How big is my hard drive?

500 gigabytes, 750 gigabytes, 1 terabytes, 2 terabytes, etc, etc… With so many large hard drives to choose from you would think we would never run out of space on our computers. Though when you purchase that 1 terabyte hard drive (1,000 gigabytes) exactly how much of that hard drive is actually usable space?

As a computer consultant, I am often asked about the above scenario. How much of a hard drive should you be able to use? People all too often cram as much data onto a single drive and then find that once it is full their drive has failed.

A computer’s hard drive is one of the few moving parts inside your computer. Think of your hard drive as a pie…that spins. Your hard drive must spin to access the data present on the drive. Let’s say you have a 500 gigabyte hard drive inside your computer and you are currently using 50% of that hard drive’s space.  That “pie” must turn 180 degrees to fully access all of the data. Add up the times you access different data on your computer and the hard drive is really putting in some serious overtime.

So exactly how much of your hard drive should you be able to use? Well, you can use all of your hard drive’s space but don’t expect to have reliable data storage. The more data placed on a hard drive the harder the drive will have to work in order to access the data. A good rule of thumb is about 30-40% in order to have a reliable hard drive. So for a 500 gigabyte hard drive you can expect to use about 200 gigabytes of storage space and not worry about a hard drive failure.

So what can you do if you are running low on hard drive space or you are using too much of your computer hard drive space? Well, there are a few free software programs to help you out with such a problem.

CCleaner, which is available through the recommended software page, allows you to clean up all of the junk files that accumulate in a hard drive over the years. Not only does it clean out junk but it also cleans out your operating system’s registry.

A good defragmenting program is also crucial to maintain reliable data storage. Defragmenting a hard drive helps by sorting data by importance on a hard drive. The data that is accessed more often will be placed at the front of the drive while other data is placed towards the back.

Download CCleaner and Defraggler from the recommended software page.

By simply following the 30-40% rule of thumb and periodically performing computer maintenance such as cleaning the cache and defragmenting the drive your computer will perform better and be more reliable in the long run.

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Tags: hard,drive,space,computer,defragment,storage,data,gigabyte

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