Minimizing Hard Disk Drive Failure and Data Loss/Stress Control
Fragmentation control edit
File system fragmentation increases disk head movement, thus possibly decreasing the life of a drive. It is therefore possible that defragmentation increases the lifespan of the drive by minimizing its head movement and simplifying data access operations.
Additionally, file systems such as NTFS and most Unix and Linux file systems are designed to decrease the likelihood of fragmentation. This is an added reason for preferring NTFS over FAT32 under Windows. In Windows 2000 and higher, a FAT32 file system can be converted to NTFS using the convert.exe tool.
Defragmenting your hard drive in Windows can usually be done through the start menu, listed under accessories and system utilities. You can also defragment from
mmc.exe, the Microsoft Management Console, by adding the disk defragmenter snap-in. Note that you might need administrator privileges to defragment your drive.
Power cycling control edit
Shutting down and rebooting a computer or resuming it from hibernation cycles the power to the drives in the computer. The spin-up operation performed by a drive after a power cycle is believed to place more stress on the drive than running the drive continuously for a long period of time.
Based on professional experience of system administrators, it is believed that there is a direct relationship between the number of power cycles of a computer and the probability of failure of its drives. In other words, a computer with a high uptime may have a lower probability of drive failure than one that has been power cycled routinely.