Are there any good hard drive maintenance programs out there that aren’t from microsoft?
By hard drive maintenance, do you mean defragmentation?
A defrag utility almost always comes from the filesystem vendor, which is Microsoft in the case of NTFS or FAT32.
Also, don’t sweat defrags too much. I know a lot of people who consider them a must-do weekly activity. Defragmentation doesn’t make a lot of difference unless the files are really really fragmented, and that doesn’t happen quickly for a home user. Once every 6 months is usually often enough.
There’s no longer any point to getting third-party hard drive maintenance utilities, really. If you’re worried about defragging, set up a weekly task to run that at say, 2 AM midnight.
Excuse me, one exception:
System file defragmenting fixes a couple edge cases around those files getting into too many fragments, and reduces the chance of a sector failure blowing away your system. Though if you really want fault tolerance, you have to go with at least RAID-1.
Yeah, I meant defragmentation. I’ve always used the utilities that came with the OS but anymore I’m trying to use fewer MS apps.