How to Check if your Hard Drive is Still Healthy

How to Check if your Hard Drive is Still Healthy

Every component of your computer has a lifespan. While a broken keyboard is a cheap fix and a broken graphics card is an easy fix, a broken hard drive can be heart breaking. Not only is the hard drive the place where you are storing all of your most important data, but depending on the size of the drive as well as the brand, it can be one of the more expensive replacements you will have to make.

There are very few occasions when your hard drive is simply going to just give up. Instead, this particular computer component is actually nice enough to give you a few fairly obvious warnings that its life is coming to an end. And yet often, in our busy days and because the death of a hard drive comes quite slowly, the signs can be easily overlooked or not even noticed, especially if you don’t quite know what to look out for.

On average, a hard drive runs the risk of crashing after just 3 years of use. There are a variety of factors that can affect the lifespan of the hard drive and they include the amount of heat and humidity the hard drive is exposed to. And a laptop hard drive doesn’t fare much better, with the average lifespan being anything from 3 to 5 years.

There’s not a lot that you can do to prolong the life of your hard drive, because this little bit of hardware is put under a lot of stress each day. But to prevent the complete loss of your data, this is what to look out for before the crash.

  1. Constant freezes and sudden slowing down

You could wave away a slow or occasional frozen computer, but when it begins to be become the sort of common occurrence that is leaving you worried and frustrated, it could be a sign that the hard drive is having a hard time keeping up with the demands. There are many other reasons why a computer can slow and freeze, so to pinpoint the hard drive as the problem, you should run diagnostic tools or call on your IT team.

  • Corrupted Data

Data corruption will generally happen when the file is being stored or at the moment it is created. It shows up in different ways, with some of the most obvious cases of data corruption being files that won’t open, error messages when moving the file, opening it or trying to save it, and odd looking file names.

This can happen when your hard drive has an area where the data integrity can’t be maintained.

  • Odd Sounds

One of the best ways to determine if the hard drive is about to die is to listen for strange sounds. A dying hard drive is going to make some really odd noises and the noise is often quite repetitive, something that those in the industry call a click of death. This is caused by the head of the drive trying to write the data but being unable to do so.

Most techs would say that it is not really worth trying to fix a hard drive, because they have such short lifespans. When you notice any of the above signs, and you suspect it is a hard drive, here’s what you must do:

  • Run a data backup. Ideally, you should back up to both a Cloud storage system and an external hard drive that is in good nick.
  • Replace your hard drive. You could wait until it fully crashes, or you can just skip the waiting part and buy a new hard drive.
  • Dispose of the hard drive. Make sure that you wipe all of your data from the drive before you get rid of it. Once you have done that you can take it to a hardware or computer shop and let them recycle it. You should never just throw the hard drive in with your usual trash.


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