We all have precious data on our computer.  What would we do if the hard drive ever failed?  Most of us would either rock in a corner and cry or we would use the computer as a frisbee and send it out of the window.

So let’s look at 3 ways in which we can tell that our hard drive is going to die?

What’s that sound?

Most new computers today come with solid-state hard drives or SSD’s. This means that there’s no physical moving component. Older hard drive have discs similar to a vinyl record, a little needle that sits on the top.  This disc spin rounds thousands of rotations per minute and the arms that flick back and forth. Obviously with any moving component there comes a time when that moving component can just fail.

Simple noise changes faint whirrings and clicking as the drive is working harder will get louder. Let’s just hope you never hear the dread tick of death as the hard drive is no longer able to spin correctly. Just listen to any changes in the noise that your computer makes.

What happened to my data?

Another sign that your storage drive is failing is when a file or several files have just vanished from your hard drive. Information isn’t stored as a continuous stream of bits instead it’s laid out in a collection of small blocks of data. These blocks may be scatted about on the hard drive. 

All it takes is for one of these blocks to be damaged and those precious few bits of information can be lost.  When you go looking for that important file it will try and find all the blocks that make up that file.  Without the full set of data bits the file will be incomplete and the operating system may report that it’s being in a corrupt state or that it just doesn’t appear at all.  Make sure you keep good backups and you can always check your defrag / optimise utility to make sure that your data is ok.

What’s taking you so long?

We all get frustrated when our computer isn’t working as fast as we would like, now that isn’t always down to the operator it can also be a sign of hardware failure as well. If the machine was working away happily one day and then suddenly taking a very long time to boot up or to access files there’s something clearly amiss.  

Hard drives eventually do fail including modern SSDs, they just show those signs in different ways. When it takes an unusually long time to read and write a file or the process ends in failure and you eventually get an error message. Might be time to get your hard drive checked.  We wouldn’t recommend a hard drive replacement just because the computer got a little sluggish but we recommend getting it checked out.