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.
In this tutorial:
- Troubleshooting Hardware, Driver, and Disk Issues
- Windows 7 Improvements for Hardware and Driver Troubleshooting
- Windows Troubleshooting Platform
- Built-in Troubleshooting Packs
- Windows Troubleshooting Platform Components
- Creating Custom Troubleshooting Packs
- Running Troubleshooting Packs Remotely
- Windows 7 Reliability Monitor
- Windows 7 Resource Monitor
- Windows Memory Diagnostics
- Disk Failure Diagnostics
- Self-Healing NTFS
- Improved Driver Reliability
- Improved Error Reporting
- The Process of Troubleshooting Hardware Issues
- How to Troubleshoot Problems That Prevent Windows from Starting
- How to Troubleshoot Problems Installing New Hardware
- How to Troubleshoot Problems with Existing Hardware
- How to Troubleshoot Unpredictable Symptoms
- How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
- How to Use Device Manager to Identify Failed Devices
- How to Check the Physical Setup of Your Computer
- How to Check the Configuration of Your Hardware
- How to Verify That System Firmware and Peripheral Firmware Are Up to Date
- How to Test Your Hardware by Running Diagnostic Tools
- How to Simplify Your Hardware Configuration
- How to Diagnose Disk-Related Problems
- How to Use Built-In Diagnostics
- How to Use Reliability Monitor
- How to Use Event Viewer
- How to Use Data Collector Sets
- How to Use Windows Memory Diagnostics
- Memory Failures
- How Windows Automatically Detects Memory Problems
- How to Schedule Windows Memory Diagnostics
- How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics When Windows Is Installed
- How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics from the Windows DVD
- How to Configure Windows Memory Diagnostics
- How to Troubleshoot Disk Problems
- How to Prepare for Disk Failures
- How to Use ChkDsk
- ChkDsk Examples
- ChkDsk Syntax
- How to Use the Graphical ChkDsk Interface
- How to Determine Whether ChkDsk Is Scheduled to Run
- ChkDsk Process on NTFS Volumes
- How to Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard
- How to Disable Nonvolatile Caching
- How to Troubleshoot Driver Problems
- How to Find Updated Drivers
- How to Roll Back Drivers in Windows 7
- How to Use Driver Verifier
- How to Use the File Signature Verification
- How to Use Device Manager to View and Change Resource Usage
- How to Use Windows 7 System Restore
- How to Troubleshoot USB Problems
- How to Solve USB Driver and Hardware Problems
- Understanding USB Limitations
- How to Identify USB Problems Using Performance Monitor
- How to Examine USB Hubs
- How to Troubleshoot Bluetooth Problems
- Troubleshooting Tools
- Process Monitor