Hard drive failing? Here are the warnings and solutions you need to know

broken-hard-drive-workers

Hard drive failure is always an infuriating problem. Mechanical hard drives are destined to fail because of all the moving parts that can go bad. SSDs can last a lot longer, but they also experience wear and tear that will ultimately require their replacement. With that in mind, we’re going to show you how to prepare for the worst by bringing to your attention the warnings you should look out for.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated as of October 2016 with a bunch of new information and tips for properly diagnosing your hard drive.

Warnings

With almost every component in your PC, you’ll see warning signs of a part going bad and in need of replacement. The hard drive is not an exception. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Disappearing files: Files can be lost do to mechanical problems with the disk itself, and in some cases, you’ll be able to tell as the disk usually makes some out-of-the-ordinary noises when things are going haywire.
  2. Computer freezing: A computer freezing is a common occurrence, and it’s almost always solved by a quick reboot. However, if you find that that it’s becoming more and more frequent, your hard drive could be on its last leg.
  3. Corrupted data: If you’ve downloaded and installed files without a hitch, but suddenly out of nowhere, files have become corrupt, it’s possible that your hard drive is experiencing a gradual failure.
  4. Bad sectors: A sector on a hard drive stores a certain amount of data accessible by the user. There are two types of sectors, a hard and soft sector. In most cases, Windows is able to repair a soft bad sector, as it’s almost always related to a software mishap. Formatting the drive will almost always fix this. But, if it’s a hard bad sector, this indicates physical damage, which can not be repaired. You can manually check for a bad sector by right-clicking the drive in My Computer. Select “Properties” and then navigate to the “Tools” tab. Finally, under “Error Checking” select the “Check” button. Windows will identify any sectors that have gone bad. As mentioned, Windows will try to fix it with a restart and doing some behind-the-scenes magic, but if that does not work, you could be, once again, experiencing gradual failure.
  5. Sounds: If you’re hard drive is making sounds that you aren’t familiar with, this could also be bad news, particularly if it’s a grinding or screeching noise.

For legacy troubleshooting, please see the “Legacy Troubleshooting” section at the bottom of the article.

Diagnosing the problem

hard drive head

You know what the warnings signs are, but now let’s actually try and diagnose the problem. With these things, it’s always a process of elimination. If you have the ability to, open up your PC or laptop and check the connections. If your PC or laptop was working fine beforehand, it’s likely the connections aren’t the problem, but it’s still worth double-checking in the event that something came loose. At the same time, it’s worth popping into Device Manager and checking that your controller/motherboard isn’t going through any issues or failures, as it’s entirely possible that the problem isn’t even related to the hard drive, but something else.

Before deciding that this is in fact a hardware problem, it’s always good to check for viruses or malware. If you’re experiencing strange sounds or even bad sectors that seemingly can’t be repaired as noted above, viruses or malware isn’t likely the problem. However, if you’re seeing other issues, like computer freezing or randomly corrupted data, viruses or malware can cause these erratic problems as well. You can run a standard anti-virus check on your drive, but if the problem is deep in the system files, generally anti-virus won’t be able to check something like that inside of Windows.

Alternatively, you can try and boot into safe mode, download anti-virus software from there, and check the system. The best way to verify is to use a antivirus boot disc to scan and repair your PC. You can burn the bootable software to a CD or even install it on a USB drive. This will let you load the special antivirus environment to check your PC for any problems outside of the Windows environment. There are a lot of different types of malware out there, and if your machine gets infected with it, and depending on the type of malware it is, it can cause serious problems like these.

If that last step didn’t net any results, we can try and see if there are any partition on the drive using DiskPart or another third-party disk utility tool. If it doesn’t see any partitions, it’s likely that there was a partition mess up somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, recovering files from a situation like this isn’t always possible, as you’ll need to repartition the drive.

What now?

Well, if none of the above diagnosis’ have worked, your hard drive is dead and you’re going to need a new one. Hopefully you backed up all your data to an external source, otherwise you’re going to have to start from scratch or pay a couple grand at an attempt to recover your data through a data recovery service.

Once you’ve installed your new drive, you set up the new hard drive as usual and re-install all your software. Hopefully, you can restore through a backup and you (hopefully) are good to go. What do you do with the old hard drive? Well, you can just throw it in the trash since the data isn’t recoverable.

