Drive Maintenance (e-book)

Tips for managing hard drives, flash drives, and more

Windows 8 Guide, Volume 2

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These days, your hard drives often function as your digital file cabinets. They store photos, books, music, and film libraries; they’re where you keep letters, financial documents, lists, and so on – in other words, much of life’s miscellaneous data. That’s strong motivation to take good care of these vital repositories.

This ebook, Windows Secrets Guide, Drive Maintenance, collects recent Windows Secrets Newsletter articles aimed at helping you understand your hard drives, expand their capacities and length of life, and recover what you can from them when they fail – as eventually, all drives do.

Accordingly, the first section, “Hard-drive maintenance,” describes types of hard drives and the ways they work plus useful tools and techniques for maximizing hard-drive space and performance.

The second section, “Hard-drive troubleshooting,” addresses hard-drive mishaps and disasters: how to diagnose your hard drive’s trouble, what you can do to restore a drive, and how you might recover your data.

The third section, “Working with solid-state drives,” addresses hard-drive technology changes and practices no longer useful when you’re depending on SSDs and/or hybrids of SSD and spinning platter types of drives.

In all sections of this guide, you can depend on the writers to tell you why some practices are better than others, just as the articles did when they were first published in the Windows Secrets Newsletter.

Table of Contents

Part 1: General drive maintenance

    • Easy ways to gain more hard-drive space
    • Four free hard-drive maintenance tools
    • What you should know about disk-defrag reports
    • Hard-drive partitioning gives better protection
    • For heavy-duty disk partition work
    • Error-checking and cleaning hard drives
    • Some general notes on drive size and backups
    • Reusing old-style IDE/PATA hard drives
    • Sanitizing a drive
    • Tools for easily cloning CDs and DVDs

Part 2: Hard drive troubleshooting

    • How to recover from an accidental reformat
    • Hard-drive crash! A tour of a data-recovery lab
    • A heavy-duty drive-/data-recovery tool
    • A tip on deleting phantom drive letters
    • Hard drive shows wrong icon type
    • Recovering from “… restore failed”
    • Rescue Windows with a bootable flash drive
    • Tools for solving bootable flash drive problems
    • Formatting an ‘unformattable’ flash drive
    • Unlocking a read-only USB flash drive
    • Multiple options to obtain recovery discs

Part 3: Working with solid-state drives

    • Drive alignment and solid-state drives
    • Restoring SSDs from non-SSD image backups
    • Expanding or replacing a solid-state drive
    • Whether hybrid hard drives should be defragged
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