Symptoms of Hard Drive Failure

Blue screen filled with text

Storing important files digitally makes many aspects of life much more convenient. One of the best perks of the digital age we live in is ease with which we can share ideas, images, and documents with friends, family, or colleagues, without the burden of carrying masses of paper work around with us. Of course, being as deep as we are in the “age of information”, we often take our digital storage for granted. Unless we are obsessive in our backing up of data, we are all at risk of hard drive failures at some point.
Depending on what exactly was stored on the unit in question, hard drive failures can be a frustrating experience at best, and a terrifying one at worse. Fortunately, there are several tell-tale signs that a hard drive is no longer functioning the way it should. If you experience one of these symptoms, it would be a wise idea to back up immediately, and consider a replacement hard drive.


Abnormal Noises

While not all hard drives these days have moving parts inside, the older HDD units do have a physical disk. Over time, parts like this will degrade, become loose and not function as efficiently as they once did. This can lead to slow downs, and scratching, clicking, or spinning noises from inside the unit itself. Identifying which of these abnormal noises you are experiencing is important for diagnosing exactly what is wrong with the drive. Clicking noises are usually an indication of a corrupt drive, with the clicks themselves signifying errors writing data to the disk. Scratching, or spinning noises, on the other hand, are more likely to be signs of an internal fault with the mechanisms themselves. This can mean the disk itself has come loose, there is a malfunction of the motor, or problems with the bearings.
Prominent audible noises coming from a hard drive are clear symptoms of an imminent hard drive failure. Upon hearing such a sound, data should be immediately backed up to avoid any loss.

Lagging, Crashing, and the ‘Blue Screen of Death’

If suddenly your computer starts performing much slower than it used to, you receive the infamous ‘blue screen of death’ (blue background, white text, and immediate shut down of system), or sporadic freezes, it is likely a sign of imminent hard drive failures.
While these symptoms are not exclusive to a failure of your machine’s memory system, the repetition of any one of them should prompt an immediate back up of data, followed by thorough, professional analysis of the system and its faults.

Data Corruption

If, when you go to open a file on your computer, or from an external hard drive, you receive a message stating that the files were corrupted, or are not able to be opened for some other reason, this may be a sign of a damaged hard drive. If this happens, the situation may not be as dire as the pop-up warning on your computer suggests. However, it should encourage an immediate back up of the data that is accessible on the drive at least. It would also be a smart move to book a consultation with a data recovery specialist to discuss the restoration of the missing files.

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