Tag: Hard disk drive

How to Create a New Hard Drive Partition: Windows 8

How to Create a New Hard Drive Partition: Windows 8

Disk partitioning is the act of dividing a hard disk drive (HDD) into multiple logical storage units referred to as partitions, to treat one physical disk drive as if it were multiple disks, so that different file systems can be used on each partition

HDD Partition

Benefits of having multiple Partitions:

Creating more than one partition has the following advantages:

  • Separation of the operating system (OS) and program files from user files. This allows image backups (or clones) to be made of only the operating system and installed software.
  • Keeping frequently used programs and data near each other.
  • Having cache and log files separate from other files. These can change size dynamically and rapidly, potentially making a file system full.
  • Use of multi-boot setups, which allow users to have more than one operating system on a single computer. For example, one could install Linux, BSDMac OS XMicrosoft Windows or other operating systems on different partitions on the same HDD and have a choice of booting into any compatible operating system at power-up.
  • Protecting or isolating files, to make it easier to recover a corrupted file system or operating system installation. If one partition is corrupted, other file systems may not be affected.
  • Raising overall computer performance on systems where smaller file systems are more efficient. For instance, large HDDs with only one NTFS file system typically have a very large sequentially accessed Master File Table (MFT) and it generally takes more time to read this MFT than the smaller MFTs of smaller partitions.
  • Partitioning for significantly less than the full size available when disk space is not needed can reduce the time for diagnostic tools such as checkdisk to run or for full image backups to run.
Disadvantages of multiple partitions:
  • Reduces the total space available for user storage on the disk, as it forces the operating system to duplicate certain file system administration areas on the disk for each partition.
  • Reduces overall disk performance on systems where data is accessed regularly and in parallel on multiple partitions, because it forces the disk’s read/write head to move back and forth on the disk to access data on each partition and to maintain and update file system administration areas on each partition. It also prevents disk optimizers from moving all frequently accessed files closer to each other on the disk, which could reduce the number and distance of required head movements. Files can still be moved closer to each other on each partition, but those areas themselves will still be far apart on the disk. This issue does not apply to Solid-state drives as access times on those are neither affected by nor dependent upon relative sector positions.
  • Increases disk fragmentation because it lowers the average size of continuous free blocks on each partition – as compared to a single partition of the same overall size – after the same amount of data has been written to them.
  • May prevent using the whole disk capacity, because it may break free capacities apart. For example, if you have a disk with two partitions, each with 3 GB free (hence 6 GB in total), you can’t copy a 4 GB DVD image file on that disk, because none of the partitions will actually provide enough space for that – even though you have more than enough free capacity in total on the disk. If the same files on those two partitions would have been stored on a single partition spanning the whole disk, then the 4 GB file could be easily stored in the 6 GB of free space.
  • Hurts portability and might impose constraints on how entities might be linked together inside the file system.

Creating a Partition on Windows 8:

Hold the Windows logo key on your keyboard and press “R” (Winkey+R). This will launch the Run the utility. Type “diskmgmt.msc” inside the text box and press Enter. This will open the Windows Disk Management utility. This is where you can format, create, and delete hard drive partitions.

1In order to create a partition, you need unallocated space. Unallocated space is basically disk space that is not formatted or not prepared for storage. Formatting is the act of preparing a disk space for storage. It’s similar to establishing a foundation for a place to be inhabited. Thus, unallocated space is just useless blank space with no “foundation” or format.

To create unallocated space, you need to shrink your hard drive. When you shrink your hard disk, the remaining space becomes unallocated.

To do this, right-click your main drive and select “Shrink Volume.”

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Now you need to enter the amount you want to shrink the hard disk by in megabytes (1000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte). For example if you want to create a 1 gigabyte partition, enter 1,000 megabytes in the text box. Now click “Shrink.”

The Disk Management Utility will show you the maximum amount of shrink space available. That’s the maximum size that can be allocated to the new partition.

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You will then see the region of unallocated space (shaded black). Please note that  this space is not yet usable

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Now you need to create “new volume” and format  the unallocated space. This will allow for the space to become usable.

Right-click the region of unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume.”

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This will launch the New Simple Volume Wizard. This will guide you through the installation process.

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Assign the disk a drive letter. You can choose any drive letter that is not currently in use.

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Select a file system for the disk. The file system is basically the type of format or “foundation” the storage device has. If you plan on installing a Windows OS to the partition select the “NTFS” file system.

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Name the partition in the “Volume Label” text box.  You can choose any name for your partition.

Now click “Finish” to create the new partition.

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Source: Wikipedia, technorms

A handy, portable system information tools

A handy, portable system information tools:

Speccy:

Speccy is an advanced System Information tool for your PC. Need to find out what’s inside your computer? Speccy will give you all the information you need.