Data Recovery Options

You don’t have many options as far as data recovery goes. You can try using the aforementioned free tool called Recuva from Piriform. The company claims that it can recover lost files from damaged disks or newly formatted drives, but your mileage may vary. It works for some people and doesn’t work for others. Every situation is unique, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

Your last option is hiring a data recovery service. It goes without saying, their services are pricey, no matter what company you go with. And it’s not always a guarantee that they can recover your data, especially if it was a mechanical failure and not a electronics failure.

A word on SSDs

ssd

It’s worth noting that SSD failure (troubleshooting guide here) is essentially a different ball game than HDD failure. SSDs aren’t subject to the same pitfalls of hard disk failure simply because there are no moving parts within the SSD. However, they aren’t immune to failing, as there are a number of things that can still go wrong.

The biggest issue is a pitfall of all types of flash memory. You have a limited number of read/write cycles. But, the good news is that usually only the write portion is affected if you run into a read/write issue. In other words, you’ll be able to recover all of that data still on your SSD and put it somewhere else. While an SSD is less likely to malfunction considering that there are no moving parts, it’s still susceptible to the everyday wear and tear.

A side-by-side comparison of an HDD (left) and SSD (right). Image Credit: Juxova

A side-by-side comparison of an HDD (left) and SSD (right). Image Credit: Juxova

Like I said, there are no mechanical components that can go bad, but it’s worth noting that there’s still electronic components that can go bad–capacitors, the power supply or even the controller chip.

You can generally follow all of the steps above to diagnose the problem, though SSDs generally don’t produce noises when they’re going bad. All of the other steps do apply, though.

The Future

In the future, there’s not much you can do to prevent SSDs or hard drive from going bad. It’s just a fact of life. Just like wear and tear on your car eventually destroys it, wear and tear on your hard drives will eventually destroy them. That goes for almost everything in life, and there’s no getting around it. But there are steps you can take to make the whole situation a lot less stressful when it comes around.

The main thing you can do is create backups often. Once a week is a usual timeframe. If you’re on a Mac, you can do this easily through Time Machine and an external hard drive. On Windows, it’s a little bit different. Your best bet is to use a service like Carbonite that automatically backs up everything on your PC and stores them in the Cloud on an encrypted server.

Closing

And that’s all there is to it! Unfortunately, losing a hard drive is a difficult situation that no one wants to go through, especially since there could be very important and sensitive data on there, not to mention great memories from photos you may have stored.

Hopefully these steps have helped you recover at least some of that, but if not, at least create a better plan for the future. Still stuck? Be sure to head on over to the PCMech forum and post your problem to get some additional help from the PCMech community!

Legacy Troubleshooting

Below you’ll find a couple of steps for troubleshooting Integrated Device Electronics (IDE), the interface between a motherboard’s data path and the hard drives/storage. In modern times, you’ll find that the IDE controller is built right into the motherboard, but in many legacy machines it’s separate, which is where the below steps come into play.

  1. If you have an IDE drive, ensure the ribbon cable is aligned properly. Red edge of the cable is aligned with Pin 1 of the connector on the drive. Pin 1 is closest to the power plug, typically.
  2. Master/slave assignment is correctly set if this is an IDE drive.

Once the physical connections have been verified, it’s good to see if the computer can even see the drive at all. If this is an IDE drive, go into the computer’s BIOS and have it auto-detect the drive. If it can detect it, then we know we have a solid connection. It doesn’t mean the drive is good, just that the BIOS can see it.

Comments

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    Our company offering Remapping, Bad Sector repair and Storage helth inspector acknowledge used Hard disk Condition.

    These features work in hand with RAID proctection (Redundancy) to maximize proetction to valuable storage.

    HighPoint delivers these features to all levels of RAID HBA regardless of desktop and Enterprise levels. We do believes everybody has valuable data or media throughout thier lives.

    Regards,
    May

    • a few pointers, run disk doctor, you may have to defrag first. Defragging isnt persay a must on xp/vista but for data security it is on any os and it will increase hd speed as ur index files will get smaller, and identical file parts will be closer to each other both things limiting access time and search time. This MAY solve your problem so try it. if it doesnt then copy any important files and reformat the hdd.

