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  • Let your PC start 2020 right!

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Let your PC start 2020 right!

    This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Paul T 1 week ago.

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    • #2084195 Reply

      Da Boss

      LANGALIST By Fred Langa Taking a little time now to thoroughly check and proactively service your Windows PC can pay off big-time in the coming year.
      [See the full post at: Let your PC start 2020 right!]

    • #2084021 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      Fred and I don’t always agree (the vast majority of the time we’re on the same page, though), but the following, I think, gets short shrift by far too many:

      “As we all know, but often fail to apply, it’s a good habit to make a complete backup before any serious system maintenance. If anything goes awry, you’ll be able to get things back the way they were, quickly and easily.

      In fact, if you’ve been a bit lax at making regular backups, start the new year with the resolve to do a better job of protecting your data. After all, having a current backup is foolproof insurance against any and all manner of ills that can befall a PC — from power spikes and hard-drive crashes to malware and (ahem) user error. No matter what trouble may brew, a good and current backup ensures your data and settings are safe and easily restorable.”

      Of all the troubles software, hardware and our own tinkerin’ can get us into, none are insurmountable so long as one has a recent drive image, and I truly mean none.  In January 2011 we had a house fire.  My laptop was zippered into its very substantial carrying case and survived, two DIY mid-tower PC’s did not.  But my drive images also survived (tucked away in the part of the house farthest from the fire), so all I really needed was new hardware.

      My most critical files (financial information, email and the like) were duplicated on the laptop, so I was not in an immediate rush for new builds.  I bought a Dell Inspiron 580, restored the drive images for my daily driver DIY midtower (my OS license was retail, and transferable) and I had one, at least, back in business.

      After all the things required after one loses a house to fire (buying another house, replacing lots of stuff necessary for daily living, etc.) I got around to a DIY that was a thorough upgrade to my old daily driver, and transferred my most recent drive images from the Dell to it.  Back in the saddle again!  I decided on building a NAS to replace the second burned out PC.

      Yes, this is a long post, my apologies; but my point is that even a total loss can be restored to new hardware, and what one sees on the monitor looks just like it did before the disaster struck.

      I have Task Scheduler create weekly drive images in the wee hours of Sunday morning while I’m sleeping by running Image For Windows scripts.  Those images then get transferred using a Robocopy batch file to a hard drive plugged into the dock on my NAS, and that hard drive is then un-docked and safely stored away.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
      "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
      "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2084204 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Interesting article at the beginning of 2020. Of course most of this information is already well known, but it is good to be reminded.

      The article a.o. includes a link to defragmentation of an SSHD. In 2020 there is an important other question that has to be asked with respect to defragging and for which I have not yet found any (good) answer: what about defragging an SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) drive? More and more drives are SMR drives and one of the characteristics is that lots of small writes slow the drive down dramatically. And defragging is for a large (the most?) part small reads and writes.

      When searching the internet I usually find general information about what an SMR drive is, what different types of drives there are (drive or host managed, or a mixed form), how it reads and writes, but never whether it is appropriate to defrag an SMR drive.

      So my question is: should one defrag an SMR drive or not? I am looking for an answer only for drive managed SMR drives, because host managed SMR drives are mainly used in data centers and not by individual users (I assume).

      BTW: the link in the opening post still refers to Maybe it is a good idea to change it to the AskWoody newsletter.

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      • #2083919 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        should one defrag an SMR drive or not?

        SMR drives behave like SSD drives, so no defrag needed as the firmware takes care of the drive just like with a SSD drive.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2084569 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks for your reply Alex. So what you are saying is that with an SMR drive, like SSDs,  there is no relationship between the sectors the OS reads and writes and the physical location on the drive, as there is with normal hard drives. And above that, the SMR drive firmware maintains the health of the hard drive itself, including defragmenting, a bit similar to garbage collection on an SSD. Do you have a source for that I can read? I have spent quite a bit of time searching the internet, but, as a wrote, I have not found anything stating that, just some general explanation how an SMR drive works with the overlapping tracks and that writes are first written to a normal (non-SMR) track and then when idle moved to an SMR track.

          Also, if I look at Windows Defrag it still recognizes an SMR drive as a normal hard drive. Because of that it will defragment an SMR drive.

          ASRock Beebox J3160 - Win7 Ultimate x64
          Asus VivoPC VC62B - Win7 Ultimate x64
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          • #2085148 Reply

            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            What happens if you attempt to defrag the SMR?

            cheers, Paul

    • #2084256 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Fred makes a very good point about keeping fans clean.

      I think it’s important to consider that if the insides of your computer get dirty easily, it’s worth asking the question if  you should be doing something about air quality in your home or office.


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