A hard drive crash could mean the loss of years’ worth of data and irreplaceable files, but hard drives rarely fail out of the blue. This article takes a look at some of the early warning signs that could mean a crash is on the way.
Hard drive failures tend to take people by surprise, but few crashes truly come out of the blue. If you know what to look for, you can spot the signs of an imminent hard drive failure ahead of time, when there is still time to back up your files and save your data.
If you spot any of the following signs on your own computer, you might want to back up your data to a thumb drive or sign up for a cloud storage service as soon as possible.
Once your irreplaceable data is safely backed up, you can start some in-depth diagnosis on your drive and purchase a replacement if needed.
- Your data starts disappearing: Failing hard drives start to accumulate bad sectors, and that makes the data on those bad sectors unavailable. If you are suddenly unable to access previously saved files, your hard drive could be on its way out.
- You are unable to save new files: If you receive an error message when trying to save a file, you could be looking at a failing hard drive. Sometimes the first save attempt will result in an error message but a later attempt will succeed. That is a sign of a bad hard drive sector and a sign that you need to back up your data.
- You hear strange clicks, pops and noises coming from your computer: Hard drives seldom fail silently. If you hear strange noises coming from the hard drive, it is time to back up your data and buy another drive.
- It takes an extremely long time to open a folder, switch programs pull up a file: It should not take ten minutes to open a file or access Windows Explorer. A long response time is a classic sign of imminent hard drive failure.
- Your PC sometimes does not recognize the hard drive: If you open up Windows Explorer and do not see your hard drive, chances are it is on its way out. Sometimes a failing hard drive will appear and disappear. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security; you need to back up your data and start shopping for a new drive.
- Your computer crashes all the time: If you never know when your computer is going to shut down or restart without warning, you could have a failing hard drive on your hands.
Your hard drive might not send up a warning flag indicating its imminent demise, but it will probably give you a few warning signs. Heeding those signals could mean the difference between preserving your precious data and losing everything.