Help Desk

What to do if the hard drive fails

Hard drive fails – Most people often confuse hard drive failure to an operating system failure. If your operating system crashes, whether it is Mac, Linux or Windows, it is a logical failure. But if your hard drive malfunctions, it is a physical failure. Whether it is operating system failure or hard drive failure, the data will not be readily available but it is there.

Of course, a backup plan is important in order to recover your data with ease. The best way to make sure your data is safe is to back up your data in a cloud or an external drive.

It has been said that there are only two types of hard drives: those that have failed and those that will fail. Unfortunately, the statement is true because the hard drive has many moving parts that are prone to wear and tear.

So, what do you do when your hard drive fails?

How to tell your hard drive is failing or has failed

There are many types of hard drive failure but the obvious one is when the drive completely stops working. It could be that your computer is saying your PC has no hard drive or it would not complete the booting process. The drive can also appear to be working but actually having problems. You may hear an unusual sound, data corruption, bad sector on the drive or may occasionally freeze.

Clicking noise from a mechanical drive is also a bad sign because it indicates the read and writes head from the platters on the drive has filed. To avoid further damage, it is best to completely shut down the drive and use a professional means to recover your data.

Determine what is causing the hard drive problem

To know why the hard drive crashed, you need to determine whether it is a physical or logical failure. If your computer refuses to boot or you hear clicking, whirring or grinding noise that is a great chance your computer has a physical drive failure. At this point, you should stop booting and don’t reload the operating system.

If your hard drive failure is caused by the physical failure, there is a great chance that your data is still intact. The kind of noise the drive makes will help you know it is a physical failure. You will hear whirring, clicking, grinding or clunking sound coming from your hard drive. To make sure the sound is not coming from the fans, carefully open the case to listen closely to the drive.

If the hard drive failure is caused by a logical failure, you may not be able to boot your computer into the operating system. A virus, software or human error may cause the hard drive to crash. It is still possible to retrieve your data.

hard drive failsSome other causes of hard drive crash include:

  • Water damage
  • Excessive heat
  • Static electricity
  • High magnetic field
  • Impact – dropping your laptop can cause the hard drive to fail
  • Lighting or power surge.

Warning signs

  • Losing file without notice
  • Error messages while moving or copying files
  • Blue screen of death or computer crashes
  • Noise
  • File access taking a long time

What should you do?

Hard drive fails – Remove the hard drive from your computer and put it inside two top freezer bags. Place the double wrapped hard drive inside your freezer and leave it there for 12 hours. Once it is very chilled, install it in your computer and start pulling off your data. If it fails again, mark the last thing you copied and return it into the freezer for another 12 hours. Continue copying after 12 hours.

This is not an easy process. If you need an expert to help you, give us a call.