Technology Explained

5 Signs Your Hard Drive Is Failing (And What to Do)

Tina Sieber 12-12-2019

Looking for signs of hard drive failure?


Every one of us owns precious files like personal documents, photos, videos, or audio files, and we typically store them on hard drives. Few people realize that most electronic storage devices, including hard drives, have a limited lifetime when compared to the ancient ways of storing information, such as stone, papyrus, paper, or old school records. The average lifetime of a stationary hard drive today is around 5 – 10 years, depending on the type and manufacturer, and it rapidly declines if the drive is subject to strong variations in temperature, humidity, and motion.

Since a majority of people today own laptops and external hard drives External Drive Not Showing Up or Recognized? 5 Potential Fixes to Try Is your external hard drive not showing up or being recognized in Windows? Here's how to fix a hard disk that's not detected. Read More , which get dragged around quite a bit, a realistic hard drive lifetime is probably around 3 – 5 years. This is an extremely short time to reliably store important data.

In the best of cases, hard drives fail gradually, giving you the chance to react, get a copy of your data How to Connect and Get Data Off a Hard Drive in 5 Ways Need to get data off an old hard drive? It's easier than you think! Here's how to connect an old hard drive to your PC. Read More , and replace the storage device before facing a fatal failure. There are a host of signs that hint to a gradual failure of your hard drive.

If you are unsure how much life is left on your hard drive, read this article to find out what signs may reveal an approaching failure.

1. Slowing Down Computer, Frequent Freezes, Blue Screen Of Death

These are very unspecific signs that can be caused by a million different things. However, regardless of what the issue behind these symptoms is, it is recommended that you immediately make a backup. If these problems occur after a fresh installations or in Windows Safe Mode, it is almost certain that it is due to bad hardware, and possibly a failing hard drive.


snail on Windows keyboard

2. Corrupted Data

If you’re beginning to find files that fail to open or if it contains corrupted data What Is Data Corruption? How to Fix a Corrupted Hard Drive Data corruption can destroy the data on your HDD, so it's wise to keep backups. Too late? Find out how to repair your hard drive. Read More , even though the file saved without errors, or if files suddenly disappear, you should get worried.

While this could be due to a multitude of issues, it is also a typical sign for a gradual hard drive failure.

broken folder with corrupted data


3. Accumulation of Bad Sectors

Bad sectors are areas of the hard drive that do not maintain data integrity. They are automatically masked by the operating system and thus hard to identify, especially if large amounts of the disk are currently in use. If you actually run into bad sectors, however, that certainly is a bad sign.

You can run a manual disk check to identify errors that Windows has not spotted, yet. In Windows 7, go to > Start > Computer and right-click on the disk or partition you wish to check. Select > Properties, in the window that opens switch to the > Tools tab and click > Check now… In the Checking Disk window place a checkmark next to > Automatically fix file system errors and > Scan for an attempt recovery of bad sectors.

options for checking disk for errors

Windows will also check for bad sectors, when you perform a full format How to Format a USB Drive and Why You Would Need To Formatting a USB drive is easy. Our guide explains the easiest and fastest ways to format a USB drive on a Windows computer. Read More or chkdsk command.


4. Strange Sounds

When you hear strange noises coming from your hard drive, it may be too late already. A repetitive sound also known as the click of death is caused by the head as it is trying to write data and recovers from errors in doing so. Grinding or screeching noises indicate that parts of the hardware, for example the bearings or spindle motor, are failing.

5. S.M.A.R.T. Data

There are tools that aim to predict hard drive failure by reading the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) data that is recorded by the operating system. Unfortunately, like most other methods listed above, S.M.A.R.T. is notoriously unreliable in predicting hard drive failure and the catastrophe will often happen before the warning of S.M.A.R.T. kicks in. If you have a working hard drive, however, and would like to have a look at its S.M.A.R.T. data, check out our article on tools to predict and prevent hard drive failure.

Hard Disk Utility benchmark, health check, and error scan

I Think My Hard Drive Is Failing, What Shall I Do?