      • Backup FIRST, Then disk doctor, and THEN defrag. You dont want to stress the drive if it is about to give up – If it is already about to fail, every little access counts. However, in 95% of the cases, it is fragmentation that slows users down. The prob is the remaining 5% will hurt if you dont backup ASAP.

  2. Jasper Johnson says:

    There is another failure that at least is common on a western digital drive that can cause the drive not to work at all and not to be readable, and the problem is not repairable but at least it allows possible recovery. What happens is the board on the drive malfunctions, possibly because of heat, and this can be tested by does the drive fail right away from a cold start or if its been on for a while. This drive might be recoverable if you throw it in a freezer for about 2hrs (but try protecting it from condensation) throw it back in the pc right away, and if your lucky you can atleast boot from a cd and back up all files before the drive fails again and usually the next time it fails it wont recover again.

    Then there are failures that cause bad sectors that isnt a problem with physical damage, but just the magnetic fields for the 0 and 1 being weak, this is rare today but i have seen it you usually got two options, reformat with a full wipe as this clears every bit out as a 0 and then you can reinstall the data again, but there is another option if there is important data on the bad sectors, SPINRITE 6 i have used it and it worked everytime, this program reads the bad sector over and over trying to figure out if its a 0 or a 1 by seeing how strong the signal is and by reading that part over and over it sees if it can get a stronger signal, in most cases it can recover the sector if it was just a week signal and not actualy physical damage. WARNING SPINRITE 6 on a 10GB drive can take 8hrs on a Pentium 3 (havent needed it on a new system so i cant tell you if it would be faster on a bigger/newer drive).

    But no matter what always have a backup!!!

    • Dear, Would you please let me know that how can I use this software while my hard drive is not being detected????
      It’s displaying an error message of primary disk failure on start-up and upon pressing the F1 key the computer restarts and the same happens again and again.
      My data is enormously important, and I’m worried a lot about its recovery. 🙁
      Can anyone hep me out???

  3. Andrew Harward says:

    Before trashing your broken drive, it’s a good idea to check whether it’s still under warranty, as most manufacturers provide at least a 3 year warranty. This can usually be done by visiting the manufacturer’s website, looking up the returns/warranty section, and entering the serial number of the drive.

  4. I just built a new AMD system running Windows XP SP2. AMD Athlon 64X2 6000+
    I have 2 gigs of Corsar Ram (YES,in the right slot.)
    4 SATA hard drives (hooked into the MB in their numbered slots.
    Nvidia 8800GTS Card

    I keep getting Blue Screens of Death ever since I built it.

    They happen 1 to 3 times a day when I’m using the PC for many different things. Video editing, Surfing, Games, etc.

    There are 3 different BSOD errors I keep getting.

    I have tried EVERYTHING.
    -Swapped out the Motherboard for a New one.
    -New Ram (using suggested ram from the MB maker.)
    -New PSP upgraded to 850 Watts.
    -Defragged Drives
    -Cleaned Reg

    Short of reinstalling Windows and or replacing the system drive NOTHING has worked.

    Any suggestions???

  5. If you post what the BSODs say, like the stop codes, we’ll be able to help you more.

  6. to “on”

    if it happens when your comp cpu (processor) has very intensive work to do (online games etc.) then maybe it’s overheating. But – with such a new supercomputer this rarely is the reason… so just a idea to think about. Is your comp’s cpu cooling fine?

  7. rahul kamble says:

    Hi, I lost ly hard disk today, very painfull, your webpage is very informative.Thank you

  8. I have two computers whose hard drives are going crazy. The first computer is a Gateway 831 with 2 hard drives but it has a virsus that I can’t get rid of. How do I clean my hard-drive where the main system programs are located without losing too much data?

  9. Joslyn: You could try Housecall (housecall.trendmicro.com) but it can’t always get rid of all viruses. Sometimes you need to put the disk in a non-infected PC to clean them.

    Do you have a PC which is *not* virus infected? If so, first make sure you have some up to date antivirus software on it, then pull both disks from the Gateway, and connect them in the uninfected PC. Recover what data you need to (viruses won’t get through because of the antivirus software). Then I would reformat both drives and install windows from scratch. You *could* try scanning the disks for viruses rather than formatting, but if I’ve had a virus I’d rather start from scratch.

