How to Prevent External Hard Drive Failure

External Hard Drives (EHD) are delicate and can malfunction or get destroyed if not handled well. As important as it is, not many people know how to prevent EHD failure. The life span of your external hard disk is dependent on how you take care of it. There are some best practices you ought to observe. These measures are taken to prevent EHD failure or corruption.

EHD failure is unpredictable. Many things could lead to the corruption or failure of an external hard disk. However, some best practices could prevent your disk from failing. These precautions prolong the “life span” of an EHD and prevent data loss in case of a hard drive crash. This article will explore the DOs & DON’Ts of handling hard drives.

external hard drive

Here’re the best practices:

  • Backup Your EHD
  • Assess Your Backup
  • Avoid Jostling
  • Avoid Overheating
  • Use the Cables Meticulously
  • Backup & Dispose Accordingly
  • Keep Away From Dust
  • Eject Properly
  • Read Product Guide
  • Replace When Necessary

Backup Your EHD

It’s advisable to backup your external hard drive. Keeping only a copy of EHD means that you could lose all your files if the disk corrupts or fails. Having a copy in the cloud and another disk in a separate, safe physical location is the best strategy. In case you mistakenly lost your files, see how to recover deleted files from your PC.

backup your computer

Assess Your EHD

Are you sure everything is fine with your EHD? How do you know your EHD is reliable? The point is that you can’t say your disk is working until you try restoring your files from it. To not be frustrated on the day of “adversity,” test your EHD by restoring your data. More often than not, people don’t know the state of their storage devices until they need it. The right approach? Test your external hard drive from time to time. 

Avoid Jostling

Both SSD and HDD can break down when jostled or moved while running. HDD is more susceptible to damage than SSD. HDD has moving parts. Moving it around roughly will cause the moving parts to wear away. When handled roughly, some cables may disconnect, leading to corruption or loss of data. Avoid any form of physical damage to your disk – keep it in a safe place and handle it like a breakable.

Avoid Overheating

Don’t keep EHD plugged into a power source for an extended period. It’s bound to overheat if you do so. Like every electronic product, heat weakens external hard drives. When using your EHD, follow the instructions in the product guide. However, it’s advisable to remove it from power when it overheats. Unplug from time to time, even when you want to run it for a long time. 

Use the Cables Meticulously

While using the cables, be careful not to destroy the pins. Some EHD problems start with the wires and plugs. Once you start repairing the cables, it might affect the core parts of the disk. This is more likely to happen when original cables are replaced with wires of different specifications and quality. Running a hard disk with an incompatible cable can crash the device.

Backup & Dispose Accordingly

Before you get rid of your storage device, backup your files and erase the memory. You can remove the files/ data with a wiping tool. It isn’t enough to wipe it; make sure it’s irrecoverable. When you fail to do this, someone can pick it up and have access to your files. You can also achieve this by destroying the disk physically.

Keep Away From Dust

Like other electronic devices, dust affects the functionality of hard disks. Make sure you keep it out of dust and clean it consistently.

Eject Properly

Improper ejection can lead to data loss and other irregularities. This applies to other external devices like USB. After using your EHD with a computer:

  1. Don’t disconnect abruptly.
  2. Make sure you eject following the computer’s ejection steps.
  3. When you click eject, allow it to process before you disconnect physically.

eject properly

Proper ejection is one of the little things that count. As simple as it is, users are always tempted not to follow the ejection process. Taking these little rules for granted is what leads to some of the EHD problems. Do well to follow the best practices no matter how busy you’re.

Read the Product Guide

We break many rules when we fail to read product manuals. Manufacturers give instructions as regards how to use a product properly. Make sure you study your external hard disk guide. It will help you avoid mistakes that could lead to EHD failure.


Replace When Necessary

Replace your hard disk as soon as you notice that it’s developing faults you can’t handle. If your drive becomes unreliable, replace it. Even when you keep using it, the backup will be there to help you recover your files in case of a crash or failure.


How long your external hard drive lasts is partly dependent on how you handle it. It’s a delicate device; consequently, you’ve got to treat it as one. Adhering to the best practices outlined above will help secure your files and prevent your EHD from failing.

SEE ALSO: How to fix your overheating laptop

Author Bio:


Anyalebechi Elisha is a cyber security blogger and freelance SEO Copywriter. He loves SEO and has a knack for SEO copywriting. His hobbies? He delights in in-door games and reading self-help books.

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