Maintaining your hard drive in Windows 8 is important because it makes your files open faster, keep them safe, and free up space for downloading and saving new files.
It does not take a lot of time to maintain your hard drive, and it is not hard to do. Maintaining your hard drive is also safe to do.
All you need to do to maintain your hard drive is run scan disk, disk defrag, and disk cleanup utilities to properly maintain your hard drives. Scan disks scans, and checks your hard drives for errors, and trys to fix them. Disk Defrag re-arrange files on your computer hard drive, so your hard drive can open them faster because the files are not scattered all over the drive, and are in one place. Disk Cleanup deletes unnecessary and temporary files like temporary internet and system files to get back free space on your computer hard drives by deleting non-important files.
I personally use Advance System Care Pro by Iobit for all my hard drive and Windows maintenance tasks since once I install it, it maintains my entire computer automatically, or manually with a click of the mouse in the scanner program on ASC.
Windows 8 comes with a scan disk, disk defrag/optimize, and, disk cleanup programs to maintain your computer’s hard drives. I recommend you do a disk cleanup first before you do a scan disk of a drive, and lastly do a disk defrag because a disk cleanup will clean up junk files, and a scan disk will have fewer files to scan. A Disk defrag also takes longest, but if there are no junk files and disk errors on a hard drive, a disk defrag will be faster.
Some Disk Defrag software like Auslogic Disk Defrag recommends that your hard drive have at least 10% free space to properly defrag your hard drive. Auslogics Disk Defrag also has a Defrag and Optimize feature which is slower, but will optimize the file placement of your files for faster performance when it finish its defrag and optimize task.
You can access the disk defrag, disk scan in the tools section of the hard drive properties. To access the Properties of the drive, you can right click on the drive in the Windows Explorer left sidebar, and pick properties when you right click on the drive. The Disk Cleanup program is found on the General tab in properties.
There are also free and paid third party software like Auslogic Disk Defrag, and Iobit’s Advance System Care 6 which has a free version which comes with a disk cleanup program, disk defrag program, and scan disk program, and the paid version which automatically maintain your computer when it is idle, and not doing much, so you do not have to manually do disk clean ups, and defrags as much. CCleaner, Bleachbit, and Wise Disk Cleaner are all pretty good free disk cleanup programs for Windows 8. A lot of programs like web browsers, and web browser plug-ins like Adobe Flash, and Java also let you manually clean up your temporary internet files which can fix instability, and website problems where websites are not displayed properly. Emptying an internet browser’s history may make your computer and web browser run faster when online.
If your computer uses a solid state drive/SSD, you do not need to defrag your hard drive, but you can use the built-in or third-party drive optimizer to optimize your SSD for better performance. A SSD does not need to be defragged because it is totally digital with no moving parts, but you can optimize the drive with the built-in Windows drive optimize program.
Backing up and scanning files for viruses to prevent data lost
I also recommend manually backing up your files to a USB hard drive, another computer, CDs, DVDs, online, and other computer storage types to keep your files safe if your computer hard drive breaks, or get stolen. Windows 8 has a back up program built-in to Windows for backing up files, and there are also a lot of free and paid backup programs for backing up your files at scheduled times, but backup programs could make your computer slower when backing up files if your computer is very old. There is also Computer hard drive cloning, and imaging software which backup your entire computer drive to a USB hard drive, another hard drive, or DVD-R discs, so you can easily re-install Windows, your programs, and all your files by re-imaging your hard drive image/clone file to a new hard drive, or your old hard drive which got infected by a virus, malware, or spyware.
It is also important to scan external hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs, and memory cards for virus, spyware, and malware programs with an antivirus before you open files located on them to prevent virus infections. Some anti-virus automatically scan USB and removable drives for virus and malware programs, and disable auto-run cds, usb drives, and storage to prevent auto-run files from infecting your files.
You should also regularly keep your anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, and other computer security software up to date, and scan your computer for viruses, spyware, and malware on a weekly basis. Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender which protects your computer files from many virus programs in real-time, and updates automatically with Windows Updates. Windows 8 also has SmartScreen which stops you from visiting websites with virus programs, spyware, and other dangerous programs. SmartScreen also blocks un-trusted programs from installing on your computer.
Maintianing your computer hardware for more reliable hard drives
If your computer is over heating a lot, your computer hard drive won’t last as long since heat is bad for electronics, and can damage or melt circuit boards if it is too hot.
Also, if your power supply in your desktop or laptop power adapter is broken, you should replace it with a new one because power surges can break hard drives as well. Signs of a bad power supply could be random reboots, the fan on the power supply is no longer spinning on desktop power supplies, and the computer randomly turns off.
Corrupt/Broken RAM can cause data errors which causes you to lose unsaved work or old files which you saved when you had bad RAM. Random reboots, freezes, and shutdowns can be signs of bad RAM.
I recommend maintaining your hard drive by doing a scan disk, disk cleanup, and disk defrags to maintain, fix, and optimize your computer hard drive performance on a monthly or weekly basis depending on how often you use your computer, and what you use your computer for.