The hard drive is a crucial component of any computer. It stores all the data and programs that make up your operating system, as well as the files you use on a daily basis. If you want to keep your computer running smoothly, it’s important to know when it’s time for a new hard drive.
The how will you know surely that the hard drive has failed is a question asked by many. There are some signs that can help you determine if your hard drive is failing.
It’s Friday night, you’ve just gotten home from work, and you’ve only got one thing on your mind: play till 2 a.m. When you first switch on your computer, you notice that it is very slow to boot up, but it eventually loads after many painful minutes.
So you attempt to launch Steam or Epic, but it doesn’t work. You then open a browser to troubleshoot the problem, only to be greeted with the dreaded blue screen of death. When you attempt to restart, you get an even worse error message: NO BOOTABLE DEVICES FOUND on the boot screen. Your hard drive has stopped working.
Although your situation may have been unique, the typical gamer and PC user has most certainly experienced a failing hard drive at some time. Regardless of whether they are disk-based or flash-based (SSDs), storage devices will ultimately fail.
However, if you are aware of the warning signals of a failing hard drive, you may take steps to either repair the drive or, more likely, move or clone your data to a new drive.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 indications that your hard disk is failing, why drives fail, and what you can do about it in this post.
What Causes Hard Drives to Fail?
The reasons for drive failure may differ depending on your circumstances, however there are a few typical factors that we can look at.
To begin with, one of the most frequent causes of drive failure, particularly in HDDs, is simple fall damage. Fall damage is more common in laptops and other mobile devices, but it may also happen to desktop computers.
The read/write head may have been twisted out of alignment or the platters may have been scratched, even though nothing seems to be broken on the outside and the computer still works. While it may take some time for the harm to manifest, it will ultimately do so.
A power loss or electrical surge is another frequent cause of physical failure. The power surge may have fried the controller or other components. While the data on an HDD’s platters may be recovered by a recovery facility, your drive is essentially dead.
Malware cannot physically harm a disk, but it may make the data worthless, making it seem as though the drive has failed. It has the potential to completely corrupt your operating system and data, rendering it unrecoverable. The drive is usually safe to clean and reinstall, but customers are naturally wary about reinstalling a disk that has been corrupted.
Manufacturer flaws are also not as prevalent as many people believe. Even a drive that lasted 10 years may have had many defective sectors in the platter or memory modules, a faulty soldering point, or a particle of dust on the platter when it left the manufacturer. Although there is no way to fully eliminate faults, you may buy from companies that have a track record of dependability and performance.
Finally, no matter how well you maintain your storage devices, even SSDs, they will ultimately fail. All drives have a maximum number of read/write operations they can handle. This number varies greatly depending on the brand and kind of drive you purchase, but there is always a cap.
A surveillance drive, for example, is intended mainly for data writing with little playback. When opposed to a normal drive, which is intended for just hours of continuous use, a NAS or server drive is designed to manage data at high utilization for weeks on end with no problems.
The trick is to buy drives that are designed for certain tasks and to back up your data regularly to an external drive or a cloud service.
5 Signs That Your Car Isn’t Working
We’ve already discovered a few reasons why drives fail, but are there any warning signals that may be identified before it’s too late? Yes, thankfully. Storage devices, whether they’re HDDs or SSDs, often show indications of imminent failure.
Obviously, total physical damage, such as a power surge or a glass of water, will be excluded, but an aging drive will typically show a few symptoms. You can usually backup your data before it’s too late if you know what to search for.
Our list is far from complete, but we’ve included five of the most frequent indicators of failure in our opinion.
Before we begin, it’s important to understand that the first three symptoms aren’t limited to a failing hard disk. They are often indications of a faulty operating system/programs or malware/bloatware. Continue reading to discover how to tell whether your symptoms point to a failing drive or something else.
1. Sluggish Workflow
A substantial performance drop over a short period of time is one of the most frequent indicators of a failing drive. If your startup time has risen over the last several weeks and your applications have become slow, your hard disk may be deteriorating.
Mechanical and logical (software) faulty sectors appear when a drive ages. To read or write the required data, the head must seek for longer. Slower performance is the result of this search. A bad sector on a hard disk is a portion that the head can no longer read. A manufacturing fault, physical damage, or corrupted data may all cause bad sectors.
Mechanical bad sectors cannot be fixed, and if the number of bad sectors on a disk is too large, it will eventually fail. Certain recovery solutions, on the other hand, may frequently restore logical faulty sectors.
Slow performance, on the other hand, may be caused by a number of factors. Too many background applications, a fragmented hard disk (HDDs only), a malware infection, a faulty Windows installation, or a full hard drive may all wreak havoc on your computer’s performance.
If you’ve decided that your driving is OK (see below), you should look into these other possibilities.
2. Files and Folders Are Missing Or Corrupt
As previously stated, hard drive sectors may fail due to age, corrosion, or a manufacturing fault. Not only may this result in poorer performance, but it can also result in files being corrupted or missing. A bad sector contains data that can no longer be read or accessed by the operating system.
Certain programs or processes, such as chkdsk, may try to repair logical, or soft, damaged sectors by copying the data to a good sector. Mechanical, or hard, poor sectors, on the other hand, cannot be rectified and must be avoided in the future.
