Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Prepare for Disk Failures

You can take several steps to prepare yourself-and your computers-for troubleshooting disk problems before the problems occur. First, familiarize yourself with recovery and troubleshooting tools. Use of disk redundancy lessens the impact of hardware failures. Backups ensure minimized data loss when failures occur. Protect yourself from malicious attacks by using antivirus software. Finally, perform regular maintenance on your storage devices. You should familiarize yourself with the System Recovery tools and have a Windows DVD available to start the tools if the hard disks are not available.

Run ChkDsk /f /r regularly to fix file system problems that may appear because of faulty hardware, power failures, or software errors. Schedule downtime to reboot the computer and allow Autochk to resolve problems on boot and system volumes. Regularly review the ChkDsk output and the event log to identify problems that ChkDsk cannot fix.

For desktop computers that store critical, constantly updated data, use hardware disk redundancy (also known as RAID) to allow computers to continue to function if a hard disk fails. Keep replacement disks on hand.

At a minimum, back up critical files nightly. Redundancy does not eliminate the need for backups. Even redundant file systems can fail, and disk redundancy cannot protect against files that are corrupted by an application. You must restore corrupted files from an archival backup created before the corruption occurred.

Viruses, spyware, and other types of malware are a significant source of disk and file system problems. Follow these guidelines to avoid infecting computers with viruses:

  • Install a virus detection program. Configure the virus detection program to automatically retrieve updated virus signatures.
  • Use Windows Update to ensure that operating system files stay up to date.
  • Keep applications up to date, especially Web browsers, which malware often abuses to install unwanted software. Windows Update distributes updates for Internet Explorer.
  • Never run untrusted scripts or applications.
  • Use Windows AppLocker to prevent users from running nonapproved software.

Although fragmentation will not cause a hard disk to fail, it will cause performance problems. To avoid performance problems, schedule the Defrag command-line tool to run regularly during off-peak hours. Store the output of the Defrag tool to a text file and review that text file regularly to ensure that defragmentation is performing as expected. To further minimize problems caused by fragmentation, ensure that all volumes have at least 15 percent free space available.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Troubleshooting Hardware, Driver, and Disk Issues
  2. Windows 7 Improvements for Hardware and Driver Troubleshooting
  3. Windows Troubleshooting Platform
  4. Built-in Troubleshooting Packs
  5. Windows Troubleshooting Platform Components
  6. Creating Custom Troubleshooting Packs
  7. Running Troubleshooting Packs Remotely
  8. Windows 7 Reliability Monitor
  9. Windows 7 Resource Monitor
  10. Windows Memory Diagnostics
  11. Disk Failure Diagnostics
  12. Self-Healing NTFS
  13. Improved Driver Reliability
  14. Improved Error Reporting
  15. The Process of Troubleshooting Hardware Issues
  16. How to Troubleshoot Problems That Prevent Windows from Starting
  17. How to Troubleshoot Problems Installing New Hardware
  18. How to Troubleshoot Problems with Existing Hardware
  19. How to Troubleshoot Unpredictable Symptoms
  20. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  21. How to Use Device Manager to Identify Failed Devices
  22. How to Check the Physical Setup of Your Computer
  23. How to Check the Configuration of Your Hardware
  24. How to Verify That System Firmware and Peripheral Firmware Are Up to Date
  25. How to Test Your Hardware by Running Diagnostic Tools
  26. How to Simplify Your Hardware Configuration
  27. How to Diagnose Disk-Related Problems
  28. How to Use Built-In Diagnostics
  29. How to Use Reliability Monitor
  30. How to Use Event Viewer
  31. How to Use Data Collector Sets
  32. How to Use Windows Memory Diagnostics
  33. Memory Failures
  34. How Windows Automatically Detects Memory Problems
  35. How to Schedule Windows Memory Diagnostics
  36. How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics When Windows Is Installed
  37. How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics from the Windows DVD
  38. How to Configure Windows Memory Diagnostics
  39. How to Troubleshoot Disk Problems
  40. How to Prepare for Disk Failures
  41. How to Use ChkDsk
  42. ChkDsk Examples
  43. ChkDsk Syntax
  44. How to Use the Graphical ChkDsk Interface
  45. How to Determine Whether ChkDsk Is Scheduled to Run
  46. ChkDsk Process on NTFS Volumes
  47. How to Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard
  48. How to Disable Nonvolatile Caching
  49. How to Troubleshoot Driver Problems
  50. How to Find Updated Drivers
  51. How to Roll Back Drivers in Windows 7
  52. How to Use Driver Verifier
  53. How to Use the File Signature Verification
  54. How to Use Device Manager to View and Change Resource Usage
  55. How to Use Windows 7 System Restore
  56. How to Troubleshoot USB Problems
  57. How to Solve USB Driver and Hardware Problems
  58. Understanding USB Limitations
  59. How to Identify USB Problems Using Performance Monitor
  60. How to Examine USB Hubs
  61. How to Troubleshoot Bluetooth Problems
  62. Troubleshooting Tools
  63. DiskView
  64. Handle
  65. Process Monitor