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Using Too Much Space Can Corrupt Your Hard Drive!

Variant #1 : Filling up your hard drive will kill it!
Variant #2 : Using too much hard drive space can overload your system!

This one has been going around for a bit too long, and I'll try my best to debunk it. Many people actually believe that a hard drive would get corrupted if there was no more space, because the hard drive would just write over data already stored in it!

Honestly, why the heck would any sane engineer invent such a hard drive??? Seriously, no hard drive in the world does that. Let me repeat that - no hard drive in the world will overwrite its data when it runs out of space!

The worst punishment you will get for such an offence is a mild reprimand from the operating system - “Destination Drive Full : Not Enough Space on Disk”. Believe me, neither your hard drive nor you will be executed for it.

If anyone should be executed, it should be the fool who told you that your hard drive will overwrite its own boot sector and kill your operating system the second it runs out of space.

Ed : I can confirm this with my very frequent personal encounters with the error message above!

As for the overloading myth, ughh, I'm going to just say that tiny magnetic pits only millionths of a centimeter long aren't going to kill your PC anytime soon. Trust me on that. My system has only about 20 MB of space left on my boot drive, but it's still working fine.

Ed : Again, I can confirm this with my habit of maxxing my hard drive ALL the time!

So, myth debunked, but I might as well fill up the rest of this page with my theories about the origins of such a myth. Hopefully, that will help you avoid other permutations of the myth.

Hard drives don't get overloaded because they have a limited size. The only thing that seems unlimited in causing trouble when overloaded is the Windows registry. That's because there is really has no limit to its size.

As we shove and delete programs from our computers, the hard drive tags deleted data and allow them to be discarded or overwritten, but the Windows registry isn't that smart. It seems pretty content to retain data even back when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Since the registry is loaded every time the operating system boots up, and every time a DLL or system function is accessed, wow, a bloated registry can give you a really bad day.

That's why most Windows users are forced to format their PCs after a year or two. It's not because the hard drive is about to blow up the system. Rather, it's because the slowdown has become unbearable. So, don't blame the poor hard drive, blame Microsoft and Bill Gates.

Here are some tips to avoid overloading the registry :

  • Uninstall a program, don't just delete the directory and consider it gone. It worked fine with DOS, but DOS didn't have a registry.
  • Get a super uninstaller. There are tons of them out there. Heck, we might be able to get a few in for tests and reviews. These generally annihilate a program's presence. Hasta la vista, baby.
  • System rollbacks are fine ways of getting back performance without the hassle of formatting. Install all the drivers and basic software you need, and then take a snapshot of the installation. Easy peasy.
Do yourself a favor and get a good registry cleaner. Many of them are available as freeware and they are easy to use.


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