Hard Drive Failure Signs

A full hard drive failure indicates a number of problems. But the most common cause is bad sectors, which can be fixed by using software like TestDisk on your PC or on some other device with read-write support.

Hard Drive Failure Signs are a sign that your hard drive is about to fail. There are some signs that you can look for in order to determine if this is happening. Windows 10 has a built-in tool that allows you to check for Hard Drive failure. Read more in detail here: how to check if hard drive is failing windows 10.


Today, we’ll look at how to spot hard drive failure signals, a skill that might spare you a lot of grief, heartbreak, and anger if you lose data due to a broken hard drive.

This article will show you how to recognize the early indicators of hard drive failure and what you can do to prevent it. We’ll also explain how to repair a failing hard drive since when a hard drive fails, it’s usually time to replace it.

All mechanical drives are doomed to fail.

First and first, if you have a mechanical hard disk drive, let me state the obvious:

At some point, it will definitely collapse. The issue is, when will it happen?

The following are the most common causes of hard disk failure:

  • Trauma to the body (e.g. bumps, dropping)
  • Extremely high temperatures
  • The passage of time (general wear and tear)

Because mechanical hard disk drives are made up of mechanical elements, they will eventually fail. The goal of this article is to assist you in recognizing early warning indicators so that you can take the appropriate steps to avoid data loss and make the transfer to a new drive as smooth as possible.

When My Hard Drive Fails, What Happens?

Let’s take a minute to discuss the consequences of a hard disk failure. What does this imply for you?

The hard disk in your computer is the primary storage device for everything on it. This is the non-volatile memory area that saves crucial data that make your computer truly usable, such as your operating system and, let’s not forget, vital things like family photographs and prior tax returns, even when your computer is switched off, disconnected, or not connected to power.

upset-woman-yelling-with-hands-upYes, losing all of your computer data may be devastating.

If your hard disk dies, the extent to which it affects you will likely be determined by how your computer hardware is presently configured. Some individuals may be able to survive a hard drive failure (provided their data is properly backed up), but for the majority, a hard drive failure might be disastrous in terms of data loss.

Why Is Taking Action Early The Best Option?

If you suspect that your hard disk is nearing the end of its useful life (yes, they do have a limit), the best course of action is to act as soon as possible.

Hard drives often fail slowly, exhibiting familiar warning signals that may be detected and addressed. In most circumstances, your hard drive will continue to function for a few more weeks, months, or years if you’re fortunate – providing you crucial time to copy and back up any vital data/files that you want to save, and move them to a new hard drive (though you may even opt for a solid state drive these days).

Failure to act quickly may result in a catastrophic hard drive failure, in which your hard disk just stops operating one day, making data and information saved on the drive far more difficult to retrieve.


Symptoms of Hard Drive Failure

  • The computer has slowed to a halt.
  • It takes a long time for goods to load, if they load at all.
  • When doing read/write operations or copying significant quantities of data, the hard disk produces sounds.
  • It’s possible that the loading process will get stuck.
  • When your keyboard or mouse freezes, you must do a hard reset.
  • Your computer ‘hangs’ or freezes regularly, causing you to do a hard reset.
  • After copying or saving, files get corrupted.
  • Loss of data
  • When you open the file, you’ll see that the text contains foreign characters.
  • The video files begin to skip.
  • The computer will not start up.
  • When you start up, you get a message indicating that one of your drives needs to be examined.

If these indicators arise on a frequent basis, you’ve got a hard disk failure on your hands. The occasional computer freeze is not a problem, but if you have to hard-reset your computer regularly because it locks up and becomes unresponsive, as well as performs extremely slowly, it’s a warning that hard disk failure is approaching.

Take Immediate Action

Identify any vitally essential files on your computer and back them up to a USB storage device, portable hard drive, CD/DVD, or, if you have one, a second hard drive.

portable hard driveThese bigger drives, which are characteristic of portable USB hard drives, generally offer lots of storage capacity (as opposed to the smaller USB Thumb Drives).

These same hard drive failure warning indicators began to appear on my laptop computer lately, so I went out and bought a portable hard drive to backup my data.

Hard-Drive-Failure-SignsTo back up my crucial data from my failing hard disk, I purchased one of these Western Digital portable USB hard drives.

irI continued to use my laptop until I was able to do something more permanent about the failing hard drive, but the portable hard drive served as decent insurance against total file loss and provided some piece of mind.

How to Make a Data Backup

Keep in mind that moving data from a failing hard disk to a new drive puts a lot of strain on the new drive.

To copy data from your hard drive, the internal disk must spin and read each bit of data in the files you want to duplicate, and these bits may be spread around the drive. In other words, moving data off the disk is like to asking a tired runner to go another quarter mile.

hard-disk-driveThe disk within your hard drive will need to spin and the arm will need to move in order to read the relevant data – as you can see, there are a lot of moving components, which means there are a lot of possible failure sites.

Because there’s a potential the hard drive can fail while you’re moving data over, it’s a good idea to think about where your most important files are and back up your data in order of importance. Avoid scheduling too many tasks at once, since this can tax your computer’s hardware and strain your hard disk.

In a perfect world, you’d choose the files you wish to back up and then drag and drop them into the new storage place (e.g. a portable USB hard drive). Give your computer a rest once you’ve established this action to enable it to transfer the data without having to deal with you multitasking it with other tasks, such as attempting to surf the internet or updating your current financial spreadsheet. You may either go away and return after it’s completed copying, or you can simply watch the screen to see what happens.

If you have a lot of data, copy it in batches and in the order that it is most important to you. For example, I copied my tax returns and financial information first, then my photographs and movies, and last my old college papers.

What To Do If Your Hard Drive Fails

This video shows you how to replace a hard disk with a different hard drive (as opposed to replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive).

It’s from 2011, but the concept is still the same — just keep in mind that the grey IDE ribbon cables shown in the video are quite uncommon today! They were ancient technology back then, and they’re absolutely antiquated today in 2016. What you’ll see today are SATA drives.


After you’ve replaced your hard drive, you’ll need to reload your old data onto it, as well as reinstall your operating system and any other applications that were previously installed. Another option is to do a direct complete hard disk copy by powering both drives at the same time. This avoids the need to reinstall your operating system and software, but it needs a bit more know-how.


We’ve gone through some of the most typical indicators of impending hard drive failure, as well as what you should do if you see any of these signals. Keep an eye out for slow computer performance, loud hard drives, frequent computer hangs, and file copy/transfer issues.

The easiest strategy to deal with a failing hard disk is to conduct a backup as soon as possible by moving crucial information to another storage device. Then, before the failing hard disk fails severely and prevents you from accessing your data, replace it.

The “hard drive failure fix” is a topic that many people are not aware of. There are signs that show if your hard drive has failed or not. These signs will help you to identify the issue before it becomes too late.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if hard drive fails?

A: If you hard drive fails, the game will automatically save your progress to a Drive Image. You can then restore that image onto another hard drive or USB memory stick without losing any of your progress!

How do you fix a hard drive failure?

A: Some simple steps include checking your connections, making sure the drive is not too hot or cold and spinning it. If those do not work you may need to replace cables or try different ports on the motherboard if possible.

What causes hard drive failure?

A: Hard drive failure can be caused by many things, such as bad sectors on the hard disk, dust accumulating and building up in between data tracks of a platter due to lack of air flow.

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