For most people, our hard drives contain treasured files including photos, video, audio and documents among other things. While storing such files electronically in hard drives is way superior to ancient methods such as old-school records or even stone and papyrus, hard drives have a life limit.
Though a normal stationery hard drive can last for close to two decades, exposure to varying extreme conditions of temperature, humidity and motion substantially reduce the life of your hard disk. The good news, however, is that a hard drive will rarely failure acutely. The death is usually gradual, and there are telltale signs that warn you to back up your data since the drive is approaching the end of its life.
These unspecific signs have a rather diverse etiology but when they occur with increasingly unusual frequency you have probable cause to worry that your hard drive isn’t doing so well. It is thus advisable that you take to backing up precious data as soon as time allows. This is especially if the problems occur after even in Windows Safe Mode and after fresh installations.
You save a file without errors, and it disappears just like that; well do not panic but you should be worried. Data corruption may manifest in various forms including failure of files to open and/or presenting with errors of corruptions. Again this is not definitive for hard drive failure since there are several factors that may precipitate in this. However, it is a typical sign for a hard drive that is failing gradually.
A bad sector is a segment in a hard drive that lacks data integrity. The operating system automatically masks these sectors but occasionally you might run into a bad sector especially when a large percentage of the hard drive is in use. When the rate and frequency with which you encounter bad sectors increases this is most certainly not good.
It is believed that dying lions make strange groans as they approach their dying hour. This is also what a failing hard drive does. A strange repetitive sound referred to as the click of death is heard. This occurs when the head tries to write data but experiences errors from which it recovers hence producing these sounds. The sound is like a grinding or screeching noise within the hard drive which is indicative of parts of your hard disk failing.
Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology reports are collected by tools within the operating system that try to predict hard drive failure. They are however rather unreliable and most hard drives fail without the SMART warnings ever kicking in.
When you see these signs and realize that your hard drive is failing you should endeavor to create a backup for your data. It is additionally highly suggested that you consult a computer specialist about the possibility of reviving your hard drive and extending its lifespan.