How to Tell if Your Hard Drive is Going to Fail

Having your computer fail on you can ruin your whole day. Or week. No one wants to hear that they are going to have to go through the hassle of buying a new computer. No to mention the anxiety of whether or not everything from your old computer will transfer to the new one.

Most of the time the need for a new computer comes out of a hard drive failure. Thankfully, there are signs that you can look for that will let you know when your hard drive is about to fail. And if you respond in time to these signs, you can get out of the whole mess with minimal irritation.

But first, let’s back up to the basics.

What is the hard drive?

The hard drive is the brains of your computer. It is where every piece of data is stored, from pictures to spreadsheets. And much like your brain, when the hard drive fails, the computer stops working.

Signs of impending hard drive failure

There are some things you want to be paying attention to that will give you a warning if your hard drive is going to fail. There are rare occasions where your hard drive will crash out of the blue, but the majority of the time there are warning signs that you can look for.

1. Strange noises

When you first get a new computer and turn it on, and hear the hard drive start up, it makes this really great sound. Very smooth and exciting, like the sound of new car’s purring engine. But over time, just like with a car, you might start to notice the sounds change. Your hard drive is going to take a lot of wear and tear over the years, so it will have to work harder to start up. But keep your ears open for sounds that are really out of the ordinary, especially grinding type noises. This could mean your hard drive is really close to crashing, and you need to prepare.

2. Performance issues

Your computer is going to slow down over time. This is really just a fact. The machine is going to get older, you are going to put a ton of stuff on it, and it is going to slow down. There are ways you can help improve the performance of an old machine, but it will never be as good as when you first got it.

That said, if you are experiencing incredibly ridiculous performance issues on your machine, it can be the sign of a bigger problem, such as a virus or a hard drive failure. If things start to happen like it takes 2 hours for the machine to boot up in the morning, or if it takes 45 minutes to save a Word document, it is definitely time to call in tech support. These are really serious issues that could mean a hard drive failure in the near future.

3. The Blue Screen of Death and Constant Crashing

Few things in life are more irritating than when you are right in the middle of working on something and your computer reboots without warning you. Just, “Hey, I’ve decided it’s time to reboot. Hope you were ready for it.” Well believe it or not, this is your computer’s way of sending you a cry for help. It’s telling you that there is a serious issue, especially if it happens on a regular basis.

And don’t forget constant blue-screening. Let’s remember, it’s called the blue screen of death for a reason. It means that it’s time to call in the professionals, and prepare yourself for the almost certainty that your hard drive is failing.

So, what can you do about it?

The truth is, all hard drives are going to stop working eventually. They are pieces of machinary and they are not everlasting. So while there is nothing you can do to ultimately prevent a hard drive failure, there are a few things you can be mindful of so that you are prepared when it does eventually fail.

1. Backups

This is without a doubt the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for a hard drive failure. You need to make sure you have up-to-date backups and that they are working correctly. You also should make sure that you have a data recovery plan in place for when you need to use it. And, as you start to notice the signs of an upcoming hard drive failure, take the time to check over your backups and plans daily, so that you won’t lose any data when the hard drive fails.

2. If you notice something strange, don’t ignore it!

If you start to hear weird noises, or if you notice your computer performance has slowed down considerably, don’t wait to talk to your IT professional. When the problem has become so bad that you notice it, a hard drive failure can’t be too far behind. An IT professional will be able to diagnose the issue, and help you move forward with next steps. But if you wait too long, and ignore the signs, the hard drive may be past the point of recovery, and you could lose all your data.

When it comes to hard drive failures just remember: Better safe then sorry.

Business IT Solutions

Network Depot has been providing professional IT Support for businesses in and around Reston, VA since 1991. We strive to give our clients Enterprise-level services and solutions at prices that work for small businesses.

Time and experience has helped us develop best practices and workflow procedures around a proactive philosophy designed to keep your focus on your business, not your technology.

Proven IT Experts

Our team of experts can become your outsourced IT department; responding to issues quickly, often before you even know about them. Your IT infrastructure is our priority!