How To Find if Hard Drive Is Failing (And What To Do)

An average life expectancy of a hard drive is four to six years. Everyone uses a hard disk as a secondary storage device to store data on their computer. Now, if the drive fails, what will happen? You may lose the data. If you face hard drive failure, you may not know where to go or who to turn to for answers to your most pressing questions, let alone the assistance required to recover your files. This article discusses symptoms that will help find if a hard drive is failing, determine the cause of a hard drive crash, and how to repair a hard drive failure.

How To Find if Hard Drive Is Failing (And What To Do)

When Good Hard Drives Go Bad

What causes a good hard drive to fail? Are they destined to like this? Is this poor manufacturing? Or do they fall in with the wrong crowd -Well, physical damage, wear and tear, logical failure, or something else can all cause drive failure.

In a complicated device such as a hard drive, failure occurs in the early stages of the use or near the end of its expected life. When damage to the drive is not a factor, you can expect one of two common hard drive failure scenarios: a new hard drive with a problem straight from the manufacturer that fails quickly, or an old drive nearing the end of its expected useful life that fails when a component finally breaks from wear and tear.

How To Find if Hard Drive Is Failing?

Here’s what you can look out for to determine if your hard drive is failing.

  1. Freezing, Crashing, and Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)
  2. Bad Sector Accumulation
  3. Motor Failure
  4. Adaptive Drift

Let’s try to understand what each of these means.

1] Freezing, Crashing, and Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

When a hard disk is used as a boot drive, your computer slows down as it gets older. There are many other factors computer to slow down, but a failing hard disk is one of the most common causes of the computer crashing or freezing, which is often referred to as Blue Screen of Death or BSOD. The more read-write operations are performed on a hard disk, the more the hard disk deteriorates.

Blue screen of death due to hard drive failure

Reading and writing are two methods that can be used to confirm this factor. It could be as simple as dragging and dropping files between your drive and a faster one to see if it takes much longer than you anticipated—without considering all of the other variables that could affect the process.

Another option is to copy the data onto the hard drive. Try this with different types of files, as some files provide less than optimal performance (more than 50mbps). If you get a minimal amount of right speed every time, this can indicate a failing hard disk.

2] Bad Sector Accumulation

The majority of hard disks fail due to a buildup of bad sectors. The more bad sectors there are, the faster the hard disk will be damaged. A bad sector is a physically damaged area on the platter of a hard disk. When a bad sector emerges, it spreads quickly. So we have to lock down the bad sectors so that it does not spread.

Essentially, the hard disk head moves from one side of the platter to the other. If the arm moves over the bad sector every time it moves, the spread of bad sectors will accelerate. The portion of the hard disk that has become a bad sector is no longer readable or writable.

3] Motor Failure

If your hard drive platters have stopped spinning, or if your hard drive is showing warning signs/unusual noises like beeping, stuttering, or chattering noise, the spindle motor may also have failed. This scratching or grinding noise occurs only when the arm of your hard disk is frequently in contact with the platter or when the motor’s bearings simply wear out after prolonged use. Certain environments, such as moisture or extreme heat, are also unfavorable to the motors.

4] Adaptive Drift

Your hard drive’s baseline operating conditions change due to a phenomenon known as “adaptive deviation” or “adaptive drift,” resulting in gradual hard drive failure. This change can be caused by minor issues such as a head stack failure or wear and tear on the hard drive’s internal delicates. The drive is no longer adequately calibrated when the baseline conditions change, but the adaptive list remains the same.

In this case, the drive’s components may still be “healthy,” but its performance has fallen below the level required for a standard computer to read it.

You can also use tools such as S.M.A.R.T or OEM software to check on the health of the drive.

What To Do If Drive is Failing?

All the hard drives and SSDs fail. It’s just a matter of when. No matter what the manufacturer is, they will all fail. All you need to do is check your storage health status regularly. Here’s what you can do if your hard drive is failing:

  1. Fix Bad Sector
  2. Backup Data
  3. Replace storage device

Let’s look into these.

1] Fix Bad Sector

The Disk Checking utility or CHKDSK tool on Windows allows you to find, repair, and mark bad sectors on the drive. Once you run this tool, it will be either able to fix it or tell Windows and HDD logic about the bad sector. The latter ensures the OS doesn’t make any attempt to write on that part and controls the bad sector and data corruption.

Run the following command on Windows Terminal

chkdsk /r <volume-name>

The computer may reboot and perform the check, especially if it’s the drive where Windows is installed to avoid any interruptions.

2] Backup Data

The best thing you can do is keep the backup of your data on another drive. You can also use online backup top OneDrive, Google Drive, or other online solutions.

3] Replace Storage Device

The next step is to replace it and prevent further damage to your files and PC components. An SSD is a better alternative to a hard drive since it has fewer moving parts, meaning lesser chances of it failing. Also, SSDs provide high-speed reading and writing speeds.

If the drive has completely failed, you can use recovery software to recover data by connecting the storage to another computer.

Why Is My Hard Drive Not Booting?

If you constantly get a boot error instead of your Windows operating system (or your preferred OS) when you turn on your computer, your hard drive may be the problem. A corrupted boot sector could cause this error on the drive or more serious physical damage to the device.

Why Is My Hard Drive Clicking?

Hearing strange sounds from your computer is never a fun experience. Also known as the Sound of death or the non-stop sound of Click Click Click, maybe be due to several reasons like physical damage, wear and tear, read/write head misalignment, service area issue, manufacturer’s defect, or damaged disk platter. Attempting to use a clicking hard drive without repairs can significantly worsen the drive’s condition, so hard drives exhibiting these symptoms should be sent to a professional data recovery lab right away.

Why Is My Hard Drive Beeping?

If something prevents the platters from spinning, a hard drive will beep. The drive’s spindle motor produces the beeping noise as it attempts to spin the platters. This symptom usually appears when the read/write heads fail to float above the platter surfaces and instead clamp down on them. Only data recovery experts can safely address this problem.

Why Isn’t My Hard Drive Spinning Up?

Certain consequences can lead to a situation where a hard drive stops spinning. They might include electric failure on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) where your computer is not recognizing the hard drive, seizer of the platter motor, or read/write head stuck on the platter.

Why Is My Hard Disk Smelling?

When the printed circuit board is damaged, the increasing buildup of heat can cause the damaged parts of the circuit board to emit smoke and a burning odor.

To avoid hard drive failure, make sure you don’t accidentally bump your computer while it’s running. When this occurs, immediate data loss increases as the likelihood of sudden movement in the platter of a hard disk increases. This was all for our article on how to find and avoid hard drive failure. Please make sure you share this with everyone who might find it helpful.


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