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The Official DSR Blog

Five Common Hard Drive Failure Symptoms

By on December 3, 2012

Think you might be experiencing a hard drive failure? Read on to learn 5 signs your hard drive might be failing, and learn what you can do about it.

Do you know anything about hard drive failure symptoms?

If you’re like most computer users, you don’t think much about your hard drive failing until it actually happens. Just imagine losing years of pictures, movies and music, important documents, and other such data, and you’ll quickly see why it pays to know just what to look for.

It’s very rare for a hard drive to fail suddenly and without warning. Knowing what to lookout for can keep you from getting surprised by a hard drive crash, giving you a chance to rescue your valuable data.

So keep reading this post, because we’ll be taking a closer look at common hard drive failure symptoms and what you can do to keep from losing your information.


Do you already know what you need and want to get started right away?

Then pick up your phone and call us at 410-579-4508.

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What Causes Hard Drive Failure?

In order to understand the signs of a failing hard drive, it helps to know what causes the trouble in the first place.

Hard drives are mechanical devices with moving parts, which means that failure due to age is inevitable. While that may take some time, it is possible for a hard drive to fail prematurely thanks to scenarios like:

  • The computer jolting in some way while the disk is writing
  • Extreme heat, causing the circuit board to fail
  • Power failure while the computer is running

These situations can all lead to a “physical failure,” which is the term used when a component inside the drive fails to work properly.

A hard drive can also undergo “logical failure,” or a corruption to the system. This might come from something like important data being erased, or a virus in your computer, but it can lead to common hard drive failure symptoms nonetheless.

So, Just What Are the Symptoms of Hard Drive Problems?

There are many different signs that a hard drive is going to fail and, fortunately, many are easy to recognize.

If you fear that your hard drive is failing, then look for one of five of the most prominent issues:

  • Slow Access Times – If something as simple as accessing a word document is taking longer than it used to, your hard drive could be close to failing for a number of reasons.For any modern computer, it shouldn't take more than a few seconds to do something like open an internet browser. If you find that it does, and the problem only gets worse, then total hard drive failure might not be far behind.
  • Constant Crashing – Crashes are sometimes caused by bad hardware installation, but there are other times when those crashes are hard drive failure symptoms.If your computer's hard drive crashes often, especially when the operating system is trying to boot, then you might be facing imminent hard drive failure.
  • Clicking Sounds – Hard drive clicking is a sign that there is a mechanical component on the verge of failing inside your hard drive. If the clicking sounds are persistent, then you will want to power it down immediately in order to keep the problem from getting worse.
  • The Computer Doesn't Recognize the Drive – This is one of the most common hard drive failure symptoms that people encounter. At times, the problem could be with the operating system. However, if a diagnosis reveals that there is nothing wrong with the operating system, then it probably does lie with the drive.If possible, test the drive in another computer to be 100 percent positive.
  • Information Vanishes – You often know where your most important data lives, so suddenly not being able to find it can be a frustrating telltale sign.If your data was there one day and then gone the next, then your hard drive may be dying and should probably be replaced soon.

So What Can You Do?

Once you've noticed one of these hard drive failure symptoms, you need to remedy the situation fast.

In many cases, you will need to replace the faulty drive with a good one. Before you do that, however, you will want to back the data up. After data backup, you will need to transfer data from the faulty drive to the good one.

If you want to make sure your information is protected when experiencing hard drive failure symptoms, then we here at DSR Inc. can help.

We provide a wide range of IT solutions for Windows-based PCs as well as Apple computers, so we know we can help with whatever you need.

Give us a call at (410) 579-4508 or click here to contact us online today and have your computer running properly before you know it!

Topics: Computer Repair

About the Author

Dan Hogan is the President and CEO of DSR, Inc. Since joining the DSR team in 2000, Dan has helped to distinguish DSR as a unique option for purchasing and supporting computer technology equipment in Maryland and the surrounding midatlantic region. He is passionate about making exceptional quality equipment available at affordable prices.