So you are worried that a hard drive failure is just around the corner? The truth is, even if you are not worried, it is! All you can do is always keep backups of your data on a second hard drive and be prepared to get a replacement Buying a New Hard Drive: 7 Things You Must Know Buying a hard drive is easy if you know some basic tips. Here's a guide to understanding the most important hard drive features. Read More .


The likelihood that both drives will fail simultaneously is rare. An exception would be natural disasters like floods or fires. For these cases, I recommend keeping a copy of your most important data in a different physical location, for example at work or with a friend, or possibly on a remote server, for example by using an online backup solution.

create a backup of your computer in case your hard drive fails

For more information on how to back up data, read The Backup & Restore Guide The Windows Backup and Restore Guide Disasters happen. Unless you're willing to lose your data, you need a good Windows backup routine. We'll show you how to prepare backups and restore them. Read More . You may also want to wipe the drive How to Completely Wipe a Hard Drive There are two ways to wire a hard drive. Here's what you need to know to get it done quick and easy. Read More to prevent anyone from recovering data off it.

Don’t Let Your Hard Drive Fail!

Do not rely on signs or software to tell you whether you have a failing hard drive. It is more likely than not that it will fail unexpectedly and without any warning signs whatsoever. Rather than trying to forecast something that is even less predictable than the weather, you should rely on backups.

If it’s too late, here’s how to diagnose and fix a dead hard drive to recover data. And if things remain a lost cause, you still may be able to get some use out of that dead hard drive 7 DIY Projects for Your Old Hard Drive Wondering what to do with your old hard drives? Don't throw them out! Turn it into a DIY external hard drive or many other things. Read More .

Image credits: Anyka, malost, lucadp, Matthias Pahl

Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Data Backup, Hard Drive.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Rob
    October 11, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Great information thank you.I use google to search and your site was the first site right at top!!

  2. soheila
    July 13, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Hello,I have a HP notebook and lately I have faced some problems with it
    1:has been so sluggish
    2:can't move or read some files (error :can't read this file or disk ) despite of file size
    3:disk usage is mostly %100
    4:boot menu check disk fails
    5:l can't reinstall Windows 10 (error :windows can't be installed in this drive it may fail soon )
    6:every time the notebook stars up this error appears on the screen : The smart hard disk check has detected an imminent failure...
    1:in disk management window all partitions are marked as healthy
    2:Drive error check finds no error
    3:all drives can be defragmented successfully
    4:hard disk sound is normal
    5: more than %50 of disk is free (Marshall_produced at 2016)
    based on what I said above ,what can be the problem ?a malware or hard disk is going to fail .help please ,I appreciate any recommendations

    October 14, 2018 at 1:25 am

    I found your article very enlightening, informative and above all, useful (pun intended). I have been wondering why my iMac keep's giving me the spinning circles when I perform an action with the mouse, and I get the impression from your article that my hard drive might be failing. A disk repair in disk utility says everything is ok, but I do note a real slowdown in performing all actions.

    I would rather spend the money now and replace the hard drive before the present one goes out.

    Do you have an article on a do-it-yourself changeout of a hard drive on a late 2013 iMac? (If not, can you point me towards an article on this on another website?)

    Are there compatible third-party internal hard drives for a late 2013 iMac? If so, where can I look for one? (or do you suggest I stick with official Apple hard drives?)

  4. Tom
    November 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Tina, I'm very worried because I'm backing up old photos and videos from my old Windows 7 PC, and when I clicked on safely remove and after it safely removed it, the external hard drive was still on. I also have a Windows 10 computer and the external hard drive would turn off after I would click eject. I thought, "maybe with Windows 7 you just have to unplug it while it's on (even after clicking safely eject, which it did)". I probably did this like 2 or 3 times, and then I noticed the next time I plugged it in that there was an error message saying there was something wrong with the reading or something. I clicked to scan it and said that it had no errors. All the files on it seem ok, but so far I have like 513GB of data and I'm really paranoid about randomly having even one file disappear at any time because of what I did, and that I would never notice it going missing.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 20, 2017 at 4:25 am

      Tom, this sounds like you may have ejected the wrong drive by accident. As long as the drive is not spinning while you're unplugging it, you should be fine. Just make sure all files are closed and nothing is reading from or writing to the external drive.

