Hard Drive Failure Symptoms & Preventative Measures

Kate SaundersHardware

A hard drive can fail when you least expect it. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a failing hard drive to prevent loss of important data, as well as ensuring that your computer doesn’t go down at a critical moment.

There are a number of factors that can cause a hard drive to fail. Some of these may include:

❌ Manufacturer defect
❌ Old age
❌ Overheating
❌ Software conflict
❌ User damage due to being dropped or bumped

There are two types of hard drive failures; logical and physical. The type of hard drive failure you have will depend on the cause. Unfortunately, both types of failures present a risk of data loss. To increase your chances of recovering your data, it is important to address the issue as soon as you become aware.

Logical Hard Drive Failure

A logical hard drive failure occurs when the drive itself is healthy however you cannot boot into the operating system. System driver conflict, software malfunction or human error are the most likely causes of a logical hard drive failure.

This particular type of hard drive failure is a bit trickier to resolve as imaging or cloning the drive will not work. Reinstalling Windows or running system tools can potentially make the issue worse, so it is important that you use the correct software to resolve the issue. There is a possibility that your data is recoverable so long as it is still present on the drive.

Physical Hard Drive Failure

A physical hard drive failure is caused by malfunction of the drive itself. There are generally tell-tale signs of a physical hard drive failure by the sounds the drive will make. (Clicking, clunking, grinding, whirring). If the drive is making noise, but you can still boot to it this is a good sign that you may be able to save your data.

Saving your data in this situation, however, comes with risks. Running a failing hard drive can put too much stress on the drive making your data corrupt or completely unrecoverable. The safest way to get an image or clone of your drive is to drop your machine into your local IT store where they will remove the drive from the machine itself and place it into an external docking station. By placing a failing drive into an external docking station, the amount of stress on the drive is minimised making the data recovery process safer and much more likely.

Symptoms of a Hard Drive Failure

There are many tell-tale signs that something is not quite right with your hard drive. Some of these may include:

❌ Computer running slow/ sluggish
❌ Extremely slow file access times
❌ Issues with booting
❌ Folder & file names have been scrambled
❌ Disappearing folders or files
❌ Frequent error messages when performing tasks
❌ Frequent PC crashes or Blue Screens
❌ Loud or strange noises coming from the drive that you didn’t hear previously

What to do if Your Hard Drive Has Failed

If you suspect that your hard drive has failed, shutdown your machine immediately to avoid any further stress on the drive. Give us a call and we’ll be able to assist you in retrieving your data with a range of recovery options available.

Preventative Measures

Like any operating machine, it is important to have your PC serviced regularly. Be sure to schedule your PC for regular check-ups to ensure that everything is running as intended.

It is also important to prepare yourself for the unexpected by backing up any data you’re not willing to lose as data is not always recoverable in the event of a hard drive failure. You can read more about backups here: http://infin.net.au/backups/cloud-backups-vs-physical-backups/