  10. Just lost my first hard drive ever. I usually upgrade my entore system ervery 2 years. THis time I;ve had the same hard driveds for over 3 years. Things were getting slow and I just order a backup system that would arrive Monday. Well hourse later on friday – my main data drive failed taking everything with it. When that backup external arrives on Monday … oh the salt in the wound.

    Hard drive is in the freezeer.

    • Well if you can shove that old drive in the freezer (try putting it in a container and hope you get little condisation, then shove it into you pc, see if it works and back the heck up as fast as you can, if the drive itself wont spin up smack it hard on the side while applying power to try and free the motor/heads, if that dont work cry.

  11. Bad luck…

    There’s always gotta be a first time to teach you to back up!

  12. Maggie Clarke says:

    My external drive tries to spin up, clicks twice, and shuts down, then does it all over again repeatedly till I shut the drive off.. Is this repairable? What might be wrong?

    • Must have been a Western Digital.

      Be Smart!

      Never Ever under any circumstance purchase a Western Digital “My Book” external Drive.

      They simply will fail guaranteed! I have multiple external drives and ONLY the Western Digitals have failed. I have lost irreplaceable family photos and more!

      Please learn from my mistake and backup your Western Digital Drives with anything else before it is too late.

      I should have learned the first time!

      • Maggie Clarke says:

        Actually, this dead hard drive was an Iomega Ion external 300 gb. Since then I have lost another drive, unfortunately, my C drive, a Seagate that was a little over a year old. Because of having seen this article above, when I was experiencing freezes frequently starting in November, I finally bought a couple of Seagate 1 TB external backup drives and started backing up every few days just a week before the C drive died. Whew.

        Question is, with the Iomega, where it spins up a bit, clicks twice and spins down, starting the cycle again and again until I shut it off, is there a way to get the disc to track properly or remove the housing or something long enough to read the data and Then discard the drive?

        • And since I wrote the above comment, one of the brand new two 1 TB seagate external backup drives failed! Can you imagine? 3 hard drive fails in a period of 3 months? I was wondering if it was my computer (which is about a year and a half old at this point purchased from Seattle area firm Puget Systems. ) But those warning signs make it so clear that you have to back everything up IMMEDIATELY. That’s why I sent the 1TB external seagate back for a free replacement. No problems… yet.

  13. I had a hard drive fail by not spinning up. I checked with a few software guys and one recommended turning the computer on and letting it warm up for a half hour even with the drive failure error. The lubricant in the drive has gotten sticky and it won’t spin up. After a half hour of warming up, restart the computer and the drive spun up and was readable. I quickly did a drive to drive copy while it was working. The heat loosened the lubricant and allowed it to spin up.

  14. Well here i am looking for answers to what i fear may be a dead drive. Just got 1T seagate cuda back in sept 08, since im such a big gamer i filled all but 150 gigs of it, i kept my old 250G seagate and split it into 2 partitions for XP and Vista and used the terabyte drive for all my game installs. yesterday i sat my headphones down in a hurry to get the phone came back and realized they were sitting on the F1 button and had endless “help” windows trying to open ultimately resulting in my entire system hanging. No biggie right, just hard reset it. Well upon restart i noticed that neither the operating sytems or the bios recognize the drive anymore. i tried everything, different sata ports, even a USB adapter, resetting cmos, hooked it up to my wifes pc, NOTHING when i hold it in my hand i can feel and hear it start up no unusual noises, seems fine just not being recognized. Anyway It was used solely for game installs and backup for those installs being it was so new and Huge it WAS my backup ya know. I still have enough room on my main 250gb seagate for all my favorite games just not every game i own.
    My main gripe is all the save game progress. Hours of fallout3, days of call of duty 4 and 5, and mods upon mods for half life 2 , doom 3 my list is endless. :[ Should i start reinstalling or does anyone have any suggestions before i send it back?

