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Manage Your Hard Drive Better

Not all hard drives are equal. Some of you still have mechanical hard drives and most of you now have solid-state hard drives (SSDs). The technologies are different, but you can manage your hard drive successfully if you have the right cloud-based backup and storage plan.

First, a little perspective.

Most of us have witnessed the evolution of technology since the days of Windows 95. It was a watershed time of sorts because it was Microsoft’s first operating system with a graphic interface. Computers at the time were expensive; a base model was about $2,000, and it came with a 735-megabyte hard drive. If you wanted a faster machine with more storage, it was $2,699 to get a 1-gigabyte hard drive.

Hard drives continued to get bigger and cheaper. The combination of more storage for a lower cost encouraged most of us to get the largest size we could. The hard drives were mechanical, and they required user management. That’s because every time you modified or added to a file, the new data was stored in various places on the drive, and the drive physically moved the required bits of info into a place where they could all be assembled to give you your file. Defragmenting programs could rearrange the files for more efficiency. Regardless of whether you ran your defrag program, you needed to leave enough free space for all this movement to take place.

As we accumulated more and larger files and more and larger apps, it wasn’t uncommon to have hard drives with up to a terabyte of storage capacity. Solid-state hard drives (SSDs) changed a lot of how we work.

Because SSDs are electronic and not mechanical, they can move the bits that make up our files a lot more efficiently – while using less space on the drive. That gives you more usable storage space on your hard drive. Combined with offsite backup capabilities, we can access more files – or more actual bits of data – now than we ever could before. We don’t need 1 TB of hard drive space; we only need 256 GB – or maybe 512. Experience shows that trying to slim down to 128 GB was not practical.

By using the cloud through Microsoft OneDrive, Windows users with Microsoft 365 can store and access a gazillion files. When you open a file from your OneDrive, the system copies it onto your hard drive. When you finish working on the file, it saves it in both places.

Of course, that means you’re putting more data on your hard drive, but with programs like OneDrive, you can remove the file from your hard drive but keep it OneDrive. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Open OneDrive and Right Click on the list of files
  3. Click on Free Up Space

We suggest you do this periodically – once a week or every two weeks. The cleanup work takes just a few seconds. If you wait until you get a notification that you’re out of space, the process will take a lot longer, and the timing probably won’t be good for you.

If you need to set up Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft 365 or have any questions, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for help.