      And you should always have a backup of all your files in case something goes wrong. Hard drives don't forever. Can you back up those 513 GB somewhere else too, like a local drive on your computer?

  5. Will H
    September 14, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I found that using an external hard disk for data is my solution. Then for certain folders that you use all the time, right click on the folder and select "Create shortcut." Send it to the desktop. Even with other users they'll think they're using a folder but actually using the data drive.

    The data drive should be backed up. I usually copy the data from one external drive to another. I don't trust the "cloud" just yet. Look at all the breaches. Nothing like having it right in my own hands!

    • Tina Sieber
      September 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      That's only a little sneaky and a great tip! Thank you, Will.

      • Will H
        September 14, 2017 at 9:40 pm


  6. John S
    May 27, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I purchased a HP Pavilion notebook with a WD 1 GB drive which failed after only 6 months. SMART never gave any indication and actually when I ran a app to check SMART status everything was fine. It was not until I ran the HP tests on the HD that it failed early on into the tests. So no you cannot rely on SMART to warn of impending failure. Maybe my luck has run out on drives but recently I have two early failures and for years I never had one. I think something is prematurely affecting drive life, not sure if that's manufacturing, specs, capacity, operating system or something like notebook design causing higher shock rates. The big old thick notebooks never seem to have HD issues like today's thinner lighter plastic case notebooks. I use the cloud a lot for storage so failure is less of an issue. But even so a failure early on in its lifespan is concerning given that hard drives of the past seem to hold up much better.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Drives tend to fail either early or late/r in their expected lifetime. You probably had bad luck with your recent purchases. SMART may not pick up early failures because they're most likely due to manufacturing errors, rather than "wear-and-tear".

  7. tarl
    January 8, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Even those of us that have been in the industry for decades, make the error of not backing up, religiously, or getting complacent. Over my lifetime in computers I've been bitten many times with hard drives going out and losing data. 100's of megabytes to now hundreds of gigabytes. It hurts. You try to back your stuff, but you accumulate so sometimes gets difficult. I lost a 1TB backup a few months ago, USB driven with hard power connect. My first clue was it was sometimes not being detected or the computer was losing detection of the USB drive. I'd unplug it and plug it back in to get it to show up. I started migrating items off the drive 10 or 20 GB here, 10 or 20 GB there...ultimately I got most of the items off, but when it finally went, I lost what was left. So, I picked up a new 2TB usb back up on sale. Never hurts to stock up. :) - and you start backing up the backups. Since I had 2 exact same external USB backup drives...about the same age. So I'm backing up the backup a little every day....and I was thinking, just before Xmas....I need to back up my main internal's been in use for awhile. Anyways, I continued backing up the backup and 2 days after Xmas....I hear clack, clack, clack from my computer. Oh shit I say...I look and can still see my 4 drive partitions (a 1TB drive split into 4) but as I start to try to copy stuff off, too late. The computer locks up because you're trying to access data that really is no longer accessible. So you gotta reboot and that's all she wrote......upon reboot (my OS is on SSD) I come back up but the internal 7200rpm drive is gone. 1TB of data, gone. Digital pics, books, movies, downloaded info, songs, clips........emails, all gone. Sigh, got bit again. This time is prob the worst I've experienced....but many of the items lost are recoverable, and I did have some I try not to think about getting bit again. :(

    • tarl
      January 9, 2017 at 1:19 am rule of thumb, to compute by. Don't get lazy or complacent. Because as the old adage goes, "it's not if the hard drive will fail, but when." - My drive has been replaced, now trying to re-populate it with recovered or replaced lost data. :(

      • Anne
        May 12, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        How much did that cost? I think my hard drive died today or last night on my 5 year old Dell. I do have an external hard drive but have not backed up since before Christmas. I never really understood how I should back up and so I simply resave all the documents and all the pictures. Is there such a thing as a back up system that backs up automatically? As smart as some people are, I would think an automatic back up would be available. Human nature, being what it is, it is difficult to stay up to date with the backing up.

