All PC users have external storage medium, such as SD cards, USB sticks, external drives, and maybe even an external SSD. These devices are getting cheaper and cheaper – especially USB drives – and for this reason we usually store them almost any way in a drawer and when we use them we do it without any care, which reduces their useful life. So we’ll see what you can do if you want them to last you in good condition as long as possible.
The physical integrity of your devices and their lifespan
This is pretty obvious and may not apply to all users, but the majority of failures with this type of device are due to mishandling and accidental physical damage, because even if you are careful enough, everything anyone can make a mistake and, for example, accidentally bumping into a USB stick that was connected to the PC and ends up being broken.
To minimize the risk of physical damage to the devices, it is best not to leave them stored in a drawer under any circumstances, preferably inside a box or the like to prevent them from moving, for example when opening. of the drawer.
It is also necessary to ensure that they are kept in a cool and dry place, away from wet areas and of course from devices that can create electromagnetic emissions, such as a power strip or a cell phone.
This is pretty obvious but it doesn’t hurt to remember that external devices, and moreover USB storage media, are quite prone to this type of problem because we are very careless.
Disconnect the device when not in use
This is usually the second most common reason for the premature death of external storage devices; everyone knows not to leave them connected when not in use, but ultimately a lot of us leave them connected for various reasons (you forget, you plan to use it later, etc.) be operational, with the operating system permanently accessing it.
Write operations are one of the main reasons for the wear and tear of flash storage drives such as SSDs, USB drives or memory cards; Unlike mechanical hard drives, these flash storage devices do not have heads but write data to cells, which have a limited number of writes and erasures.
Therefore, leaving them connected without being used will wear out the unit strangely enough, reducing its useful life.
Do not edit files directly on the player
Another thing to avoid is modifying the files directly on the storage drive, as you will generate write operations and wear out the drive. The ideal practice would be to copy the files to your main drive, edit them there, then copy them back to the external drive, and while it’s true that this is something almost no one does, it’s still a recommended practice to extend its useful life.
As for external hard drives with USB connection, obviously this section and the previous one are not as pressing as they can be in an SSD or some other type of flash drive, but they still suffer wear because after all the The dishes move axially, causing wear, and the heads in turn move, also resulting in a reduction in useful life. Not so much, but something yes.
Safely disconnect the device
In the past, when you wanted to disconnect a USB storage device, you had to “warn” the operating system that you were going to do so so that it would stop using it and could safely remove it (this is always the case on Mac computers, be careful), but as soon as Windows 10 arrived, a series of security mechanisms were integrated to prevent data corruption which made it already unnecessary. But, as in the previous case, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good practice to keep doing this.
On Windows computers, this is very simple and only takes a few seconds: look on the right side of the start bar for the icons next to the clock, where you will see one with a USB connector.
Click on it and the list of connected USB drives will appear, from which you need to select the one you want to disconnect and click Eject. A message like the one you see in the image above will appear, stating that it is now possible to safely disconnect the device, so this will be the time when you need to do so. It’s easy.
Avoid defragmentation to extend lifespan
Flash drives, including SSDs, do not need defragmentation. Obviously, if you have an external USB hard drive, this is an operation that you need to do every now and then to optimize its performance, but in a flash drive, not only is it not necessary but it is counterproductive. because you will generate write and erase operations which will reduce its useful life.
Fortunately, Windows 10 is already able to differentiate Flash memory drives from mechanical hard drives, so it doesn’t directly allow you to defragment this type of drive; instead, it offers you to optimize it, what it does is run garbage collection systems and others to optimize their performance, but it does not defragment them in any way.
Even if you take great care with your external storage devices, it should be remembered that they can suffer accidents and it is always good to have a backup of your most important files for what might happen. Also, with the cost of this type of unit, it’s not that you have to invest too much money to have your business backed up just in case, right?