights in the event we lose power at our house many of us fail to protect our computer from potentially catastrophic problems that could easily be prevented.
For many of us our computers have become our personal storage space for things like family photos, tax returns, work documents, music files, email communications and so much more. We have this belief that whenever we turn on our computer we’ll be able to access these files and documents with little trouble and when that doesn’t happen we feel betrayed yet more often than not our computer gave us fair warning, we just didn’t heed the message.
We know that if we don’t change that oil in the car the engine will eventually burn out and if we don’t change the batteries in our flashlights we will be left in the dark, so when we fail to protect our computers from diseases we shouldn’t be surprised when the hard drive crashes.
Just as we take the time to maintain and protect those other things we rely on, we should spend the few minutes it takes to safeguard our computers from a disaster that we almost certainly don’t want to face.
So what do we need to protect our computers from? We have all heard about computer viruses that can install harmful spyware and malware and we all know about the headaches associated with spammers but many of us don’t know the first thing about fragmentation. With our awareness of viruses and spam its almost common practice to install software that will guard against attacks from these sources but our ignorance when it comes to fragmentation opens the door to another serious problem that we can’t afford to overlook.
We know what to look for when it comes to viruses and spam. It seems like every week we’re being warned about an email that shouldn’t be opened or a link that should never be followed yet we never hear about the damage done to our hard drive because of fragmented files.
It may not cause as much of a stir in the media but the consequences of fragmentation can be irreversible and result in the loss of everything that has been placed on the hard drive. To understand what fragmentation is you only need to understand how your hard drive was designed and the manner in which it stores and saves files. A hard drive will save these files in a contiguous manner, placing them one after the next as they are saved. This may sound harmless but the problems will quickly become apparent.
Fragmentation begins to take off as saved files are recalled, modified and then resaved. Because of the contiguous method in which the hard drive saves files there is no room for additions to a saved file. The hard drive’s answer is to cut the excess information and save it in the next available space, this is now a fragmented file. The next time that file is requested the hard drive has to find the pieces that comprise that file and when it’s resaved it becomes fragmented once again. Over time a single file can be broken into thousands of pieces and this wears on the hard drive’s ability to operate.
This means that all areas of the computer’s operability are affected so when you begin to experience difficulty booting up your computer, accessing and sending email, a slowdown in file retrieval and loading applications and your Internet browsing is sluggish then the chances are your hard drive has been flooded with fragmented files.
As the fragmented files continue to multiply the hard drive’s reliability suffers and soon you’ll find it difficult to access requested files and applications. This will eventually evolve into the loss of those files and if the problem continues to be ignored the hard drive will crash and everything will be lost.
That’s a heavy price to pay for ignoring a problem that could easily be averted. In order to protect your hard drive from such a crash you need only install defragmentation software. This is as simple as changing the oil or batteries only better because it only has to be done once.
Defrag software will scan the hard drive and find the files that have been fragmented and then repair the files and save them in one space. By eliminating the hard drive’s need to search for pieces the computer’s speed is dramatically increased and it becomes the reliable tool that we all want.
Not only will defrag software repair the existing files on the hard drive but will continue to monitor the hard drive to ensure files don’t become fragmented in the future. This would be like your oil changing itself or the batteries testing themselves, why would you not protect the life of your computer with something as simple as defrag.