        • Tarl
          May 13, 2017 at 3:20 am

          More heartache than anything. Getting the NEW drive (got it on sale) for $49, WD Black 1TB, 7200rpm with 5 year warranty. I've had great luck with the WD drives. Seagates on the other hand, not so much....just about ALL the harddrive failures I've had in the last few years were Seagates. Funny too, since prior to that I used Maxtors for ages.....I still have some Maxtor drives that are 10, 15+ years old that still work, some WD's too......not for important stuff, but they do have data on them. Seagate bought Maxtor, but it seems their dependability didn't get absorbed. :( .......other than spending time repopulating stuff, re-download here, re-copy there....I'm back to a good place.........but I did lose lots of good stuff. I've been systematically backing stuff up.....manually on Blue Ray and every time they have a decent 2TB external harddrive with good warranty I grab one and continue to fill them up here an that I can try to stay ahead of the failures and data loss and keep the backups, backed up. :) It's a never ending cycle. And yes, they have software that you can run and set a time for it to backup your stuff. If I ever get time I'll set up a home NAS (network attached storage) and have scheduled backups.

    • Tina Sieber
      January 10, 2017 at 11:32 am

      So many data, so little time for backups. Sucks to lose everything you've collected! Thank you for sharing, Tarl.

      I'd add: Don't get attached to data and automate the backup for data you can't afford to lose.

  8. Marisa Vosloo
    October 2, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I am totally heartbroken. Not only did someone reformat my hard drive to another OS language (withoit asking me first) but also it then seemed to have failed altogether. I have lost every single photo of my whole life because I have scanned them and saved them on my computer. I still have the dead hard drive - like carrying a corpse in the hope it will come alive.

    • Tina Sieber
      October 3, 2016 at 9:52 am

      That's really tough, Marisa.

      If you can afford it, you could still hire a data recovery company to recover the data from your hard drive. Be prepared to pay upwards of $500. Do use a company with a proven track record, even if they are more expensive. Good luck!

  9. Renny
    August 21, 2016 at 12:19 am

    I was informed by windows that my hard drive was failing so I copy and pasted my photos to another pc through the wireless network sharing. Now the photos won't open and don't show any thumbnails. Does it sound like they are gone for good? It doesn't show the dimensions in the photo properties either.

  10. Jh
    August 11, 2016 at 12:18 am

    I have a hard drive I purchased after the stock hp hard drive died, I guess its 3 years old or 4 anyways I noticed my pc getting slower and slower, I thought it was just out dated it was from 2009 and came with windows vista. So I built a newer pc and used the old hard drive that is 3 or 4 years old everything was working great for about a week then I noticed clicking sounds when the pc was thinking, opening a program reading data off the hard drive especially at start up. It sounds like a muffled coffee grinder under a pillow in the next room, not too loud but you can feel it when you place your hand on the pc. The only thing I can think of is the way it is positioned in the new pc its horizontal. In the old pc it was vertical. I guess after years of it working in one position to be forced to work in a totally opposite position was too much for it to handle, perhaps over the years gravity has played apart in the internal items inside the hd to become worn and when placed in a different position began to click like the old hd's used to when it was defragmented, the old hd clicking sounds from early 2000's. So anyway hd's are not that expensive and I shall be installing a new one. And yes it is getting slower and slower every day.

    • Jh
      August 11, 2016 at 12:20 am

      And yes I have tested the hd and passed all the test I can find to throw at it.

    • Tina Sieber
      August 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

      My gut instinct was that hard drives, because they contain moving parts, are affected by physical orientation, but turns out that's not true. The vertical installation should be perfectly fine

      Even though you write that you haven't found a test that uncovered an issue, the sounds you describe have me worried that the drive is going to fail soon. I wouldn't store anything important on it. I would keep backups (you can clone the drive or make a system image). And most importantly, I wouldn't let it run while you're not there.

      Did you find any tests that look at read / write speeds, temperature, or spinup time? Try this one:

  11. Michael
    August 9, 2016 at 12:14 am

    one of my pcs is 14 years old and sill works but i never may no when my pc will die

    so thank you

    • Tina Sieber
      August 9, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Welcome Michael! Just make backups. We recommend Macrium Reflect for complete disk images, i.e. system backups.

