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Warning Signs of a Hard Drive Failure

Some hard drives give off a very distinct noise during a failure, while other times, the drive may be slowly failing without a user even knowing. The sooner you recognize the failure sounds of a hard disk drive (HDD), the better chance you have at saving your data from being permanently lost. There are a variety of warning signs that a drive may be experiencing mechanical failures or logical failures. Luckily, the engineers at Secure Data Recovery have experience recovering data from all types of HDD failures.

Warning Signs of Hard Drive Failure

Always take unusual noises seriously and turn off your hard drive as soon as possible to avoid media damage.

When Drive Failures Occur

Unfortunately, there is no set time frame for a hard drive to fail. A brand new device may fail after plugging it in for the first time, while a desktop drive that has operated for over 10 years is still powering the computer efficiently. There are some scenarios where damage is obvious and others where the drive may continue to quietly operate in a failed state. An HDD can fail due to:

  • A user physically dropping the media
  • A virus attack on the operating system
  • Power surges
  • Internal components failing due to age

These are only some of the failure scenarios for an HDD and a user needs to assess the damage after an incident like those mentioned above. A professional data recovery company like Secure Data Recovery offers free diagnostics for damaged drives to find the source of the problem and the cause of failure. We work with all operating systems including Windows, Linux, and iOS.

Warning Signs of Hard Drive Failure

Mechanical hard drives will not last forever and are susceptible to data loss scenarios more so than a solid-state drive. It may experience either a physical or logical failure, and each type has its own common warning signs that will signal to a user that there is a problem.

Common HDD Physical Failure Signs

  • Overheating
  • Strange noises
  • Blue Screen of Death errors
  • Stuck spindle motor
  • Inability for the device to boot
  • Bad sectors prevent data access

Common HDD Logical Failure Signs

  • Frequent error messages during normal operations
  • Files and folders are disappearing or corrupted
  • Irregular system crashes and disk errors
  • File or folder names have changed
  • Operating system won’t boot
  • S.M.A.R.T. monitoring shows issue with HDD

What to Do When Your Hard Drive Fails

In some cases, the S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) monitoring will fail and not alert the user that the drive is damaged. That’s why HDD users must pay attention to the warning signs above and check any noise or behavior that is out of the ordinary. Do not attempt to use software to fix the problem, as it may overwrite your files and make the problem worse. Especially in physically damaged cases, software will not be able to run and retrieve files properly.

When you notice that your media is failing, you can attempt to transfer the data to another storage device if possible, but larger file transfers may cause more damage to the drive. If you are unable to transfer your files, or are unsure how to handle your failing drive, power it down immediately. The best course of action to prevent data loss is to turn the HDD off.

After that, call Secure Data Recovery to set up a case and have our experienced engineers recover your data. Our engineers have worked with all makes and models of hard drives and have a 96% success rate in hard drive recovery. We are SSAE 18 Type II Certified for total security and work on digital devices in our Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to start your case and find out more about how to spot a hard drive failure.