Have you ever been in a panic mood or alarmed about your PC taking long to boot, or your hard drive making some strange noise? You should never panic over these signs of hard drive failure but rather worry about when they fail and you have your crucial files stored in them. Just like other devices, the PC hard drive is an essential component of the PC and has a lifespan too. However, it is always impossible to judge the exact time it will fail.

Hard drive failure will bring your computer to halt, making your files inaccessible, hence can be frustrating. This is one key reason why you should always have a reliable data backup plan for all data stored in your PC.

Here are some of the common important early signs of your PC hard drive failure that you should note:

1.System Freezes, and Crashes

This can happen either under heavy use or often. Although it is natural for your computer to crash or freeze once in a while, it can be frustrating. At the time, your OS’s system files may start getting out of blow when your PC runs longer without shutting it down and might require a reboot in order to refresh up.

A poorly-running program may eat up your CPU or RAM slowing your PC, which can be fixed by a simple good reset. However, when you notice computer slowdowns, crashes and freezes happening regularly, then your hard drive could be failing or other components of your PC such as RAM or CPU could be faulty.

The common possible causes of system freezes and crashes are bad sectors on your hard disk drive or memory/CPU overheating. Whatever this could be, it is important that you backup your important data just to ensure you don’t take a risk with chances of a hard drive failure.

2.The system taking longer time than anticipated to boot

In case you notice intermittent boot errors with increasing frequency than normal, there are high chances that your hard drive is failing. When your PC starts giving you strange messages like “boot device missing” or “missing hard drive” or “no bootable device found”, then you need to prepare yourself for a possible hard drive failure or failing sections of your hard drive such as the cables connecting it to the motherboard.  

When you notice these signs, it is advisable that you back up your hard drive immediately into an external drive.

3.Missing of files and folders

In the early stages of your hard drive failure, certain strange symptoms like missing files and folders may start happening. Sometimes, the files may appear with distorted file names or previously- healthy files may start appearing as corrupted. Your files may appear or reappear as corrupted even if you just saved or created them recently.

Wear and tear on your hard drive’s read/write heads may cause your hard drive to run into troubles writing and reading to and from your hard disk platters. This generates “soft” bad sectors on your hard drive, which are likely to cause your files to start vanishing mysteriously.

You can run a CHKDSK to check for bad sectors on your hard drive platters and heal corrupted disk sectors if you have an impact Windows file system integrity. Otherwise, it is advisable that you backup your data immediately to avoid losing your data.

4.SMART errors indicated by your hard drive diagnostic

Today, hard drives come with the SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) system that helps in keeping track of hard drive’s crucial signs. It keeps an eye on potential signs of hard drive failure. When your hard drive wears up to death, some of the warning signs you might not notice include noise level, bad sectors or increased heat output. SMART will pick these signs and sends a warning SOS to your PC and subsequently to you of a possible hard drive failure.

Due to certain SMART weaknesses, It is not always guaranteed that you will receive such warning notifications of a possible hard drive failure. However, if you happen to encounter SMART errors, then know that your hard drive is on red alert, try and salvage as much data as possible if you do not have a backup.

5.Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

The Blue Screens of Death alerts are actually referred to as “Stop” error. These alerts only pop up when your Windows Operating system is experiencing some hardware or software issues. Often, the BSOD error can be cured by removal of a bad driver or launching Windows operating system repair. However, if these software fixes do not seem to fix the issues, there is a high likelihood that your hard drive is on its last legs. If none of these fixes does heal your hard drive, it is advisable that you remove the faulty driver.

6.Hard drive making a clicking sound

Also referred to as “the click of death”, clicking sound coming from the hard disk drive is one of the notorious signs of hard drive failure. On normal circumstances, your hard drive should only click once during startup. However, if something is wrong with the firmware or heads, preventing the handshake from taking place, then your hard disk heads will retreat back to rest, then try again. When this happens over and over, it produces the ticking characteristic

In most cases, your hard drive read/write heads have gone blind and must be replaced. Sometimes, it could be that a portion of the firmware is corrupt and might require repair by a hard drive recovery professional.

Final Thoughts

Always remember these key early signs of a possible hard drive failure and ensure you protect yourself from this unavoidable situation. Normally, if you invest in a reliable backup for your data, then worry not about data loss in an event that you experience hard drive failure. However, if you don’t have a backup, you can still recover your data from reputable hard drive data recovery experts.