  12. Douglas
    July 23, 2016 at 11:01 am

    i am not sure wheater this is the right place to ask,! but since the system is letting me in, so i guess it wouldn't hurt.

    i have 500GB USB External HDD since five years. since i bought it up until quite recently it worked fine, but now two months ago it just stopped working. without warning.

    the problem it shows is like, when i plug it into my computer it askes for format first,
    no i cant format it, all of my important data over the years is in it, my family picture and vides and my other stuff is there, i need a way out, if you please could help me with this , i will literally be in your debt..!

    • Tina Sieber
      August 9, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Douglas, I only just saw your comment.

      You could try to follow the tips in this article: How To Diagnose And Fix A Dead Hard Drive To Recover Data

      Or you could consult a data recovery specialist.

      • Douglas
        August 9, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        Well, thank you, but still i haven't found anything, this is gonna kill me soon. i just need on day of it working, then i could extract everything in it,! i've tried everything to my knowledge,.

  13. Christopher John Ulrich Burke
    July 23, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Just a Cautionary Tale....

    Couple of years ago, I went back to XP - which I still use - from 7 because none of my lovely music software liked 7 even in XP mode. I had antiviruses, Avast, Malwarebytes, the lot on it. Thought I was totally safe - till one day nothing would fire up. Everything looked the same, nothing worked. Then I started getting bleeping sounds, sirens, 'Your Disc has been Found To Be filled with Porn and the Police have Closed it Down....'

    Of course it wasn't. Hallo Ransomware. Now I THOUGHT I was lucky, because finding that kinda stuff is sorta my good point. I went in with Hiren's, all guns blazing, found all the files and nuked the lot. Thing IS - that attack had pushed the hard drive over the edge and I hadn't even realised it was coming to the end of its days. Wouldn't boot. Used Hiren's, Mini XP, various rescue tools and a LOT of patience and over the next few days recovered most of the files.

    In fragments. Which meant no music software. Wasn't going to let a virus beat me. I went in with a hex editor - believe it or not - and pieced the software back together just like a jigsaw puzzle. That took me about three weeks. Then - on a new hard drive - I had to manually install all the files as I didn't know how to repackage them for the installer to do it. That took another week and a half. I've ended up with my music software working - I'm actually quite proud of that - and a backup disc image on another separate drive. How the viruses had gotten past everything - here's the cautionary point - is there's a function on XP which lets people operate it remotely and I hadn't heard of it, so it was left on. Which gave the system a back door straight past Avast. And the viruses had found it.

    If 7, 10, or any of the others also has Remote Access, make sure it's always turned off, Avast AND Malwarebytes cannot spot viruses entering that way!

    By the way - two hard drive cures you haven't mentioned. If your hard drive death-ticks, putting it in the freezer overnight wrapped in clingfilm should give you another couple of uses out of it so you can rescue stuff. If it's just dodgy, taking a disc image, saving disc image on other drive (or online/Cloud) deep-formatting drive and then putting disc image back onto the drive - which should include Windows, think of it as transferring a snapshot of your hard drive to a safe source, then transferring the picture back onto the hard drive like putting it into a picture frame - doing that should cure the hard drive - for awhile. But remember it has warned you!


    • Tina Sieber
      August 9, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Thank you for your elaborate comment and the great tips, Chris!

      The freezer trick didn't work for me (covered in another article), but others swear by it. :)

      You can be proud of yourself for piecing software back together like that. It sounds like an excruciating task to me! So does using Windows XP. How will you keep it safe when the anti-malware software for it isn't updated anymore?

      • Mallory
        January 2, 2017 at 7:20 pm

        VPN connection encryption maybe? Haven't tried it yet but I'm choosing a VPN provider.

      • Marcus
        August 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm

        Was Telnet enabled? That's a massive gaping security hole on older versions of Windows if it isn't turned off.

        • Tina Sieber
          August 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm

          Great call, Marcus!

    • Mallory
      January 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      I haven't tried this yet, but I've heard great things about paid VPN services. Don't go for the free ones. They encrypt your internet connection and let you surf anonymously. It supposedly also acts as a security feature against viruses and hackers, giving you a secure connection in public networks. Works with phones, tablets, and computers. I'll be buying this service so that I can do online banking more securely from public networks.

