HDD spinning speed is one of the most important factors to increase PC throughput. Once you have a disk with good spinning speed, there are three tasks related to HDD:
1. Preparing the HDD with appropriate partitions. This can be done with windows but it cannot resize the partitions with data persistence. So, if you have to resize or split a partition without losing data, you need a specialized app.
2. Backing up the OS installation to recover if it get’s corrupted. It’s not “if” but “when” you will need this. By backing up your HDD, you can be back with stable PC within minutes after disaster.
3. Keeping the HDD de-fragmented. This is extremely important, I have seen the results of keeping HDD de-fragmented. The inbuilt de-fragmenting tool in windows isn’t enough.
So, what are the available options? The tools I have used for these are:
1. For HDD partitioning, Partition Magic is ubiquitous but I have been using Acronis Disk Director Suite. The UI is more sophisticated and this allows you to split even the system partition.
Both of these applications can either be used from within Windows, or used as standalone tool without any operating system. The standalone tools are built on top of a compact Linux kernel and provides comprehensive windowed UI.
3. And finally, for de-fragmenting HDD, Diskeeper is amazing. It keeps your HDD healthy by scheduled and background de-fragmentation. Don’t forget to read the myths about fragmentation on Diskeeper site.
My experience with all three is excellent and I highly recommend them. All of them are $50 each but Newegg will give around 40-50% cheap. Though Acronis apps are as per your needs, Diskeeper is a must have.