  15. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas if with the info below, is it my hard drive that is going:

    System: Dell Dimension E510
    3.0 Gig Intel Pent 4
    2.5 GB memory
    80 West Dig Hard drive (WDC WD8000JD-75MSA1)

    *When windows load, I get past the “Dell Black Screen” quickly but I get hung up on the light blue screen that usually shows “welcome” right before showing the normal windows icon desktop screen. Usually takes 1-3 minutes to get off the “welcome” screen.
    *Accessing documents, websites, email, etc. is fine, but when I try to change the location of where I want to save a file in the drop down menu at the top when you hit “save” or when I hit “save as”, the computer will go to a crawl and either show a hour glass symbol for a minute or so each time a different location is picked or it will show a green scroll bar in the middle of the screen while it is processing which I have never seen before. This box is titled “INITIALLING FOLDERS: INITIALLIZING THE ROOT FOLDERS TO DISPLAY” This usually takes a minute to three to complete.
    *Finally, when closing out of an internet page, I will get a white windows error box. The one that says “Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close.. This happens every time “x-ing” out of a website if it is the only tab open. Closing out of a site that is connected to others in the website tabs gives no issue until closing out the last site.

    I have switched the memory cars around (It has 2 1GB cards and 2 256 cards) to have just the 1 GB cards in and then just the 256 cards in to see if one of the sets was bad, but it did the same thing no matter which ones were in.

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! I hate to buy a new hard drive if that is not the issue. If it is not the hard drive, then I can imagine what the issue is.

    Thank you in advance,
    John

  16. John

    Your problem is not a hardware fail. This is either a software problem or the beginnings of a harddrive fail.

    One of the warning signs or an imminent fail is slow operation and odd noises from the drive. Given your system specs and the size and model of your HDD, this computer and HDD would be about 5 years old. This is a pretty good run for a hard drive, and will likely die within the next year or so.

    Firstly, you need to do backup all of your important files. Then try re-installing your browser and running a virus scan. (Malwarebytes is a good first up free check – http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/3000-8022_4-10804572.html?part=dl-10804572&subj=dl&tag=button).

    I suggest you look at a new system, as an upgrade every 5 years is pretty common.

    And good luck!

  17. Robert Zeller says:

    I have a Dell

    Dell Studio XPS
    Core I7 (Quadcore at about… 2.7 or whatever it is)
    12 Gigabytes DDR3 Ram
    1 Terrabyte internal hard drive

    The computer is from December 08… After one month of using the computer, the original hard drive (a few hundred gigabytes) failed. That was annoying, but its been replaced with the current 1 T hard drive… well before the old hard drive failed, I had noticed on one of my high games, x3 Terran Conflict, that the hard drive would end up exiting to desktop or crashing from time to time…. on the new hard drive, the same game has only lately developed a tendancy to show strange colors in the background until refreshed by leaving an area and coming back, and whats more today it simply shut off… I was able to turn it back on, and it didn’t seem to be particularly slow, but perhaps slightly slower (I know you guys have talked about that at length as an issue). This COULD be nothing, but I’m very paranoid after that last incident as I don’t want to replace the hard drive every few months… could this be coincidence or should I be concerned?

    I should note that on the last hard drive, when we took it apart, the plate had actually been physically damaged by the read/write head…(seriously scratched up) is that repeatable or just a manufacturing defect??

  18. Robert Zeller says:

    Oh, I should add that it crashed again… I haven’t restarted it… could this be a power supply issue? Also, its hooked up to a surge protector, could that mess with the external power level at all?(If I’m talking non-sense, feel free to mention it, I don’t know much about the inner workings of computers)

  19. Hi everyone, I need some help before I call Dell …. again ….

    I have a Dell inspiron 1525 laptop.
    Bought it new from Dell in August 2008.
    A few months later I was starting to get issues with freezing, eventually I got tired of it when it would have problems rebooting after freezing.
    Just before the 5 month mark I called Dell, they ended up sending me a new hard drive. Put that in and then a few weeks later, same thing, this time I made Dell take it in for repair.
    They put another new hard drive in it and sent it back.
    Things were “ok” (still occasional freezing) for awhile.
    Now, about 4 months after the last new hard drive was put in, its kicked the bucket again.
    Everything froze up, I tried restarting, got error messages and freezing, shut it down and then restarted, same thing, did a disk check, let it run overnight since it was SUPER slow. By morning the computer was back on the windows desktop. I figured I’d restart it, and thats when it all went bad fast!
    Now it won’t start up. It attempts to and after a while of loading up a blue screen flashes and it restarts itself, and this loop continues.
    Currently, I have pressed F12 at start up and am running diagnostics and have gotten an error:
    Error code: 0142 Msg: Error-code 2000-0142 Msg: Hard drive 1 – self test unsuccessful Status: 70

    So thats where I’m at, its still running the rest of the diagnostics but I’m fearing the worse.
    I’m hoping to find a way to get my files off it before I try sending it back to Dell or whatever they want to do.

