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Did you just buy a dud? Hard drives 101

So you are running out of space and you just bought some shiny new hard drives but what do you do now? There are a number of things you can do to ensure the long life of your hard drives and avoid early catastrophes:

Step 1.
Inspect the drive for any physical damages during travel or shipment. If there are any, return it immediately. It will not be worth your time or risk!

Step 2.
Physically label the drive with a sticky label and give it a name that matches the name you give it in the computer. Include the warranty date. This helps when you need to know if you have pulled out the right hard drive. Also if it’s gone bad you will know if it’s still in warranty, lickity split.

Step 3.
Format and zero the hard drive. Most info you’ll find online will tell you that zeroing the hard drive is for security purposes when selling or discarding a drive. What I’m advocating is that you zero all data just after purchasing it. Here’s why:

- When running the full zeroed format the computer will write data to every nook and cranny on that hard drive. If there are any bad sectors on that drive you will likely find out about it when running this full format.
- The drive will run a smidge faster.
- If you have multiples of the same drive, you can record how long each drive takes to format and compare the results. This will also be a sign all of your drives are in good working order and ready to go if they all formated in the same amount of time.


Zeroing all data on your hard drive basically means that you will complete the erasure process fully, as opposed to just initializing it, which only partially empties the directory. For instance, if “available” space is listed instead of “empty” space in the finder references, that points to the fact that files still exist on the hard drive. We want to start with a clean, fully formated drive that we can rely on.

This is standard practice on all of our new drives.   Don’t forget, Zero & label those drives!