10 Easy Tips to Protect External Hard Drives from Failure

🕔 3 minutes read

“External hard drive suddenly stopped working” the line itself is so scary which reminds me about lots of data stored on my external hard drive. Really scary right? If so, then take a little care of your external hard drive and keep it away from failure.  Here, I have listed out some simple techniques which could help you in extending external hard drive life span. In case you have a damaged or failed hard drive you can recover data using Remo Recover.

Caution-When hard drive stops working, don’t come to conclusion that it is failed. First, check whether USB cable is properly connected or not. If not, connect it properly.

Tip 1: Avoid Physical Damage

There are some physical factors which lead to external hard drive failure, such as dust, fire, power fluctuation, etc. I know, it is difficult to take care of these things, but you must be careful and take a proper care of your drive to keep it away from failure.

Tip 2:  Monitor External Hard Drive Health

You can keep an eye on your hard drive health using Chkdsk and S.M. A. R.T  programs. If you find any problems, then you can fix it easily then and there, thus avoiding hard drive failure.

Tip 3: Don’t Overload your External Hard Drive

Don’t fill your external hard drive with unwanted data. Remove unwanted files as it reduces wear and tear it receives from being over full. If you don’t want to delete any files, then compress it to make space on your external HDD.

Tip 4: Handle with care

Don’t just throw it out anywhere, as it contains your important data. External HDD should be handled with more care. Make sure you have kept it in a right place. When you carry it to one place to another, wrap it in a padded box.

Tip 5: Choose External HDD Surface carefully

External hard drive must be placed on a level, flat and non-slip surfaces. Any physical damage to external hard drive can result in failure.

Tip 6: Do not play with USB Plug

USB cable should be removed carefully from the cable connecter. If you pull it abruptly from the connecter, then it may damage the connecter.  Also, check whether USB connecter is damaged or not. If it is damaged, don’t use such USB connector.

Tip 7: Defrag the drive periodically

Every once and a while defrag your hard drive to secure it from failure.

Tip 8: Prevent Over Heat

Continuous spinning produces extensive heat in External hard drive which is not good for it. So, set spin down to manage over heat issue in external drive.

Tip 9: Stop Unplugging External Hard Drive Abruptly

While removing external hard drive from computer, use “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” option, instead of just pulling it out. This will reduce chances of external drive corruption which eventually results in its failure.

Additional Info:

When external hard drive gets corrupted due to abrupt removal, then next time when you plugin it may show you an error stating that “USB drive is not formatted; Do you want to format it now?” In such cases, you have to format the drive in order to reuse it. If you didn’t had data backup, then you can just use a recovery software and restore data from formatted hard drive within few minutes. So your external hard drive will be safe and your data too.

Tip 10: Get Rid of Bad Sectors

Excessive number of bad sectors on external hard drive leads to drive failure. Hence, use Windows built-in tool to fix the bad sectors and extend the external drive life span.


File corruption error message, disappearing files from the drive, very low transfer rate, etc.… If you come across these signs, then it indicates that your external drive is about to fail. Hence backup your drive before it is too late.

 Note: If your hard drive won't boot, kindly refer this article to find out how to perform unbootable hard drive recovery.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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