    What I’m wondering is:
    If this has happened to 3 hard drives now, and the computer is only 9 months old, what could be causing this?
    It must be something else in the computer rather than me being unfortunate enough to get 3 defective hard drives…..
    I just want to have some sort of plan when I call Dell again, I need to know what to tell them to replace this time rather than them just sending me a new hard drive over and over again!

    Thanks!

  20. we use a software from Gibson Research and with over 50 drives lost and recovered with 100 % success I only tell you this… the beginning article is quite wrong.. software can recover the drive… give it a shot and you won’t be dissappointed… I assure you.

    http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

  21. I love this site! It really helped me, thanks! 🙂

  22. Julie Munoz says:

    I have a brand new computer, but after I installed MS Office Professional 2007 I keep getting the black screen, hard drive failure notice. The software works, but every couple of hours I get the black screen?

  23. Comp was running perfect last night, woke up this morning and my hard drive failed to boot and ins’t recognised as being installed. So devostated just got it back up and running, not an old computer either. No signs, nothing.

  24. Nathan B says:

    one other thing which was not mentioned here is a RAID array.
    For instance, when using RAID 5, you can sustain loss of up to 1 drive when using the minimum of 3 drives. When a drive does fail, you can still boot the machine and use it normally, but at a slower pace as the drives are trying to find the bytes of data.

    you can have more than 3 drives in a RAID 5 array, and the more drives, mean the more drives can be lost and still have a successful boot. ie. 4 drive array can sustain loss of 2 and still boot.

    What to do when a raid array fails because of one drive lost? Simply replace the drive with an identical one. open the raid utility and rebuild the array. The rebuild process can take several hours depending on the size of the drive being replaced.

    NOTE: when using a RAID setup, all drives must be identical. For instance, 3 drives that are all 7200 RPM, 320 GB capacity, and 3.0GB/s transfer rate. if one fails you must replace it with a drive that matches specifications. you cannot replace it with a 5400 RPM 320Gb capacity and 3..0GB/s transfer.

  25. Hi David, very nice articule, i found that very interesting, im writing to u coz i have a really weird problem:

    My pc is working slowly and sometimes crashes and restart (i have 3 OS and is the same for all) and when restarts bios not detect the HD, the only way is turning off a little time the pc and then turn on again the pc and after that work again, is a cycle lol

    Do u know if that is a comun failure?

    Additional data: sometimes is slow in the movies, some mp4 are blurred, when im copying files i cant do anything else (becomes slow) and is really slow coping usb data.

    i passed antivirus and tested some of the HD and not have bad sectors, when i tested with hd recovery only gave me a lot of “delays”.

    Oh and sometimes when i passed antivirus crashed too.

    In Vista the hd is working for a loooong time (red light turns on)

    Everything is proper temperature, cables are ok, power supply is ok too.

    Well i hope that u can help me, i only want to be sure that is the HD for sending that to warranty.

  26. I have just recently received this error on startup when I enter setup the SATA 0 is blank and shows a 0GB capacity. My other drive is Identical 500GB capacity if I exit out of setup the computer restarts and is usually there has only been on or two times that I have had to do several restarts. eventually windows does open a check disk shows everthing to be fine. I am not experienceing any of the syptoms stated above no trouble accessing files no slow down no freeze nothing only issue on startup. Checked all connections looks fine. The only odd thing is I know when it’s starting up properly when I get the message of how I want to startup the computer (which o/s) but they list the same thing twice not sure what’s going on there. That started after I made a change to which programs opened on startup. If that is the problem I don’t remember how I got there. Please help

  27. Thanks for the information although it is a couple of years old, it matches exactly what my hard drive is doing, now i know its not the processor overheating,

    Thanks,
    Matt

  28. I have, with some success (I say “some” because I’ve had it not work also), been able to use an Ubuntu live CD to recover data from computers that have experienced Hard Drive Failure.