Speccy gives you detailed statistics on every piece of hardware in your computer, including CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Graphics Cards, Hard Disks, Optical Drives, and Audio support. Additionally Speccy adds the temperatures of your different components, so you can easily see if there’s a problem!

Speccy may seem like an application for system administrators and power users. It certainly is, but Speccy can also help normal users, in everyday computing life.

If you need to add more memory to your system, for example, you can check how many memory slots your computer has and what memory’s already installed. Then you can go out and buy the right type of memory to add on or replace what you’ve already got.

Note: Speccy requires Windows XP or later, and does not currently support Mac OS X or Linux.

To download the Speccy click on the URLhttp://www.piriform.com/speccy/download/standard

CPU-Z:

CPU-Z is a freeware utility that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system. CPU-Z does not need to be installed, just unzip the files in a directory and run the .exe. In order to remove the program, just delete the files. The program does not copy any file in any Windows directory, nor write to the registry.

CPU

  • Name and number.
  • Core stepping and process.
  • Package.
  • Core voltage.
  • Internal and external clocks, clock multiplier.
  • Supported instructions sets.
  • All cache levels (location, size, speed, technology)

Mainboard

  • Vendor, model and revision.
  • BIOS model and date.
  • Chipset (northbridge and southbridge) and sensor.
  • Graphic interface.

Memory

  • Frequency and timings.
  • Module(s) specification using SPD (Serial Presence Detect): vendor, serial number, timings table.

System

  • Windows and Direct X version.

To download the CPU-Z  click on the URL:  http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

source: piriform,cpuid

Tips for speeding up a slow PC

Tips for speeding up a slow PC:

Over the time, the speed of computers can decrease. This appears as the system taking more time to respond to a user’s actions like opening files, folders, surfing the Internet and other tasks. Here are a few steps which are helpful to make your machine (especially Windows machines) run faster.

Clean up the Desktop: 

Each time Windows starts; operating memory is used to open your profile. The total amount of memory used will be small. If however, there are several or dozens of files on the Desktop lot of operating memory is used by these files, essentially for no purpose or gain. With less memory available, the computer runs slower because it has to swap out information from operating memory to the hard drive. It does this process (called memory paging) to keep everything the user wants to do running at the same time.

The simple action of cleaning the Desktop will make your computer run faster.

Clean up the disk and registry:

One of the first things to check on a machine that’s running slowly is how much of the hard disk has been used. If there isn’t roughly 10% of the hard disk free, it’s time to clean the HDD. One of the tools I like is CCleaner. It quickly clears out all temp files for you. 

Remove Spyware/Malware:

One of the most common causes of the “my PC used to be fast, and now it isn’t!” complaint is actually the presence of malware. Malware can sneak onto a computer in a zillion different ways and quite often it sits in the background slowing your machine as it sends out spam emails, searches for other computers to infect, works on cracking cryptography, or performs any number of the other nefarious tasks that hackers like to use their botnet slaves for.

Try a different browser:

Different browsers perform differently, and most people spend a lot of time on their Web browser. Some browsers perform well on some but poorly on others, even when they are supposed to test the same thing. The problem with the benchmarks is that what they usually test is not real work performance! While JavaScript is an important part of the modern Web, few Web applications beat on the JavaScript engine hard enough to produce a noticeable impact on performance. If you want to have your Web browser feel more responsive and lively, consider a switch to Chrome.

Add a faster DNS lookup Server:

Most ISPs love to brag about how much bandwidth they are giving you. But they don’t mind letting the rest of their infrastructure slowly get overwhelmed or deteriorate. Among the biggest offenders are the DNS servers our ISPs use. If you want to know why things seem to take forever to start loading, slow DNS servers are often the cause. Consider adding a fast DNS server as your primary DNS server in your TCP/IP settings. Google’s Public DNS server is a great option.

Defragmentation:

Defragmentation is the process of physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device used to store files in to the smallest number of contiguous regions.

Visualization of fragmentation and then of defragmentation

Defragmentation places all parts of a file together in the same place on the drive. It organizes all directories and files according to how you use your computer. After this process is complete, your computer will most likely run faster.

Following precautions should be taken before doing defragmentation:

 Make sure your data is backed up to another medium like pen drive, DVD or external HDD.

 Close all the running programs including virus scanner.

 Assure your computer has a constant source of power.  If you have frequent power outages, you should not use a defragmentation program without a battery backup. Note: If your computer does shut off while defragmenting, it may crash the hard drive or corrupt the operating system, or both.

Steps for Defragmentation:    
  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties.
  3. On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.
  4. Click Defragment.

Improve Your Hardware:

If your computer is slow, it may be because your hardware isn’t getting the job done. How will you find that out? By using the Windows Experience Index, found in Windows Vista and Windows 7. This will show you where your computer is weak, and what you would need to beef up to turn your PC into a screamer.

