What Is Hard Drive Failure
Hard drive failure can be a disaster as all the data on the disk can be lost suddenly without any precaution. However, hard drive failures do have signs. If you pay attention to them and do the prevention measures beforehand, you may avoid the annoying data loss caused by a hard drive failure.
Some users may don't know what hard drive failure is. So, in the first place, I will illustrate to you what hard drive failure is and its consequences to your computer.
What Is Hard Drive Failure
Normally, a typical lifespan for a hard drive is 3-5 years with normal use. But sometimes, your hard drive may crash no matter how long it has been used. SSD will fail as well, but it happens less frequently. Generally speaking, there are two types of hard drive failures: physical and logical.
For physical hard drive failure, it means the hard disk or one of its components has become physically damaged or stops working entirely, which could lead to Windows boot issues and data loss.
For logical hard drive failure, there are no mechanical issues on the hard drive but the hard drive may fail to function normally or satisfactorily, as the damage occurs in a hard drive's file structure or software rather than the internal hard disk. When a logical hard drive failure occurs, files may be inaccessible or disappeared. In other cases, the computer operating system may have been corrupted.
Luckily, many hard drives will show indications that there is a problem before the full crash. If you are worried that your hard drive is failing, check if your hard drive shows the following symptoms. Here are some hard drive failure signs that can indicate hard drive failure.
Symptom 1. Frequent Computer Freezes, and Crashes
If you find your computer freezes and crashes like the Blue Screen of Death issue frequently, it is possibly caused by your hard drive. And if it occurs after a fresh installation, it is very likely due to bad hardware, and possibly a failing hard drive.
There are many causes of computer freezes and crashes, but it also indicates hard drive failure coming soon. Under this situation, you can copy your important data to an external hard drive in case of accidental hard drive failure.
Symptom 2. Missing Files or Files Failed to Open
One of the typical signs of hard drive failure is files suddenly disappeared or failed to open. If you find some files fail to open and are corrupted even though they were saved without errors OR if some files suddenly disappear, you should stay alert and take action. The data stored on the hard drive should be recovered and transferred to a safe place.
Symptom 3. Consuming Excessive Time to Access Folders and Files
Really long wait time to access folders and files is also a sign of hard drive failure, which is due to the failing areas of the hard drive requiring repeated read attempts before successful access. However, this can be also caused by many other computer issues, but it is also a typical sign of hard drive failure.
Symptom 4. A Rising Number of Bad Sectors
A rising number of bad sectors can be a sign of a failing hard drive. A bad sector is a disk sector on a disk storage unit that is permanently damaged. Once damaged, all information stored on the sector will be lost. Accumulated bad sectors are a sign of hard drive failure and they are hard to identify. When large amounts of your disk are currently in use, the data stored on the disk could be in danger.
Some users may ask: how do I know if my hard drive has bad sectors? Normally, when you perform some specific operations or open some files, your computer is significantly running slow or the disk is ticking. This can indicate that there are some bad sectors on your hard disk. Click to learn how to check and repair bad sectors on your hard disk.
Symptom 5. Strange Sounds
Sound can also indicate a hard drive failing. If you hear strange sounds like clicking or grinding noises coming from the drive, you should pay attention to it. At the same time, it is highly recommended to make an instant backup as your drive can be crashed at any time.
You may not think this is a problem as everything works normally. But if your drives read/write heads fail, they could drop down onto the platter surface and scratch the delicate surfaces, leading to data loss. So if you find that your hard drive makes occasional clicks or grinding sounds, you’d better backup your data immediately and replace the drive.
Symptom 6. S.M.A.R.T. Status Is Not OK
S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a monitoring system included in computer hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), and eMMC drives, providing each device with a degree of internal status monitoring.
Modern hard drives have S.M.A.R.T. built in, so they can do basic self-monitoring to inform the coming hardware failures. When S.M.A.R.T. data indicates a possible imminent drive failure, software running on the host system will inform users so they can take preventative action beforehand.
Well, how to check S.M.A.R.T. status to view the hard disk health with the S.M.A.R.T monitoring system? You can view a very basic S.M.A.R.T. status from the Windows Command Prompt. Here are detailed steps.
Step 1. Input cmd in the Windows Cortana box and choose the best match to open Command Prompt.
Step 2. Input wmic and press Enter.
Step 3. Input diskdrive get status and press Enter.
Step 4. If the status of your hard disk is fine, you will see a message OK.
If your hard disk status is NOT OK or shows other statuses—such as Bad, Caution, or Unknown, you should keep an eye on your hard drive or consider changing another hard disk. It does not necessarily mean that your hard drive is going to fail immediately, but you need to take measures.
What Should You Do to Protect Hard Drive Failing?
The above are some typical symptoms of hard drive failure. And sometimes hard drive failure can also happen at any time without warning. Even if your hard drive doesn’t die completely, it could corrupt portions of your data. So, what should you do to protect hard drive failing?
The best way is to back up your hard drive or replace it with a healthy hard disk before the actual crash occurs. To back up everything on the hard drive in a time-saving way, it is recommended to use the professional backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup.
After reading these typical signs of hard drive failure listed above, you may have learned how to tell if your hard drive is failing. If you find that your hard drive is failing, you’d better replace your hard disk with a healthy one immediately with the free disk cloning software.