  29. My laptop was working perfectly fine until I booted it the next morning when I was hit with “Internal Hard Drive Disk Not Found” outta nowhere.

    Real bummer. Other than reformatting a couple weeks ago and installing Windows 7, I have no idea what happened. No signs of failure or nothin’.

  30. Also my laptop was working fine….. i get this mesage imediatly after i press power buton “your hdd faiiure sonn , you must do a back up imediatly ” for start wind. press F1
    y have 4 weaks with this eror but now i recive also in windows this erorr your hdd drive failure soon !!

  31. I think this is what has happend to my laptop, basically it has over heated far to many times and turns off. I have said before it will break the hardrive. Now I can only use it in safemode, and it won’t start in normal, it freezes before we even get to the desktop. It works fine in safe mode part from it not being the propper way to use your computer, but the data is there. If anyone has any to say on this to me, Email me [email protected] thanks x

  32. I run an on-line backup company. There is nothing more upsetting that losing all your files, I meet people everyday who have lost important files. To some it is there treasured family photos, to others it is vital documents to there business.

    Backing up regularly is so important, an I am not just saying that because of my business.

    Don’t leave it to chance!

    even a USB drive backup is better than no backup.

  33. My hard drive light keep busying for few minutes sometimes, wonder if that’s a sign also. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

  34. My HDD Failure Warning Started from April 2012 and Now It is January 18 Still it works fine. Is There Any Reason For This…………..

  35. iam building a dell 9300 up and I got all new hard were but the hard drive ok I keep looseing os after pc shuts down and reboot it nothing but black screen saying failer on interal hard drive could this be that simple or not ???? lol any ideas plz help thank you and have a great day

  36. Maria Ebbeskog says:

    When your hard drive is getting slower it is going to crash. There are different softwares for checking this like Hdd Health crystal disk info. When spin up time gets a higher number your hard disk is going to crash.

  37. I don’t believe I’ve experienced any of the symptoms stated in this article but my computer is asking me to “Replace or Repair the hard disk” I’m not sure about this. any help?

  38. My tecra m9 laptop has crashed. When I turn it on the screen is black and filled with lowercase a’s with double accent marks above each a. It recognizes a boot up cd, but will not allows a “live” disk to run. It had Win xp pro on it when it died, but I have partioned and formatted it for linux also. Have you ever heard of this? Thanks, Mary

  39. Very nicely summarised information about hard drives; but I was looking for something about how to Recover Laptop Hard Drive and found your blog which helped me learn about what steps should be taken for preventing data lose and HDD corruption.

  40. My PC is very slow, getting tutter between many times, PC red light not blinking, It has two lights green and red. at start green light shows and after start red light should blink. but now its not blinking. getting stuck or tutter, and because of that PC g etting hang many time, are any one able to know what is the problem and what is the solution?

  41. moinchudesra says:

    i have one problem with my pc when i am start the pc than pc is frozen(hang) when i m restart the pc than it display that lunch recommanded satup for this what can i do plz give reply thank you

  42. Thanks for sharing this advice on identifying hard drive problems on a computer. I noticed my work computer tends to freeze a bit, and it is getting hard to grab files from different folders. My boss thinks the computer is just slow, but I think this is a sign of a much bigger problem. Maybe I should send this to him so that he will start looking for an IT consultant.

  43. i have a internal hard drive in which windows xp is installed,i want to fromat / clean it, so i can use it as a external hard disk
    what will i have to do??

    • Thanks for your comment. Please post your question in our forum, and our community of tech enthusiasts will be able to help you.

  44. K K Sharma says:

    I am building a dell 9010 CORE i5 vPro windows 7 OS up and I got all new hard were but the hard drive ok I keep loosing OS after PC shuts down and reboot it nothing but black screen saying failure on internal hard drive ???? Any idea Please help thank you.

