5 Signs and Symptoms of a Failing Hard Drive


Whenever a hard drive fails , everything happens all of a sudden . Within seconds your hard drive crashes and with it goes your important data . You can get a new hard disk but not your data . If you are lucky enough you can pay for a professional data recovery service and get your data back . If you don’t want to, then you can try out everything yourself . until you end up with recovering bits and pieces of your valuable data . which won’t be of any use to you .

But everybody deserves a second chance and you can save your important data beforehand . Like everything else , a failing hard drive has certain signs and symptoms . If you get to know of these symptoms beforehand then you have a good chance of saving your important data .

A few days back i wrote a post on how to find out the health status of your hard drive . I hope the was useful to you . Today i am going to tell you about 5 signs and symptoms which indicate your hard drive is going to fail . Continue reading on to know more about the 5 signs and symptoms that indicate your hard drive is going to fail .

1: Windows slowdown and BSOD

If your hard is about to fail , then you will find your computer to slow down ridiculously . Once this happens you will see that your computer will take ages to start up . Even if your your computer starts up you will notice that your computer will be very slow , even slower than a slug ! . Further when you try to open up any drive or folder on your computer , it will be very slow and may freezer your system or lead to a blue screen . While most of the experts will point towards low ram or junk data as the culprits . In my experience its always the hard drive .


2: Corrupted data

One your hard drive starts to fail , you will see a lot of corrupted data on your windows computer . You will be able to save any file , but when you try to open it windows will always show it as a corrupted file  . Even in many cases files start to disappear from a computer and a lot of programs stop responding and start freezing up your computer . If you ever get any similar errors then its a vital sign that your computer’s hard drive is failing  .

corrupted data and file

3: Automatic execution of Chkdsk command on start up 

This is another most common sign of failing hard drives . Every time you boot up your windows computer , the Chkdsk command will be run automatically while your PC boots up in windows . While this might be due to an improper shut down , but if this happens frequently then surely it indicates a failing hard drive on your computer .


4: Clicking , Grinding and rattling noises from hard drive

This is the most common sign of failing hard drives that i have experienced with all of my computers hard drives . Often a hard drive starts to make a repetitive clicking noise in regular intervals . The clicking noise indicates that the write head of a hard drive is trying to write data onto the hard drive but its unable to do so . This is a very common sign of failing hard drive which is known as the click of death . No pun intended , but its a hard drive only threat .

Alternatively if you hear Grinding and rattling noise it is the motor that spins inside the hard drive , which is failing . Though theres another thing you should be aware of , sometimes a hard drive might be loosely installed inside a cabinet . Since a hard drives with an rpm of 7500 or more , it is normal for it to vibrate and make noises when it is loosely installed . If you hear a grinding or rattling noise again , first of all do check if your hard drive is installed properly in its tray or not .

5: Bad sectors

Bad sectors are little clusters of data on your hard drive that cannot be read . Bad sectors can of two types , which are hard bad sectors or soft bad sectors . While hard bad sectors cannot be repaired but the soft bad sectors can be repaired by a software . Windows Chkdsk can be used to repair soft bad sectors , While hard bad sectors cannot be repaired and indicates your hard drives is about to fail . But whatever the kind of bad sectors it may be , its always advisable to take a backup of your important data wherever your hard drives develop a bad sector . Sooner or later you hard drive is going to fail .

bad sectors
The red spots in the pictures are bad sectors detected by HDtune .

These were most of the signs and symptoms that i have experienced personally with my computer’s hard drives . If you need any kind of help troubleshooting problems with your hard drives then do add a comment below .

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  • I admire the valuable advice you make available in your expertly written content about Computer Hard drive. Thanks for your help..

  • hi i got a blue screen yesterday and my computer wont start in safe mode also it starts in normal mode but says explorer errors and nothing wont open keeps freezing but says antivirus errors also like it was not compatible to run on this system and was removed but nothing works

  • Numbers 4 and 5 are the only symptoms that are a “real” sign of hard a drive failure. Every one of the other symptoms might be caused by malware, bad updates(software errors), poor configuration, a failing device(other than the hard drive), bad drivers… The list goes on and on.
    The author of this post is a self admitted tinkerer, not a tech!! Go tinker and stop giving advice LOVEJEET!!

  • Randy Fraser, I just replaced my HDD for the exact reason stated in item 1. Windows bootup and login was getting terribly slow, and HDD light was on seemingly forever. After booting, the HDD usage was at 100% for a long time for no apparent reason so backed up everything, and ordered a new SSD.
    A couple of days after installing the SSD I put the original HDD into a portable case on a USB cable to catch a couple more items of data and had serious issues even getting it to spin up. Failed about 3 out of 5 start up attempts. Seems I just caught it in time.
    So I don’t care what your opinion of Lovejeet is, the advice he has given is good.

By lovejeet


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