We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,785 News Articles

The 30 biggest technology myths exposed

Fact or fiction: we decide

We've rounded up the 30 most common technology myths and misconceptions and explained why they are, in fact, fiction.

Repeated on-off cycles reduce the useful life of the PC

While it is true that certain components of your PC have a fixed number of start-stop cycles, those numbers are high enough not to cause worry. Microchips (including the CPU and those on the motherboard), CRT monitors and hard disks especially, have a rated number of times they can be turned on and off.

Shutting the PC down when its use is not required for an hour or more will save power and even reduce component wear and tear. For example, for hard disks, this number is 50,000 or more. So, even if you switch the hard disk off and on 10 times a day, after three years you would be close to 10,000 cycles, five times fewer than the rated number.

Formatting and partitioning hard disk causes physical wear and tear

When you format a storage media, the partitioning software reads and writes data in multiple patterns and then fills the entire partition (or disk, as the case may be) with '0's. This constitutes a read-write operation which is no different from any other write command, like for example, copying files.

During the partitioning process, the starting sectors of the drive where the partition table is stored is modified. In this case also, for the hard disk, it is nothing but another write operation.

When you choose a quick format option, there is even less strain on the hard disk as only the file table is modified to read that partition as empty. In fact, this is the reason why recovering data from a drive after quick format is a lot easier than after a full format.

Deleting files from recycle bin ensures permanent deletion

This belief is another long timer in the list of PC related myths.

Emptying the recycle bin gives you a false assurance that the files are really gone. In reality, Windows only marks the area of the disk occupied by the files in question, as 'empty', but does not proceed to remove the data itself. Thus, file recovery software can search the hard disk for files that are still present (after deletion).

So long as the disk area of the file is not overwritten by any new data, recovery is possible. If you wish to delete sensitive files permanently such that they cannot be recovered, use a third party tool such as Data Eraser.

NEXT PAGE: We explore even more popular technology tales

  1. We investigate if the most common 'Old Wives Tales' really are true
  2. 64-bit operating systems, unplugging a USB device and damaging your PC by not shutting down properly
  3. Can repeated on-off cycles and formatting hard drives damage your PC
  4. Even more technology tall tales
  5. Will CDs and DVDs really last forever?
  6. Gaming technology myths
  7. More gaming myths explored
  8. Does a 5:1 sound system really enhance the listening experience?
  9. We bust some of the most common digital photo myths
  10. Even more digital photography myths


IDG UK Sites

7 coolest 3D-printed objects: Body parts, houses, camera lenses and even pizza

IDG UK Sites

iOS 8 review: Hands on with the iOS 8 beta

IDG UK Sites

Thinking robots: The philosophy of artificial intelligence and evolving technology

IDG UK Sites

Sharknado 2 VFX: how The Asylum created CG flying man-eating sharks