What should I do to prepare my hard drives for plotting?

2017-08-22 04:46
  1. Enable disk write caching on your drives.
    Disk write caching is frequently disabled on external hard drives by default.
    Write speeds can drop to 20 MB/s or less if disk write caching is disabled.

    Start > Windows Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Device Manager > Disk drives > Right Click a drive > Properties > Policies > Enable write caching on the device

  2. Perform a full format on your drives.
    Fully formatting your drives will identify any bad sectors and help prevent write errors while plotting.  If a drive is going to fail then you want it to fail within the return period to the retailer (RMAs are slow).

    File Explorer > Right Click a drive > Format...
    File system: NTFS
    Allocation unit size: 64 KB (optimized for large files)
    Format options: UN-TICK Quick Format (ensure a full format is performed)
    NOTE: A full format on an 8 TB drive can take up to a day to complete.

  3. Do a S.M.A.R.T. health check on your drives.
    Download and run CrystalDiskInfo http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html to check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your drives.
    The utility should report the status of all of your drives as GOOD.

    Heat will reduce the lifespan of your drives so it is wise to employ an active cooling solution (fans).
    NOTE: A drive will dissipate heat more effectively when laid flat on its side.