, Data Recovery, Security and SafetyHard Drive Failures: Common Causes and Warning Signs

Hard Drive Failures: Common Causes and Warning Signs

2019-04-15T12:32:33-05:0025 Mar 2019|

Statistically, 90% of hard drives run past the three year mark.  So why is it so important to be able to diagnose a possible hard drive failure?

Your data is precious, priceless and crucial to your life.

While a wide variety of causes can shorten the lifespan of your hard drive, this article will help you diagnose a possible failure and make informed decisions for managing your data in the future.

Warning Signs

  1. Repeated system crashes or reboots
  2. Unresponsive or blank screen
  3. Error messages when trying to access files
  4. Missing files, files being deleted or moved
  5. CPU is unusually slow accessing and opening files
  6. Irregular noises such as clicking, tapping, grinding, etc.

If your computer is experiencing any of the above symptoms, turn the device off and consult with an expert

I believe my hard drive is damaged. What should I do?

Take a quick second to relax.

There are effective ways to troubleshoot faulty hard drives and recover lost data from damaged disks, but first you are going to need to find a data recovery service that works best for you or your business.

Also, please do NOT try and fix it yourself unless you truly are confident in the problem and solution.

Causes of Hard Drive Failure

Physical contact, heat, water, power surges, dust and time are the enemies of hard drives.

While being quite reliable, even the smallest fault can cause a hard drive failure.

Understanding when there’s a problem and taking simple precautionary steps could end up saving your data someday!

  •  Mechanical damage and failure
    • Heat – a malfunctioning fan or blocked vent could overheat your CPU
    • Water – damaging in the forms of spills, natural disasters and humidity
    • Shock/Drop – dropping a hard drive or vibration over time can cause various part to stop working
    • Electrical – power surges can fry the electrical components in a computer
  • Logical failure
    • Software or firmware – malware and other viruses can hold your files hostage
    • User error – editing the system registry or other setting can affect your hard drives ability to be recognized

Failure Rate – How Long do they Last?

Engineers coined the term “bathtub curve” to show the relative life of a population of products, which happens to work perfectly with the average failure rate of hard drives.

Hard drive failure occurs less than 2% of the time on average, but understanding this chart and the free statistics provided by BackBlaze, you will be more confident planning for your future data needs!

Graph of Hard Drive Failure Rates

This graph depicts hard drive failure rates over time, statistics found over years of testing.

Due to manufacturer defects, hard disk drives will have higher failure rates early on, known as “infant mortality” failure.

If a hard drive does not malfunction early in it’s life, it will likely last for years with normal use. As drives age, their mechanical parts naturally begin to wear and tear, leading to an increase in failures after year 2 which is shown by the line labeled “wear out failures” on the graph.

In conclusion, you can never be too safe when working with your data.

There are obvious signs of a failing hard drive that you should watch for, and a million reasons not to mess with it and lose your data.

If you think you hard drive needs attention, contact us now!