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Chapter 15. Maintaining Your Windows Vis... > Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors

Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors

Our hard disks store our programs and, most importantly, our precious data, so they have a special place in the computing firmament. They ought to be pampered and coddled to ensure a long and trouble-free existence, but that’s rarely the case, unfortunately. Just consider everything that a modern hard disk has to put up with:

  • General wear and tear— If your computer is running right now, its hard disk is spinning away at between 5,400 and 10,000 revolutions per minute. That’s right, even though you’re not doing anything, the hard disk is hard at work. Because of this constant activity, most hard disks simply wear out after a few years.

  • The old bump-and-grind— Your hard disk includes read/write heads that are used to read data from and write data to the disk. These heads float on a cushion of air just above the spinning hard disk platters. A bump or jolt of sufficient intensity can send them crashing onto the surface of the disk, which could easily result in trashed data. If the heads happen to hit a particularly sensitive area, the entire hard disk could crash. Notebook computers are particularly prone to this problem.

  • Power surges— The current supplied to your PC is, under normal conditions, relatively constant. It’s possible, however, for massive power surges to assail your computer (for example, during a lightning storm). These surges can wreak havoc on a carefully arranged hard disk.


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