October 22

Hard drive failure is often a surprise but crashes don’t really come out of nowhere. You can often spot a potential drive crash before it happens if you know what to look for. This is useful ahead of time so you have a chance to get a backup in and save data.

Here’s a list of signs you may notice in your computer that might signal imminent drive failure.

Danger: Hard Drive Failure Ahead

Backing up important stuff as soon as you can to a thumb drive, external storage or online cloud service should be first priority. Then perhaps some basic diagnostics and taking some steps to replace the drive if it is on its last legs.

Signs your Hard Drive Might Be About to Fail

Unusual Noises/Clicking

We’ll start with the symptom we see with data loss the most, and perhaps the most obvious sign. Unusual sounds and clicking can indicate a number of different things is going wrong with the hardware of your drive including grinding or screeching of the read/write heads against the platters, or the motor struggling to keep spinning.

Severe lag opening files/folders

This could be a sign that your PC is infected by malware or a virus, but it also could be something worse. Over time a hard drive’s performance might begin to degrade to the point where bad sectors develop. This will cause corruption which can damage folders and files preventing them from opening or at the least slow down the computer’s ability to access them.

Files start disappearing

Related to the previous sign, bad sectors can prevent files from being opened, and as they get worse, prevent files from existing altogether! If this problem with the drive continues, more data will go missing and you might not be able to save new files either. Don’t lose hope, the lost files can likely be recovered (that’s where we come in)- but this is definitely a sign of a waning hard drive.

Unrecognized hard drive at boot

PC not recognizing the hard drive when starting to boot up sometimes? While this could be an electrical/connection problem – it can also mean the drive is struggling and about to fail.

Computer crashes often

This could be a symptom of a myriad of issues from app bugs to operating system corruption, but an increase in unexpected crashes/restarts can indicate OS data corruption caused by a hard drive starting to fail.

Computer problems don’t always indicate hard drive problems, but being aware of the potential for a drive to fail and what it may mean when exhibiting these sorts of symptoms can be the difference between keeping data and losing it for good. Of course, see your local IT support staff or a computer technician to help you assess the situation — and if data does get lost, recovery specialists like us will be there for you.

Category: helpful hints, data loss prevention

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