How to Check if Your PC Hard Drive is Failing

A static hard disc has an average lifespan of five to ten years. If the drive is subjected to fluctuating temperatures, humidity, or external shocks, the lifespan will be reduced. In reality, your laptop hard drive will die after three to five years, and this is also true for SSDs.

In the best-case scenario, hard drives degrade gradually, allowing you plenty of time to back up your data and replace them before they fully fail. However, would you be able to tell if your hard drive is failing?

Is your hard drive failing?

An overheated computer, unusual noises (such as clicking or whirring sounds), and data or file corruption are the most prevalent indicators of a failing hard drive. Because hard disc failure symptoms can quickly escalate to significant issues, you should act promptly to save your data and avoid losing any information.

diagnosing a hard drive

Hard drive failure symptoms, like those of being unwell, can appear minor before becoming a major issue. Failing hard drive symptoms may appear to be minor at first, but if ignored, they can quickly ruin your Windows or Mac computer. Make sure you test your hard disc to figure out what’s wrong.

The following are the most prevalent indications of hard drive failure:

  • Overheating
  • Unusual noise
  • Data, files, and folders that have been corrupted
  • Major stutters
  • Motor with a stuck spindle
  • Error messages appear frequently.
  • The system goes down.
  • The Death Screen in Blue
  • Data access is being hampered by bad sectors.
  • The system is unable to start.

Your computer’s sluggishness, unstable programs, and other abnormal behavior may not signal that your hard disc is failing.

To test whether your issues go away, learn how to repair 100% disc use in Windows. Alternatively, you may use our thorough guide to speeding up and cleaning up your PC to take a detailed inventory of what’s causing your PC to run slowly.

Hard disc drives can also experience disc fragmentation, so if you have one, use a defrag application to help eliminate junkware (it’s like cleaning out your hard drive’s closet). If your troubles persist, your hard drive failure symptoms may be a sign of something more serious.

It’s tough to tell if signs of a failing hard drive are due to normal wear and tear, but if you wait too long, it may be too late. Perform a S.M.A.R.T. hard drive test as soon as feasible if your system indicates a bad hard disc.

A Video Explaining S.M.A.R.T by Techquikie

When your computer’s hard disc fails, it’s a life-threatening situation. All of your images, films, music, files, unfinished manuscripts, and almost everything else might vanish in a moment.

Vital Signs of a Failing Hard Drive

A Slow Hard Drive

If you see your system slowing down, it could be an early warning sign. The sluggishness is most noticeable when you access the disc, such as when you start programs, search for files, or save documents, but it can also be widespread.

Other factors may be to blame, so read our article on how to speed up Windows to narrow down the list of suspects.

Strange Noises

After using a computer for a while, you become familiar with the sounds it makes. There aren’t many these days, but new ones like clicking, grinding, or even ‘beeping’ should be treated seriously.

If you hear these noises while using the device, anything is likely seriously wrong with it, and continuing to use it will just prolong its end.

Corrupted Files

Another red flag is an increasing number of corrupted files, also known as ‘blue screens of death.’ So if you’re saving docs or other files yet they’re corrupt when you try to load them again, a failing disc could be to fault.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

The “blue screen of death,” a well-known stop fault, is one of the most highlighted signs of hardware failure in a computer with Windows 10.

Blue Screen of Death due to hard disk failure
A typical BSOD error

While there are a variety of factors that might cause these symptoms, just seeing one should raise red flags.

And if you see any of these symptoms persist after reinstalling your operating system or booting into Windows Safe Mode, this will lead to your hard drive failing.

Hardware Files Corrupted

There are files on your hard drive that has become corrupted. Corrupted files could potentially signal a slow-failing hard drive. Corrupted files are documents that refuse to open or disappear.

There’s a strong possibility you’re about to experience a hard disc failure if you keep seeing these errors or they become more frequent.

Hard Drive Clicking and Loud Noises

Unusual noises coming from your hard drives, such as loud clicking or spinning noises (especially while your computer is performing a few activities), should be taken seriously.

These odd noises are usually caused by a faulty component in your hard drive, which is a solid sign that your hard drive may fail shortly.

Hear these sounds and match them to any strange noises coming from your pc.

Notwithstanding all of these warning signs, hard drive failure might still happen unexpectedly.

As a result, creating backups of critical data on a second hard drive, a thumb drive, or an external hard drive is critical.

Only one way to be assured is to save data on several other discs. When a software program sounds the alarm, don’t wait until the last minute. The majority of people do not grasp the need for data backup until it is too long to wait!

Hard drives, like most other components on a PC that can fail, will give some indication of their declining state before they refuse to work entirely. Here are some symptoms that a hard disc problem is on the way:

  • Disappearing files: If a file simply vanishes from your machine, it could indicate that your hard disc is failing.
  • Freezing computer: Computers stop from time to time, and a short reboot nearly always fixes the problem. However, if you have to reset your computer more regularly, your hard disc may be failing.
  • Data corruption: If files on your hard drive become corrupted or unreadable for no apparent cause, your hard drive may be failing slowly.
  • Bad sectors: If you start getting error messages regarding “bad sectors” or “Cyclic Redundancy Error,” your hard drive is most likely having issues.
  • Sounds: If your hard drive is generating strange noises, especially grinding, clicking, or screeching noises, this could be a sign of trouble.

The lifespan of a Computer Hard Drive

Hard drives have a wide range of lifespans, yet they all have the same probability of failure. Hard drives require moving parts to function, and these moving parts are doomed to fail, whether due to normal wear and tear or physical assault.

Even a laptop designed for portability can wear out the hard disc more quickly when used on the go rather than sitting stationary at a desk.

Hard drives on average last about 4 to 8 years with moderate use. This broad array is responsible for the different factors that might influence the health of your hard drive, including how frequently you use it, how well you care for it, and a little amount of confidence.

What is the probability of a hard disc failing?

There appear to be three distinct failure “phases” in hard drives. In the first phase, which lasts 1.6 years, hard drives fail at a rate of 5.3 percent each year.

During the next 1.6 years, the annual failure rate drops to 1.5 percent. After three years, the failure rate rises to over 12% per year.

Can a failed hard drive be recovered?

It’s also worth noting that understanding how to repair a hard drive isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. Computers are delicate technological devices that can malfunction for seemingly insignificant reasons.

Always call us first to make sure you understand your data recovery alternatives before attempting to repair your completely failed drive.

Data loss is the most likely occurrence when your hard disc is damaged. Is it possible to retrieve data from an external hard disc that has been damaged?

Yes, a damaged hard drive can still be recovered.

To begin, connect your hard drive to another computer and see whether you can access the information. If that’s the case, you can copy them to a different hard disc that’s in good shape.

You can also use various do-it-yourself techniques to fix a broken hard drive and recover lost data. If all else fails, use an HDD recovery program or seek assistance from hard drive recovery services to recover your defective hard disc.

How to Prevent Data Loss on a Hard Drive

Here are some pointers to help you avoid losing data on a hard drive.

  • If you hear weird noises like clicking or grinding, turn off the device. Before you stop using the device, you should create a backup that includes deleted files using Disk Drill’s byte-level backup feature.
  • To keep your computer clear of viruses, install reliable antivirus software. Many viruses and malware infections can infiltrate your computer, leading to data loss.
  • To keep your data safe, make frequent backups. This may enable you to recover most or all of your data without the need for specialized software or the use of a data recovery service.
  • Avoid exposing the storage device to excessive heat.

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