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How to Tell If Hard Drive is Failing

failing hard drive


When you are building a computer, one of the first things you look to buy is a hard disk drive (HDD). The hard drive is a fundamental component for a computer as it is the central storage unit for our data. We keep all our documents, music, videos, and files in it.

The computer storage components are evolving swiftly with the growing competition. Every big company wants to make the best hard drive with sizeable storage units and a sustainable design to last longer than before. But that doesn’t mean it will last forever.

Hard drives are mechanical devices with moving parts, and like any other automatic device (like cars), the components inside are bound to wear out, break or even fail. So it is essential to keep a lookout for signs of a failing hard drive. Or, it could cause you extensive losses in the form of data and money in case of a dead hard drive.

While there are ways to recover data from a dead hard drive, it could go the other way very quickly as well. So it is essential to establish some insight on methods to show symptoms of a failing hard drive and how to test if your hard drive is failing. Let’s jump straight into it.

Symptoms of a Failing Hard Drive

Some common signs of a failing hard drive include overheating and slow performance of the system, disk errors, and strange noises. But how can I find out if my hard drive is failing? Here are some signs that will point you towards that.

Sluggish performance of your PC

If the commands in your computer are taking a lot longer than usual to run, it could very well be because of a failing hard drive. To define what we mean by commands taking longer than customary time, the PC will take more time to transfer data, open folders, or run programs.

You can reformat your PC to optimize its performance, or you can try defragmentation, but if both these solutions do not work, it will be best to make a backup of your data and buy a new hard drive.

Loud Unusual Noises

Hard drives are mostly silent, but sometimes we hear a repetitive sound of loud clicking and grinding noises. It could very well lead to malfunctioning of a component in a hard drive or even its complete failure. For example, a spindle is responsible for keeping the platters in position and rotates them when commanded. It moves them at a pace, and if the component isn’t working as required, it can lead to strange noises.

So if you hear these strange noises, then it is better to have a look at it or find a professional who can distinguish the noises and tell if it is coming from the hard drive or not. If it is, then act quickly!

Blue screen of Death

When you are looking for the hard drive failure symptoms, one of the most common signals is the Blue screen of Death (BSoD) stop error. The main thing that prompts it is the data corruption on the hard drive. If you want to know how to check if the hard drive is failing windows 10, this Blue screen of Death is a good indicator.

blue screen of death

Other factors can cause a BSoD stop error, but coming across it is a concern for hard drive failure.

Corrupted and Missing Data on your Hard Drive

Sometimes we save a file, and a day later, it goes missing. And sometimes, the files do not open and give an error on clicking. Both these instances, if happening frequently, are likely indicators of a potential hard drive failure.

windows detected hard disk error

This error is primarily caused by hard drive failure, but system errors such as registry error, RAM decline, virus, etc., can also generate this error.

What to do Next?

There are a number of things that you can do after diagnosing hard drive failure.

  • Your data is at risk, so the first thing you can do is make a backup of your data in case of a sudden failure of the hard drive. You can use an external hard drive or an online backup drive like Google Drive and/or OneDrive.
  • Buy a new hard disk. Most HDDs and SSDs are readily available online and in tech stores.
  • In case of recovery and testing, go for a software solution. There are plenty of software programs like ScanDisk, TestDisk, Chkdsk, etc., available that are designed for recovery and testing of your hard drive.
About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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