Hard drives are highly technical but very simple to use. This leads people to take it for granted that their hard drives have an unlimited lifetime.
In reality, a hard drive is a rather fragile piece of equipment. The disc inside the average hard drive spins 7,200 times per minute. High-performance hard drives can reach 10,000 revolutions per minute.
Our computer hard drives are packed with important documents and precious memories. It's where we store everything from copies of our passports and social security numbers to pictures and videos of family vacations and milestones.
Nevertheless, it's astonishing how many people forget to backup their data. The average hard drive has a lifespan of four years. Without backups, it's not a matter of if you'll lose your data, but when.
Read on to learn about some of the signs of hard drive failure.
Watch Out for These 5 Signs of Hard Drive Failure
The earlier you realize that your hard drive is perilously close to failure, the better. After the hard drive has failed, it becomes much more difficult to recover your data.
You really should be making a backup copy of all your important data, but you'll still want to keep an eye out for these signs that your hard drive is about to crash.
1. Corrupted Files
If you try to open a file that worked previously but now fails to open, this is the sign of a corrupted file.
It's true that there are many reasons that files can become corrupted. The cause can range from an error that occurred while the file was being saved to virus and malware attacks.
If you notice that you're finding an increasing number of corrupted files on your computer or that files have started to disappear, this can be a sign of hard drive failure.
2. A Decrease in Computer Performance
Again, similar to corrupted files, there are many things that can cause issues with your computer's performance.
Computer performance issues can include your computer slowing down and operating at a snail's pace, frequently freezing especially when you're only running a few programs and most critical of all on Windows machines, the blue screen of death.
You'll notice these performance issues when your computer is accessing the hard drive. This occurs when you're searching for or opening files, saving documents or starting programs.
When any of these issues occur, try restarting your computer. On Windows machines, you can even run it in Windows Safe Mode. If these problems persist after you've restarted your computer, there is a strong chance that you have a malfunctioning piece of computer hardware.
Regardless of what is causing these performance issues, all of them are signs that you should make a backup of your data and get your computer checked out by a computer repair technician.
3. Strange Sounds
You're probably accustomed to your computer making the occasional odd noise.
When the fan is being overtaxed, your computer may start to sound like an airplane taking off. And then, of course, there's the chorus of beeps that tell you it's turning on. These are all regular sounds for your computer to make.
You should start to worry, however, if you notice strange sounds emitting from your computer. A repetitive clicking sound is a sign that your hard drive is failing at writing new data. Grinding, screeching or beeping sounds are all signs that hard drive failure is imminent.
4. Bad Sectors in Your Hard Drive
When parts of your hard drive start to fail, these are referred to as bad sectors. Unfortunately, these are very difficult to identify. When bad sectors occur, your operating system will automatically cover them up by using other sectors of the hard drive to run your computer.
One way that you may notice that there are bad sectors on your computer is if your computer is showing that more of the disc is in use than there should be for the programs that you're running.
For example, if you're running a word processor and an offline music player, but your hard drive is being taxed, this could be a sign of hard drive failure.
You can manually check the health of your hard drive by running the Checking Disk tool on Windows computers. It will give you options to automatically fix errors and scan for bad sectors.
5. S.M.A.R.T. Data
Your operating system records Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T) data about your hard drive.
Unfortunately, the warning system is generally unreliable at predicting failure.
However, for people who are proactive about monitoring the health of their hard drive, you can use it to check your hard drive and prevent hard drive failure.
How To Tell If Your Hard Drive is Failing - Tech Tips
Act Quickly If You See Any Of The Above Signs
As soon as you notice any of the above signs of hard drive failure, you need to immediately create a backup of all your data.
Best case scenario your hard drive is fine and you have a spare copy of all your important documents. On the other hand, if the worst case scenario does occur, it's not a big deal since you haven't lost anything.
What To Do If Your Hard Drive Has Crashed
If you're reading this article after your hard drive has already crashed, then knowing the signs of hard drive failure is not very helpful.
Whether or not you'll be able to recover your data depends on what type of failure has occurred. In some cases, you can use data recovery software to retrieve your data. In other situations, you will need to contact a data rescue specialist who may or may not be able to recover your data.
Have you recently suffered a hard drive crash? Contact us by phone or in person if you're located in Northern Kentucky and we'll see what we can do.
Call (859) 635 9909 For all your computer needs
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