In the past, if someone said your head is in the clouds, they probably meant you were absent-minded or forgetful. Nowadays, everyone is in the cloud using storage technology across multiple providers and platforms. As much as cloud storage makes great sense, some security-sensitive files are best kept on a local hard drive.
For this reason, many people and businesses rely on a local hard drive. That’s great until you get a hard disk drive failure. Such an event, depending on the cause, can lead to a total loss of data.
When your back-up system has been lost, it’s no joke. In this article, we’re going to talk you through 6 signs your hard disk drive is on the cusp of failing. Recognizing these signs is going to save you from hard drive amnesia.
1. Fast Is Good Slow Is Bad
When you get a new computer or laptop, one of the things you enjoy is the speed with which it operates. You can start the operating system and be using an application or program within minutes. As time passes, your system will take longer to perform those functions.
This is for lots of different reasons. As you store more data on your hard drive and as you use more programs, your computer’s operating system has to make more decisions about how to use its limited recourses to complete all of those extra tasks. One of the contributing factors to a slow computer is when the hard drive starts to become fragmented.
A fragmented drive occurs when data is replaced with new data. The old data doesn’t disappear but becomes fragmented leaving gaps in the hard drive for new data. Eventually, your hard drive will reach its limit of use and will have to be replaced; this can happen after a few years.
2. Know Your Sectors
Perhaps you’ve heard the term ‘bad sectors.’ These are bad spots on your disk drive that has become corrupted. There are two types of bad sectors.
Physical damage or assault to your hard drive from being dropped or being left in an environment that is not electronic-friendly can cause irreversible damage to the disk. When this happens, the operating system will identify those areas of the disk and start to no longer use them. This is a good thing in some ways because your computer will intelligently use the ‘good sectors’ that remain.
However, it’s also a bad thing in that you may be acquiring more and more of these bad sectors on your hard drive without being aware of it. Some bad sectors are the result of corrupted software and can be identified using specific analysis programs. These types of errors can be repaired; the important thing is to regularly run hard drive monitoring software on your computer.
3. Listen to the Engine
Every day when you drive your car to work you know what your car should sound like without even realizing it. When a new and unfamiliar sound appears it will usually catch your attention. At which point, you’re wise to investigate, especially if this odd sound is coming from your engine.
This principle holds true for your computer and hard drive health also. If you notice some strange sounds coming from your computer when it starts up or especially when you’re trying to save data, don’t ignore this. Your computer is a machine and consists of parts that must function correctly for the system to work as a whole.
If you hear a clicking sound or grinding sound this may indicate that some of the physical components of the drive are failing. This may mean that data is not being written to the disk, or that data can be read from the disk. Any noises like this and you should immediately back up your data to another drive.
4. Running Hot
Heat is a by-product of your hard drive. The hard disk drive has to move at a very high speed so that data from anywhere on the disk can be retrieved as quickly as possible.
That movement generates heat which is dissipated through the inbuilt ventilation system of the computer. However, as your hard drive starts to fail and data becomes lost or corrupted, the drive has to work harder to retrieve the information it’s looking for. This can cause your system to run hotter than it should.
There are other reasons too that may lead to overheating but the short of it is, don’t ignore your computer if it’s running hot. Make sure you back up your data to another hard drive.
5. System Crash
This is a classic sign. If your operating system is experiencing irregular system crashes then there is a problem. It may be a software conflict or other software-related problem causing the crash but don’t discount the hard drive.
You should make sure all of your programs and applications are up to date as well as the operating system you’re using. If you’re still experiencing problems the hard drive could be the culprit.
6. SMART Problems
Your computer will have its own Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART). Its job is to find errors within the system. Your job will be to make sure you’re using this system and that it is running frequently on your computer.
When it reports errors, don’t ignore them. These systems are not 100 percent full proof and may not warn you in time before a complete drive failure so make sure you pay attention to the other signs discussed in this article. How to check hard drive health using software and monitoring your system is an important basic skill using a computer.
Give Hard Disk Drive Failure the Boot
In this article, you’ve read about 6 signs that may indicate hard disk drive failure is imminent. If your hard drive fails, it may be impossible to recover data from it. This is a terrifying thought if you run a business or if you have stored many videos and pictures of personal value to you.
Keep these signs in mind, and when you spot one of them make sure you back up your data to another drive. Check out our tech articles that fit your interests on our site.