      Though you're better off reading about it yourself than relying on my vague explanation and deciding if this is for you.

  14. Rockey
    July 12, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    hi, i am face a problem from long time. A red light on cpu is continously on-off and a beep sound comes from system than whole system gets freezes for a long time ,than unfreeze and suddenly freezes again,the red light ON with high my hard disk going to dead,please help me,my all data my photos ,videos ,all memories saved in this,what i do?
    my system installation year was 2011 and one thing due to freezing again and again i close the system without shut down more than 1000 times, is my hard disk goes to dead.
    SYstem configurations-

    window 7 64 bit
    hdd -seagate sata 500 gb
    core 2 duo E7500 cpu

    • Tina Sieber
      July 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Doesn't sound good. You should definitely back up your data if still possible. You could boot from a USB drive and see whether that makes it easier to back up the data.

      When the backup is done, you can try to scan the hard drive for bad sectors. If the scan comes out negative (no issues), just reinstall Windows (you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free until July 29). Otherwise, replace the hard drive and upgrade to a solid state drive if you can.

  15. Fraser
    June 25, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I keep getting a BSOD then on reboot I can't find the drive unless I unplug the SATA cable and re-attach it. It's always when trying to access programs or files on the drive that goes missing. Pretty sure it's about to fail.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 26, 2016 at 2:23 am

      Well, make backups and prepare to swap out the drive. Could also be a bad cable, though.

      • Fraser
        June 26, 2016 at 10:36 am

        Cables are good, swapped them out for new ones already. Definitely the drive. I have around 1.7TB worth of steam games on it so I'll probably just scrap the drive.

  16. Njoyz
    June 23, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Guys, I need an advice.. My computer is extremely slow, CPU usage at minimum, at first there was a problem when opening files, so I did a reinstall, and I was certainly surprised to see that the problem still occurred. As of now, the problem is still present, even in safe mode, with the HDD staying silent long after I demand an action. Also the boot time of win7 is awful at about 15mins. I also run into constant freezes even when only browsing. Do you think it might be the drive or something else?

  17. Anonymous
    June 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I think it's good

    • Tina Sieber
      June 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      You mean your own hard drive? Glad to hear, Diana.

  18. ray
    June 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    mine is to late when iam backing up the pc hangs and says error by i/o device
    my 1 tb sshd has 2400 hours on record

    • Tina Sieber
      June 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Time to replace I guess.

      • Douglas
        July 23, 2016 at 10:58 am

        i am not sure wheater this is the right place to ask,! but since the system is letting me in, so i guess it wouldn't hurt.

        i have 500GB USB External HDD since five years. since i bought it up until quite recently it worked fine, but now two months ago it just stopped working. without warning.

        the problem it shows is like, when i plug it into my computer it askes for format first,
        no i cant format it, all of my important data over the years is in it, my family picture and vides and my other stuff is there, i need a way out, if you please could help me with this , i will literally be in your debt..!

  19. Howard
    May 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    I was getting a blue screen and would not load my updates right...I would have to start in a safe mode every time it started up...I thought it was my windows program but was not it was the Hard Drive...

  20. Shabdik
    May 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    My problem is whenever i turn on my pc it works fine but when i download something or playing games it gets stuck with a ***CLICK*** sound which is comes from my HDD.whenever i face this problem i check my ram and again turn my pc on and it works well but this problem doesn't solve.this problem happen not regularly but sometimes..when i face it i check my ram again and again and it works but not for long :(

    My point is : Is this my HDD failure issue or others hardware problem????

  21. Conundrum
    February 28, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Also worth mentioning, I invented a new method to recover data on drives which combines 2 different well known ones with a new one which isn't in the literature.
    Interested? its actually a lot gentler than the freezer method and preserves the warranty.
    Had some success but hoping to launch a Kickstarter some time soon.

    I can be reached on andre [a{] lanoe [d0t] net

  22. Conundrum
    February 28, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Just had a drive fail with little or no warning. Had a single isolated BSOD on the system when playing a DVD qbout a week earlier but then it recovered fine until this morning.
    Interestingly the diagnostics message was about a problem with the USB, maybe power related?