Go to Start –> Control Panel — > System and Security –> under System click on Check the Windows Experience Index

Use ReadyBoost:

You can speed up the computer with a flash drive. Through the magic of a Windows technology called ReadyBoost, your PC can see a real speed increase. It’s a little-known Windows secret that can help you zip on down the Information Superhighway, or make whatever you’re doing faster.

Note:  ReadyBoost is available in Windows Vista, and Windows 7 Operating Systems.

source: about.com, Wikipedia, Techrepublic,

Solid-State Drive (SSD)

SSD :

Solid state disk (SSD) is the most common acronym, SSD is also used for solid state drive or solid state disk drive, replacing disk with drive in the acronym.

Abbreviated SSD, a solid state disk is a high-performance plug-and-play storage device that contains no moving parts. SSD components include either DRAM or EEPROM memory boards, a memory bus board, a CPU and a battery card. Because they contain their own CPUs to manage data storage, they are a lot faster (18MBps for SCSI-II and 35 Mbps for Ultra Wide SCSI interfaces) than conventional rotating hard disks; therefore, they produce highest possible I/Orates.

Solid state drives and USB flash drives both use the same type of non-volatile memory chips that retain their information even when they have no power. The difference is in the form factor and capacity of the drives. While a flash drive is designed to be external to the computer system, an SSD is designed to reside inside the computer in place of a more traditional hard drive.

An SSD on the outside looks almost no different than a traditional hard drive. This design is to allow the SSD drive to put in a notebook or desktop computer in place of a hard drive. To do this, it needs to have the standard dimension as a 1.8, 2.5 or 3.5-inch hard drive. It also uses the common SATA interface so that it can easily be placed into any PC as a hard drive would.

Advantages of SSD:

Solid state drives have several advantages over the magnetic hard drives. The majority of this comes from the fact that the drive does not have any moving parts. While a traditional drive has driven motors to spin up the magnetic platters and the drive heads, all the storage on a solid state drive is handled by flash memory chips. This provides three distinct advantages:

  • Less Power Usage
  • Faster Data Access
  • Higher Reliability

  The power usage is a key role for the use of solid state drives in portable computers. Because there is no power draw for the motors, the drive uses far less energy than the regular hard drive. The solid state drive will consistently draw less power than the traditional and hybrid hard drive.

 – The drive does not have to spin up the drive platter or move drive heads, the data can be read from the drive near instantly. Hybrid hard drives do tend to mitigate the speed aspect when it comes to frequently used drives.

 – Reliability is also a key factor for portable drives. Hard drive platters are very fragile and sensitive materials. Even small jarring movements from an impact can cause the drive to be completely unreadable. Since the SSD stores all its data in memory chips, there are fewer moving parts to be damaged in any sort of impact. While mechanically SSD drives are better.

The challenges facing SSD:

There are three primary concerns impacting SSD adoption in the enterprise: Endurance and reliability, a lack of industry standards, and high cost.

Endurance/Reliability Concerns

SSDs wear out over time. NAND flash memory can only be written a certain number of times to each block (or cell). SLC memory generally sustains 50,000 program/erase (P/E) cycles, while MLC memory is generally ten times less at 5000 cycles. Once a block (or cell) is written to its limit, the block starts to forget what is stored and data corruption can occur. Seagate is actively developing techniques such as wear levelling algorithms to address endurance and reliability concerns.

Lack of Standards

SSDs store data differently than hard drives; therefore the time-tested and field-proven industry standards used by hard drives do not equally apply when working with NAND flash technology. Seagate is actively leading SSS industry standards development through organizations such as JEDEC and SNIA to advance SSD adoption in the enterprise.

High Cost

To date, the cost of SLC memory is roughly three times higher than MLC memory due to two factors. First, MLC NAND stores two bits of data per cell and can provide twice the storage per square millimetre of silicon (the main cost of the memory). Second, the volume of MLC is roughly 90 percent of all NAND flash, further increasing the economies of scale in its production.

Today, manufacturing facilities (fabs) are primarily focused on building MLC memory. Significant investment is needed to recalibrate or build fabs that are designed to meet the quality, consistency and support levels required in the enterprise. Fabs are expensive and sophisticated operations; a 2010 estimate puts the cost of building a new fab in the billions (US dollars).

We can check the health of SSD drive with a free tool from http://ssd-life.com

Sample of SSD life output for Intel X25-M SSD drive

Intel guarantees that the total of about 37 TB of data will be written to X25-M drives (20 GB per day for 5 years: “The drive will have a minimum of 5 years of useful life under typical client workloads with up to 20 GB host writes per day.”).

Watch the below video :

sourcewebopedia,compreviews,seagate,Intel,ssd-life.com