You can tune up your IDE hard drive using the hdparm utility. Used from a command line, the utility allows you to keep your drive running in tip-top shape, even on a computer that is currently running at the time.

hdparm is a tool for altering various parameters associated with IDE
drives (Not SCSI). This involves things like the block prefetch, the DMA/PIO modes,
and a number of other things.

I’m writing this mini-how-to to help people get more from their system. People often
complain that Linux is a bit slow for them (which it can be) I haven’t seen such
a post recently, but I know on TechIMO at least we always used to be talking
people through using hdparm.