    I have a theory that on some newer drives they draw too much power and eventually cause an overload in the voltage regulator, this becomes particularly critical if the laptop battery is low.

  23. Dillor Zaarour
    December 15, 2015 at 1:54 am


    • Captian
      February 1, 2016 at 3:23 am


  24. Anonymous
    December 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    What should i do when my computer freezes and went blue screen??!

    • danny
      May 5, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Take a brush and paint a wallpaper on the screen

      • RandomNerd
        March 10, 2016 at 7:19 pm

        Reboot The Pc??

  25. Springfield
    December 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Two tips:
    1) A trick I learned from a PC repair guy to recover data from a dying drive: Put it in the freezer.  In a baggie for about an hour.  Then put it back in the computer, boot up, and be ready to copy the data to a DVD if it works.
    2) An old software utility called Spinrite can be used to refresh formatting and even recover corrupt data if it's not too far gone.  Many times the drive hardware is OK, but after 3-5 years the magnetic marks that tell the heads where the data is (low level formatting) begin to fade.  Spinrite re-writes the low level formatting with the data in place.  Can make an old drive like new.

    -Springfield from NBR

    • Tina
      December 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for the tips, Springfield!

      I also tried the freezer one and later heard it was a myth. Didn't work for me at the time. To my luck, however, the drive miraculously did work again after lying on a cupboard for two years.

  26. John5247
    November 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    My friend at colllege had the best data security. Every week he sent a DVD home to mom of his current essays. If he fell into a party one weekend and forgot, mon would call and nag him to send it .... simple!

  27. John5247
    November 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    All Hard drives fail as sure as death and taxes. Until the recent floods in Thailand drives had never been cheaper. When they get back down "normal" price again - what was it? 50 dollars a Terrabyte!  Promise yourself you'll buy 4 and a NAS box and set up 2 RAID arrays.
    Put the NAS box as far away as you can from your computer - preferably in the next State or at least in your Grandma's house. Only now you can ease up on the paranoia ....

  28. Daniel Aniegbuna
    October 1, 2011 at 3:38 am

    There are many ways we can lose information on a computer - a destructive virus, a power surge, lightning, floods, a big magnet, or sometimes equipment just fails. Customer experience shows that data backup is one of the least things a computer user wants to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Generally, most PC users consider data backup a necessity immediately after they have experienced PC disasters, such as hard drive failures! Data recovery can be expensive, unfortunately, since we can neither prevent natural disasters nor certain PC disasters, we should at least be ready for them. Technically, one sure way to be ready for PC disasters is by backing up data regularly and keeping multiple backup copies onsite (using preferred external media drives) and offsite (via remote storage).

    • Tina
      October 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Yes, backup is a must.

  29. Tom
    September 25, 2011 at 1:00 am

    To recover data on failed hard drives download a copy of Puppy OS. Burn it to a CD and boot with it. It will display any data on most problem CDs. It is Linux software and actually runs in your ram.

    • Tina
      September 25, 2011 at 8:31 am

      When the hard drive is the issue and not the operating system, then not even Linux can save your neck, but it sure is worth a try!

  30. Cell Travis
    September 23, 2011 at 5:35 am

    I've had 2 hard drives fail in the last 10 years, and on both occasions there was data on them that could not be recovered. Since then, I've been maintaining multiple backups both on a physical external drive and online, in cloud storage.

  31. Tim bain
    September 23, 2011 at 3:52 am

    If you have an external enclosure and the software you can usually recover files with cheap or free software, Recovermyfiles isn't bad. Hardrivehealth is a nice little app thats free and shows problems developing (HDDhealth).

  32. Mango Wodzak
    September 23, 2011 at 2:32 am

    I'm pretty sure that for most failed harddrives, the data is still recoverable. There are centres around that will recover the data for you at a cost.. (doing exactly what you suggest Lee) here in australia, it'd cost around $1000 I'm told. So EdinJ, I wouldn't throw away the disk. maybe when you can afford it, you could sent it off for recovery..

    I'm wondering whether disks are deliberately not designed to last, as I'm sure that technologically it must be possible to create a disk that'd last a lifetime. Likely the short life of disks is all part of the consumer, money thing.. keep people buying new things.. Sad state really.