As previously said, this may be an indication of malware or a damaged Windows image, so make sure you investigate both of these possibilities. Run a security check and, if required, repair and upgrade your Windows 10 image.
3. Programs Aren’t Working Correctly
If some applications refuse to open or no longer function properly, this may be an indication of a failing hard disk.
We usually think about personal data when files or folders get damaged, but this also applies to the files and folders that a software need to run. If a software can’t locate an important file, it will either fail to start, crash unexpectedly, or perform poorly in general.
It’s possible that reinstalling the software will fix the problem. If your hard disk is really failing, this is just a band-aid solution. At some time, it will get corrupted again.
4. Windows Isn’t Starting
If your computer starts up but Windows 10 fails to load, it may be an indication that your hard drive is deteriorating. Even if Windows boots after numerous attempts, if the problem continues, it’s most likely a problem with your hard drive or a Windows 10 corruption.
When troubleshooting this problem, it’s recommended to first check the health of your hard drive, then fix Windows 10 if the disk seems to be in good shape.
5. BSODs on a regular basis
If you’re experiencing frequent “Blue Screen of Death” crashes, you’re probably dealing with a failing hard disk or another failing component. When Windows 10 is unable to obtain the data it needs to function, a forced crash known as a BSOD occurs.
When a disk reaches this stage, it may be impossible to save your data securely before it totally fails. You or someone you trust may need to physically remove the disk from the device, connect it to a computer through a hard drive dock or USB converter, and back up the data.
A BSOD is the last thing you want to happen when backing up data since it may damage the data permanently. Using a separate device guarantees that any data that is accessible is secure to retrieve.
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How to Tell if Your Hard Drive Isn’t Working
We’ve looked at five typical symptoms of a failing hard drive, but as you may have seen, many of these signs are also linked to other problems. Using a third-party software to examine the health of your hard drive is the fastest method to discover whether it is deteriorating. While there are many excellent applications available, CrystalDiskInfo is one of our favorites.
For years, CrystalDiskInfo has been the go-to resource for information on disk health. CrystalDiskInfo is a simple and lightweight software that rapidly analyzes your disks for a range of issues such as bad sector counts and reallocation counts, and then generates a comprehensive report on their health.
If it returns a “OK” grade, you’re probably good to go–the problem may be with your operating system, application, or malware. If your drive is rated “Caution” or “Bad,” you’ll need to back up your data or clone it to a new disk right away.
While CrystalDiskInfo is excellent and very trustworthy, if you have any doubts about the findings, back up your data. Even if you believe the information, make a backup of your data. Even the healthiest drives may be destroyed by unexpected power spikes.
Is It Possible to Recover Data from a Failed Hard Drive?
The short answer is that it depends on the severity of the failure.
There isn’t much you can do if the drive fails because the read/write arm on an HDD broke or the platters were damaged, other than sending it to a data recovery facility and hope for the best.
If your boot partition merely failed and your data partitions were not affected, you should be able to restore your data. You’ll need to remove the disk from your PC and use a hard drive dock or USB converter to transfer your data to another device or NAS.
Even if you are able to get the data, there is no assurance that it is not corrupt. This is why backing up your data and keeping an eye out for indications of imminent failure are so important.
What Can You Do to Avoid Failure?
We looked at the five most frequent symptoms of failing hard drives, how to tell whether the drive is failing, and whether or not data can be recovered from a failed drive. The last point we’ll discuss is what you can do to avoid a drive failure.
While your hard drive will ultimately fail, there are a few easy actions you can do on a regular basis to extend its life.
- Run “SFC /scannow” and “chkdsk /r” in Command Prompt once a month – SFC scannow will scan all of your Windows 10 system files and use a cached copy to replace any missing or damaged files. This will ensure that Windows 10 runs smoothly. Instead, the chkdsk program will scan your hard drive and either repair or label damaged sectors as bad, preventing them from being utilized. Both of these command-line operations are critical for maintaining the health of your hard disk.
- Monthly, check for Windows 10 and driver updates — While Windows 10 does automatic updates for itself and your drives, it’s still a good idea to check manually on a frequent basis since these upgrades may sometimes fail.
- Delete any applications that are no longer in use – Unused applications are not only a waste of space on your hard disk, but they may also cause data damage.
- Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever A full drive is sluggish and unable to reallocate data to avoid problematic sectors. Transfer unneeded files to an external disk or update your drive if you’re running out of space. If you have the room, you may even go with two or more drives. For gamers, having a separate boot/Windows 10 drive and a data drive is standard. This avoids a complete drive and guarantees that your data is not lost if your boot drive fails. This technique also results in an improvement in performance that can be measured.
- Finally, back up your data on a monthly, if not daily, basis. This won’t extend the life of your hard drive, but it’s a must-do. Everyone knows they should do it, but just a small percentage of them really do it. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to back up your data.
We Look Forward to Hearing From You
We hope you found this post useful. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a resource for the ordinary user.
As usual, if you have any questions about this or any other PC gaming subject, please contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Hard drives are one of the most important parts of any computer, and if they fail it can be very difficult to fix. Here are 5 signs your hard drive is failing and what you can do about it. Reference: hard drive problems and solutions.