Few computer problems can be as disruptive as a failed hard drive. When the hard drive fails, everything stored on it typically becomes inaccessible. In cases of extreme failure, you may not be able to recover that data at all. The best option is to back up your drive every day to a cloud-based or independent backup system, but understanding the warning signs of drive problems may allow you the opportunity to copy your data and replace the drive before it fails entirely. Here are some of the things you should watch for.
Sluggish Startup and System Response
The more you use your computer, the more data there is likely to be on the hard drive. As you put more demand on the system, you might find that your system startup and general system response when launching applications slows down.
If you've upgraded the system memory and you're certain that your processor is sufficient for the demand you're placing on the system, it may mean that your hard drive is struggling to respond in a reasonable time. The slower the drive gets, the greater indication this is of a potential failure.
Repeated System Lockup
One of the early indications of impending hard drive issues is repeated lockups and lack of response from the computer. If your keyboard, mouse and hard drive stop responding, reboot the computer. If the problem is caused by a shortage of RAM or a software conflict, a reboot may resolve it. If the problem persists repeatedly even after a reboot or two, that may mean you have a bad sector on the hard drive or the drive itself is wearing out.
Missing or Corrupted Files
If files you were previously able to access suddenly disappear or you receive an error that the file is corrupted, that could be an indication that the hard drive is on the fritz. Corrupted or otherwise problematic files are a sign that things aren't writing to the drive correctly.
Strange Sounds from the Hard Drive
Metallic, clicking or mechanical sounds from the drive on your computer are a key indication that something is amiss. These noises are usually a warning sign that the arm that reads the drive head is hitting the drive, which can destroy the drive and render its contents permanently inaccessible. Shut your computer down right away if you hear sounds like this.
Familiarizing yourself with these early warning signs will help you understand if your computer's hard drive is potentially failing. If you're not comfortable replacing the drive yourself, work with a computer repair technician who can help you do it properly. Contact a company like Computer Backup Inc for more information.