How to Know if Your Hard Drive Is Dead

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Hard drives fail for any number of reasons. Generally it's due to a mechanical, electrical or data corruption failures. With a few tips, you could quickly determine if you have a deceased hard drive.

  • Listen to your hard drive. If you hear clicking or whizzing sounds, chances are a moving piece is either broken or out of place, a classic sign of a mechanical problem.

    If you have a spare PC, take the hard drive out of that PC and swap it with the broken one to confirm that there is a problem with the hard drive.

  • Hard drives also fail due to electrical failures. If you don't hear your hard drive spinning when you turn it on or can't get it to recognize the disk or load your operating system, it's most likely an electrical problem.

    Electrical failures are recoverable. But they are pricey. Depending on how important the data is, you can contact a data recovery service to retrieve the data.

  • Firmware corruption is another type of hard drive problem. Firmware is an embedded chip within the hard drive case containing codes for controlling the disk. If the instructions within the firmware become damaged or corrupt, the drive will fail.

    Usually you will hear a spinning disk when the PC is turned on, followed by a non-recognized disk or a system hang during boot up.

  • Another hard drive failure is known as a logical hard drive failure.

    Such a failure is truly a pain because the hard drive is physically fine. However, some of the corrupt data on the hard drive is causing the problem. Logical errors cause disk errors, slow performance, strange computer errors and file corruption.

    Usually the origin of a logical hard drive failure is due to a malware infection. Unless the data is super important, don't even waste your time attempting to recover it.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's always smart to store data on a hard drive separately from your operating system. Not only does it speed up your PC, but it segments functions that help you manage the health of your computer.
  • Always back up your data. Not all data is easily replaceable.

References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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