The hard drive is where all your computer’s data is stored. It’s the place where all the information that your computer needs to perform its job including your files such as music, videos, and work files reside.
However, whether you’re using a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or a Solid State Drive (SDD), your hard drive will eventually fail due to wear and tear. Added to the fact that other factors can cause an early hard drive failure such as malware or computer virus, mishandling, and water damage.
What is even more frustrating is losing important files that you have worked hard for. So, before you become a victim of a hard drive meltdown, take note of these warning signs so you that you act quickly and save your data.
Frequent Freezing, Crashing, Slowing Down
Hard drives are not immune to system crashes and freezing. So, it is considered normal to sometimes experience episodes of computer freezing, crashing, or slowdowns, especially when it has been running nonstop for hours.
Episodes such as these may be remedied by a simple reboot to freshen it up. Now, frequent or constant crashes and slowdowns could already indicate a problem like faulty Processor, RAM, or GPU. A computer virus infection may also be the culprit.
However, these symptoms could also indicate an issue with the hard drive. Whatever the reason might be, it is important that you create a backup of your important files while you still can.
Bad Sectors and the Case of Corrupted or Vanishing Files
If you frequently experience difficulty opening files or folders, files appearing corrupted, or worse, files suddenly vanishing into thin air, then your hard drive may already be starting to fail.
As your hard drive start to wear and age, bad sectors would accumulate, making it difficult for the hard drive to read or write on them. In most cases, Windows will be able to repair “soft” bad sectors, which often are due to software errors. However, “hard” bad sectors — which is indicative of a physical damage — is almost always irreparable.
Takes a Long Time to Access
Does it often feel like it’s taking forever before your files show up? As your hard drive age, bad sectors accumulate, and files fill it up to capacity, it may take a longer time for the hard drive to perform even the most simple tasks.
If this happens all the time, then consider backing up your files before it’s too late, and have a technician take a look at your hard drive. Otherwise, your other recourse would be to get a data recovery service to retrieve lost data due to hard drive failure.
Strange Sounds or Noises
Strange, abnormal noises or sounds may already be a late warning sign that your hard drive is dying. If you happen to lose important and sensitive files saved in your computer, a data recovery service may be able to retrieve your data, granted that they are still recoverable.
Repetitive clicking could indicate that the read/write head of your hard drive is having difficulty accessing its firmware. A “clicking” sound is what it makes upon startup as it makes its way to the platters. If there is a fault in the heads or the firmware, it repeatedly retries to access the firmware, thus the repetitive clicking sound or the “click of death.”
A grinding or screeching sound can be caused by a breakdown of the mechanical components of the hard drive, or the read/write head crashing down and dragging across the platters’ surfaces.
Losing data due to hard drive failure is definitely a situation no one would ever want to go through; but it can happen. Machines are not built to last forever.
So, back up your files and heed the warning signs. Better safe than sorry.