We all use computers in one way or another. Whether it’s the ATM we get our cash from, the smartphone we use to call our relatives, or the computer that keeps your car running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

This is because technology has advanced greatly in the last few 20 or 25 years (to say nothing of the fact that the advances from the 50s to the 80s), making computers and other devices faster, better and more reliable for a lot less money.

In the 90s it wasn’t very common to see a family have one computer per member, nowadays everyone in the family probably has at least 2 devices, between laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Nowadays we have all sorts of applications at our fingertips:

  •         Video on demand, audio streaming and video games (with game streaming becoming a reality these last few years)
  •         Productivity boosting through productivity suites, both paid like Microsoft’s Office and free like Open Office.
  •         Financial planning and management. Programs such as Quicken help us keep our books in check.
  •         We can speak to our relatives or co-workers who are hundreds or thousands of miles away with applications such as Skype and Facebook.
  •         Crowdsourced reviews that help us know the best possible places we can shop, eat or frequent.
  •         We can buy pretty much anything we can think of, at the best prices we could hope for, and a simple cursory scan of any of a million sites (favourites being Amazon, Ebay, Woot! and Wish) will show amazing deals.

The one caveat in this whole set-up is that even though people are using and relying on technology more and more each day, they don’t necessarily take the time to actually try to find out how these pieces of tech actually work. This results in a high user base that has a low potential to fix even the most basic of problems.

In this article we will be covering Hard Disks, and more specifically, what you can and cannot do to/with SSDs.

First off, let’s define what a disk’s type can be:

  •         HDD or Hard Disk Drive: The most widely used storage medium at the moment, HDDs use magnetic disks and a read/write head in order to store a PC’s contents, be it video, audio or images. These have moving parts, which means that they can become damaged by bumps, jolts or other type of shock.These have become faster and more spacious as time has advances, to the point where you can find a 2 Terabyte drive quite cheap.
  •         SSD or Solid State Drive: Relatively recent (at least on the consumer market), these drives don’t have any moving parts, and rely on an integrated circuit in order to store data persistently. They are faster and more silent than HDDs, but come at a monetary cost, being roughly 4 times as expensive.

Since they are so new, SSDs still present many problems to people that don’t really know how handle them. So, before you take the plunge and buy a Solid State Drive, remember these rules:

  •         Don’t defragment them. Defragmenting (or “Defragging”) your drive was one of the necessary regular maintenance tasks that old computer users had to perform every so often. Defragging ensures that all the parts of a file are not scattered in different sectors of your Hard Drive, which means easier and faster access. SSDs don’t have movable parts, and so don’t benefit from this. They also have limited writes on them, and moving files around consumes these.
  •         Don’t use them on Windows XP or Vista. These older Operating Systems simply don’t support SSDs. They also don’t support the TRIM command, which is one of the most useful features of solid states. Also, don’t turn TRIM support on Windows 7, whatever you do.
  •         Don’t fill them up completely. Filling up an SSD will only slow it down, since it will have to read which sectors are full up when writing new data, and this will result in a noticeable slowdown.
  •         Don’t write on them constantly. This is probably against everything you might think about hard drives. It comes down to two things: the expense of SSDs and the previously mentioned limited number of writes. If you want, you can use them as if they were mechanical, but you’ll find yourself looking for another drive sooner than expected.
  •         Don’t store large, seldom accessed files on them. To put it simply, you should use your SSD for operations that can benefit from the speed it inherently possesses. If you use it to store raw video that needs to be edited, you’ll find yourself without a drive soon. If you use it for your OS, applications or games that you know will be accessed.

On a final note, why not give Safebytes’ DriverAssist a try? With this handy lightweight program, you get all the benefits of always having your drivers completely up to date, without the hassle of actually having to do it yourself!

Here are some of DriverAssist’s features:

  •         Automatic Driver Installation. You have no need to do anything else with Driver Assist other than install it onto your PC; the sophisticated software does all the work for you.
  •         Massive driver database always ensures you can identify hardware, even when Windows can’t!
  •         Smart Driver ID. The Driver Assist software is based on sophisticated technology that automatically detects all of the appropriate PC drivers in a matter of seconds. It will then match them with the latest available version, and update every driver required by your system with a compatible version on a regular basis.
  •         Full driver back-up and restore. Driver Assist helps you backup all of your data and restore your machine to the time when it was previously working if you encounter any problems.
  •         Enhanced USB management. Driver Assist also helps you manage USB devices. There is no need to worry about safely removing hardware with Driver Assist, as it makes the ejecting process and safely removing hardware from your PC extremely straightforward.
  •         24/7 customer support. Safebytes is on call 24/7 to assist you with any problems that you might encounter.