How to Extend Life of a Hard Drive? (A Detailed Guide)

By Dominic Chooper on July 07, 2023

One of the most important components of a computer is the hard drive, where you store all data, files and programs.

With constant usage, a hard drive degrades, and its life may become shorter if you do not take proper precautions beforehand.

Here are some easy methods to follow to extend the life of a hard drive and also help it perform the way it should be.


Why is It Necessary to Extend the Life of a Hard Drive?

You will need the hard drive to store necessary files and software programs to use as and when required. Extending its life will ensure that you have the storage ready and working always.

Extending the lifespan of the hard drive will also ensure that it performs well and you do not have to spend on replacing your drive with a new one every couple of years.

Ways to Extend the Life of a Hard Drive

Extend Life of a Hard Drive

Apart from using third-party tools, you can extend the life of your hard drive by performing disk defragmentation process periodically. Also, it is good to monitor its performance regularly.

In addition to the above, running a Check Disk scan will also help in extending the lifespan of the hard drive because the process will not only check the issues in the drive but will also fix most of the errors in it.

There are lots of checks and processes to maintain a hard drive, which may look trivial apparently but play a significant role in extending the life of the drive.

Some of these easy yet effective ways that may help prolong the life of your hard drive directly or indirectly are:

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For external hard drives, always use good and branded cables with it. Also, make sure that you eject it ‘safely’ after use.

Store the drive properly in sealed plastic in a cool and dry place and also protect it from shocks, molds, and other elements that can cause damage to it.

In addition to the above, there are other ways as well to extend the life of the hard drive such as putting it to sleep mode when not in use.

The less the disk on the hard drive spins, the more will be its life. Therefore, preventing it from spinning unnecessarily will also help significantly to extend the life of your hard drive.

Some of the methods that will prevent the drive from spinning continuously and unnecessarily are:

Here are all those methods clearly explained for you.

Method 1: Perform Disk Defragment

Defragging your hard drive periodically will arrange the data in a contiguous manner. This will make the drive work less to find relevant data when it is needed and therefore increase its lifespan.


Going to System and Security in the Control Panel window

Looking for the Defragment and optimize your drives option

(Alternatively, you can open File Explorer > Right-click on the desired drive volume > Go to the Properties option > Select the Tools tab > Click on the Optimize button).

Clicking on the Analyze button

When the analysis process is complete, you will get a report stating whether you need to defrag your hard drive. Check the percentage of fragmented files.

Checking the percentage of fragmented files

If it is needed, that is, if the disk is fragmented by 20% of its space or more, click on the Optimize button next to the Analyze button, marked in the image above by a red circle.

Method 2: Running the Check Disk Scan

This process will detect the issues and fix most of them. It will eventually increase the lifespan of your SSD.


In the Command Prompt, type the command chkdsk X: /r /f and hit Enter.

Typing the command chkdsk X: /r /f

(Here, X is just for example. You must replace this letter with the drive letter you want to extend the life of.)

This will start the scanning process, and a return result with the error reports, if any, will be displayed as shown in the image above.

If it is found after scanning that your drive has some logical errors or bad sectors in it, it will fix those errors and restart the system.

It may also ask you whether or not you want to schedule a disk check the next time you restart the computer. Use your discretion.

Method 3: Put the Hard Drive in Sleep Mode

You can put your hard drive into sleep mode when it is not in use so that it does not spin unnecessarily and is subject to wear and tear. This will also extend the life of the drive eventually.


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Clicking on Change plan settings in the Choose or customize a power plan window

Clicking on Change advanced power settings

Clicking on the arrow buttons next to the boxes On battery and Plugged in

This will ensure that the hard drive will stop spinning or go to sleep if it is not in use for the number of minutes you specified.

Method 4: Change Firefox Settings

If you are using Firefox, some minor changes in the configuration of it will also reduce the workload of the hard drive needing it to write less data and therefore enhance its life.


Typing about:config

Typing brower.sessionstore.interval

This will mean less writes to the hard drive, therefore enhancing its life.

Method 5: Set BIOS to AHCI Mode

If you set the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) into Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) mode instead of Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) mode because it will limit the performance of the drive.


Selecting Advanced and hitting Enter

Selecting Integrated Peripherals

Selecting SATA Mode

At this point, you must remember that IDE mode is the standard setting after Windows is installed. Therefore, your system may experience some issues when you change it to AHCI mode.

To prevent these issues, you must make the changes either before installing Windows afresh or boot in the IDE mode and apply the Registry Fix AHCI Mode: link.

Method 6: Turn Off Windows Search Indexing

It is good to disable Windows Search Indexing feature, especially for the hard drives, to prevent them from spinning and searching and indexing the files continuously.

This will, in turn, not let the hard drive kick off when you do not want it to, thereby preventing wear and tear.


Choosing Properties from the drop-down menu

Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties

Confirm Attribute Changes window

Repeat the same process if you want to turn off the indexing feature on other drives.

Now, the Windows Search Indexing features will be disabled.

Method 7: Set the Paging File of the Disk

If the paging file is ON in one of the disks that spin up quite often, then you will need to move that drive to the main disk. This is a good way to enhance the life of the hard drive.

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Selecting Adjust the appearance and performance on Windows

Clicking on the Change button under the Virtual memory section

Check the small circle next to No paging file

Remember, the main disk, Drive C: in this case, should always be set to System managed.

This completes the setup process.

Method 8: Make Changes in the Registry Editor

Windows usually come with a SMART feature to check whether or not your hard drive disk is full. If it is full, it will tell you.

The problem with this feature is that it will spin the disk unnecessarily and lower its life due to higher wear and tear probabilities. Disable this feature from the Registry Editor if you check it manually on a regular basis.


Typing regedit

In the Registry Editor window, click on the following folders in the specified order:

When you reach policies right-click on the folder to create a New Key.

Clicking on New and then on the Key option from the dropdown menu and submenu

Naming it Explorer

Now you will have to create a new value data inside this new folder by right-clicking on a blank space in the right-side window.

Selecting New and then DWORD



Close the Registry Editor window.

Methos 9: Disable SysMain from Services

Disabling the SysMain service from the Services window will also prevent spinning of the hard drive unnecessarily and extend its life.


Looking for the SysMain

SysMain Properties

SysMain service had been Disabled

You may also disable the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service in the same way for better results.

(You can also turn this service off from the settings in the Control panel or from within the Windows Media Player.)


Now that you know about the ways to check and maintain your hard drive, follow them and expect your hard drive to last for its lifetime, usually ranging between 3 and 5 years, in good health condition.