1. Back up regularly! Whenever you make a change to your hard drive, for example uploading some photos or creating some important work spreadsheets, make a back up to another external source of media. The ideal would be a hard drive that stays in one place.
2. Handle with care! Spilling drinks on your laptop, or throwing your portable hard drive into the bottom of your handbag/rucksack is probably not going to end well. Accidents will always happen but can be prevented on the whole if you treat your computer equipment kindly.
3. Copy, don’t move. If you are saving data to a portable device, then copy it across, don’t cut and paste. Moving all your photographs to an external hard drive to free up space is not a great idea – remember it’s only a back-up drive if you have more than one copy of your data!
4. Eject media safely. If you are using a flash drive or other USB device in your laptop or desktop computer, then use the icon in the task bar to safely remove it. Failure to do so by just pulling out the cable or flash drives can result in corrupt data/drive.
5. Use the correct cable for the device. It sounds obvious, but using the wrong power supply could possibly end up with a smoking hard drive. Too high a voltage will cause elements on the “motherboard” of the hard drive, (the printed circuit board or PCB) to blow, shorting the drive out. A straight PCB swap would not be recommended as most modern drives have unique adaptive data present that needs to be transferred to any replacement. Specialist tools and equipment may be needed for this.