How to Understand the Warning Signs of A Hard Drive Failure
Over the last few years hard drive technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. When the first hard drive was introduced to desktop manufacturing companies in the 1980’s the size of the hard drive was only 5 megabits. Today, however, Western Digital introduced their latest technology in manufacturing a 10 terabyte hard drive.
Data use to be stored on floppy disks, but today, instead of a 3.5 inch disk, data is stored on hard drives, SSD, USB storage devices and mobile devices.
Now, because of the advanced technology, hard drive failure has increased by 2.8%. Between 5 and 10 terabytes of data is stored on a single disk drive. The hard drive’s internal working components have a higher rate of failure because of the heat produced in the drive’s case. The spindle motor rotation speeds have increased over the years to rotate the platters at a higher speed. The new 3.5-inch hard drives have more platters and heads stacked in the small case that are used for reading and writing data to the disk.
When a hard drive doesn’t have enough circulation inside the computer tower the drive tends to heat up. This can cause electronic failure of the printed circuit board (PBC), head stack, and platter damage. Once these failures occur, data can be lost without the assistance of a qualified data recovery firm that specialized in data retrieval.
Detecting Hard Drive Failure
In most cases hard drives will give you a warning sign when they start to have problems and before they fail completely. However, in some cases there are no warning signs before the drive fails or the head crashes on the platters. Today drive manufacturers use a SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) to warn consumers about the drive’s condition. Now it is possible for you to monitor the health of your hard drive before it fails.
In order to prevent data loss, look for the following warning signs
- The mother board BIOS can’t find your hard drive.
- The hard drive’s SMART is reporting excessive errors.
- Your hard drive has started to make grinding, clicking or high-pitched noises.
- When your hard drive loads the OS your display shows a blue screen with an error message.
- Your computer is taking an extreme amount of time to save, process, or load a document.
- The computer freezes and you need to reboot your system.
- Your BIOS recognizes your hard drive, but your computer won’t boot correctly.
- You are asked to format your hard drive.
- Your hard drive has a corrupted MBR (master boot record) or MFT (master file table).
- Your folders and file names have been changed or show unrecognizable characters.
- Your hard drive continues to make grinding noises when you try to open or save a file.
- Your hard drive automatically relocates many bad clusters and sectors.
- Your documents are corrupted.
- Your hard drive can no longer find your partition table.
If you experience any of these problems with your computer’s hard drive it is time to back up your data. After your data is safe you will need to change your hard drive. These warning signs are there for a reason. They are telling you that the hard drive is experiencing problems with the read/write heads, platters, or spindle motor. Be safe and look for the warning signs to prevent data loss.