Here is something to think about, generally as long as the computer is working, we don’t give it much thought. When a virus strikes many jump into action as their data may not be backed up and they run the risk of losing pictures, music, video, documents, spreadsheets, tax info Quickbooks, you get the idea. Something else to consider is disk space. Modern computers generally come with much larger hard drives then those we say even 5 or 6 years ago. As the computer becomes the catch all for our memories and in some cases business life we need to keep an eye on how much storage we have. Windows itself, takes more and more space with each update, compound that with the files that may get stored from emails, programs you install and may never use space disappears rapidly. If you have large video/music collection that is stored on your main hard drive and/or have an older XP machine that may only have a 40-80 GB hard drive you run the risk of running out of space.
What can happen? On older machines with limited physical memory (RAM) as you open more programs windows needs more resources to keep things going and it tries to use hard disk space (swap file) to execute your commands. When this is limited windows grinds to halt, some folks will delete a few files here and there to try and keep things going, what happens is the drive becomes more and more fragmented, slowing you down even further. I recently ran into a situation that required extensive data recovery due to file system corruption from running out of space.
What are some of your options?
- When purchasing a new computer go for a big hard drive! Setting up a second partition for data files can simplify things for data management and if you need to recover files.
- For desktop computers there is usually space and accommodations for multiple hard drives. Hard drives can be “cloned” to the larger drive to increase space or transfer the data files to the new hard drive.
- Laptops generally have space for one drive, again we can clone the drive to a larger one, or set up an external drive or network storage drive to store the files.
- Cloud storage is an inexpensive way to back up or store data files.
A good rule of thumb is when your free disk space is less than 30% of the total drive it is time to start looking into options.
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