    • Tina
      September 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Unfortunately, you're right. But it's not a conspiracy. :)

      I think the problem is hardware manufacturers can not afford to put in the amount of development or quality of hardware required to make devices last longer. If they did, the product would be more expensive and the amount of consumers willing to pay that price may be too small. So yes, money is the issue, the margin would be too slim.

      A different model would be to sell the service rather than the hardware. Let hardware manufacturers sell storage space rather than hard drives. They could provide a guarantee of keeping data save. This model would be an incentive for them to manufacture long life hardware.

    • Cicas
      September 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      I agree with Tina:) 
      Think about buying 500GB hard drive, which could last for, say, 50 years. But after just 10 years, what will 500GB be? Nothing. You will put this in to your phone as a card. I can imagine someone saying something like "500GB? What is it for? I can put ther just one movie and an year old game! Tsss.." Remember floppy disc? :D

      • Tina
        September 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm

        Good point, Cicas.

  33. Lee
    September 23, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Just thought of this, and I don't really know much about exactly how hard drives work, but if a part of your drive fails, couldn't you take another part from a different hard drive and replace it? Obviously it wouldn't work for the platters but what if it was the read head that failed? Could you replace it with a different read head just to recover the data?

    • dustin
      September 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

      yes, but its a very tedious, and even touchier process. If a read head failed, keep in mind these things hover no more than the height of a piece of paper above the drive platters, it takes the patience of a brain surgeon. outside of mechanical failures, however, one of the biggest killers of hard drives is the circut board. you can usually find a circut board from the exact model drive of another one thats died and replace it, although im not sure of the process behind any of it.

    • Tina
      September 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

      As Dustin said, it is possible and it does requires a lot of skill, precision, and a dust free environment. There are professional data recovery labs that physically recover data by fixing broken parts of the hard drive.

  34. Anonymous
    September 23, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Unfortunately, I have a dead hard drive with hundreds of my two kids baby pictures.  Told myself time and again to back them up, but never did.

    • Tina
      September 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

      Let it sit for a few years. If you can ever afford it, have the data recovered. If you can never afford it, try the drive again sometime.

      A drive I thought was dead suddenly worked when I gave it a 'last chance' two years after is failed. I could rescue all my photos. I totally didn't expect it to come back to life because it sounded horrible when it failed and only made strange sounds afterwards. Now it sounds ok actually still works, some four years after failing. I obviously haven't used it for storing important data.

    • Sony Lindberg
      December 20, 2011 at 3:26 am

      You can change the circuitboard of the hdd with one from a identical HDD (the same size, manufacturer and model).
      And, is the drive external or internal?
      If it's an external drive the IDE/SATA to Usb/firewire circuit might have failed (pretty common). You can try to open the case and install it in your computer, that might just work.

  35. Mango Wodzak
    September 23, 2011 at 12:12 am

    so what's the most reliable form of drive to backup ones data? are there any disks out there that have a lifetime of a decade or more? Will DVDs last longer if kept in a case and unmoved, or will they fail over time too? Are modern 2 and 3 terrabyte drives more reliable than older drives, or do they all have this limitation?

    • dustin
      September 23, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Its a debatable discussion. I don't really worry about the media as much as i do how i backup. For example, my primary os drive is an SSD drive that except for a few files i do not keep backed up. My second drive is a 200 gig storage drive that holds temporary stuff, program files i don't need on my ssd drive, and an acronis image of my primary storage which brings me to my 3rd drive.

      Technically, its two, set up in a raid mirror. I also keep a small external drive i back that up to.

      I think, with any backup solution you will eventually face data degergation in some form after some time - even cheap dvd's, so my advice is, despite whatever media you use, keep multiple backups of your backups if its important. This will minimalize data degergation and the risk of loosing your only backup.

    • Tina
      September 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

      There is no real reliable way of backing data up any one way. The only way is to keep multiple copies, i.e. backups of your data.

      High quality (I think gold based) DVDs have a pretty long lifetime (30 to 50 years?), but in the end they degrade as well. Early CDs from the 80s were said to have a lifetime of about 20 to 30 years. Newer CDs are said to have less than that (10 to 15 years), but generally longer than a hard drive.