  45. sir kindly tell me how i repair my laptop hard disk
    it working perfectly when i write some data on it like if i copied some data from any other source into my hard its workin very perfectly
    but when i read some data from my hard like when i copied some data from my hard disk to any other it working very slowly almost it coping speed 100KB/s
    tell me what can i do

  46. Chitrank Pande says:

    My laptop takes around 15 min to start then freezes now and then, it’s a I7 processor with 8 gb ram. I think the problem is with hard disk . I am not able to take the back up from the system because is always freezes. Is there any way to fix this except replacing the HDD.

    • MrWonderful61 says:

      You might try booting from different drive. Then you could use a tool such as RStudio to attempt to recover the data from your old system drive, mounted as an additional drive.

  47. This is a really good article. Thanks for sharing!

    we’ve written an article on a similar topic here – please feel free to use the info in our article.

    http://www.castlecomputers.uk.net/blog/tips-to-recover-data-from-a-crashed-hard-drive/

  48. Mike Manicek says:

    Hello, i have problem with my PC. When i start my pc on power button, the Hard Drive sounds once “Metallic noise” then after 2-3 sec it sounds once again like it restarted itself and nothing happens. The hard drive doesn’t flash (LED), no signal to monitor, keyboard and mouse. So i am about to change HDD to check if there is problem with hard drive. Any advice?

  49. Hi Stephen – thanks for your comment and welcome to PCMech! To get help with your question, I recommend starting a new thread in our tech forum, where our community of computer experts will be more than happy to help you.
    http://forum.pcmech.com

  50. Rae Simmons says:

    Can’t boot after Microsoft update trys but after Windows logo screen goes black

    • Mr. Computer Help says:

      The same thing happened to me under different circumstances. For you, it was not the result of the update, but in any case, you’ll need to reinstall Windows.

  51. I purchased my dell laptop inspiron 3542 1st jan 2015, but I got hard drive failure problem after 6 months and dell replace it in warranty but there after 3 months hard drive failure then they replaced but 2 months after still got same problem and this time Dell replace it in warranty . But hard drive sounds like ” metallic noise “. I don’t know how much time it works correctly ?

  52. ThatSkyrimGuy says:

    Hey so I have had a dell inspiron 660 for a couple years now and it has an i5 3330 processor and 8gb ram. Recently I installed a geforce gtx 960 GPU and after installing it, my PC would freeze frequently and then I would get a bsod saying hard drive disk failure while playing my games and such. Like i would be playing a game and skyping with friends for like an hour and all the sudden my pc freezes and i would just blue screen out of no where. Would you guys be able to help me out?

  53. Lee Tracey says:

    I have a different problem. I can see the drive in Device Manager but it does not appear in Disk Management so I cannot format it or re-partition it as I cannot find it with any of the PC access tools. My suspicion is that I have managed to remove the small Windows 7 needed partition section and the drive no longer has any partition. I know that in Disk Management I could re-partition but that is not possible as I cannot see the drive to do anything to it. Anybody have a clue as to what to do? The drive is a Samsung 1TB HD105SI, made by Seagate and hardly used. I think I know how I screwed it up: I have a Inatek CLONE machine and I set a 2TB MASTER as the prime and the 1TB Samsing as the slave and tried to clone – it failed. I then remembered that you can only clone to a drive of the same capacity or larger, but I had tried to clone a 2TB down to a 1TB. But now how do I recover an almost new drive? I am not interested in anything on it – just get the drive back in use. Both Samsung and Seagate are useless as supporters of their products as it is impossible to contact them for assistance.

  54. siva prasad says:

    I have a Problem, my pc informs to me.”your pc hard disk failure, backup your data”. so what’s the problem? and tell me the sollution. please..

  55. All my important data, photos etc is backed up on 3 separate 1tb drives. So i have at least 2 copies of everything. Hard drives are so cheap there is no excuse nowadays

  56. Greg Blaze says:

    I went through the case of clicking noise which leads to physical failure of head of the hard drive. It was of 3 TB HD. I had all my important data in it. In my case no other method worked except calling data recovery professional. Stellar hard drive recovery services helped me out recovering the data.

  57. arran haller says:

    Last Sunday I was unable to diagnose my Hard drive. It was due to malware attack. I ran the antivirus and it was detected. Thankfully it didn’t harm my data. Since then I keep back up of each and every piece of document. ?

  58. I was looking for why data is not accessible by user. This blog solved the query. Thanks for sharing. Very informative blog.

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