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If you’ve ever had a hard drive crash on you, then you know how frustrating it can be.

One minute, you’re using your computer, and the next, it won’t turn on without an error message, or without crashing repeatedly. And now all of your data is either lost, irretrievable, or kind of hard to reach.

The best antidote to hard drive failure is to catch it before it fails.

Obviously, that’s a little hard if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why we created this guide to hard drive failure signs.

In this article, we will discuss the top three hard drive failure signs to watch for:

  • Long wait times, frequent crashes
  • Corrupted Data
  • Strange Sounds

Long Wait Times & Frequent Crashes

Having long wait times for loading files or apps on your computer can be the symptom of many different problems–it is not necessarily a hard drive issue. However, if you begin to experience these problems, especially immediately after a reboot or after new software installations and updates, then there is a good chance that there is a hardware problem.

At this point, it’s only a matter of time before your hard drive fails.

If you see the blue screen of death, then your hard drive has already failed.

So make a backup!

Corrupted Data

If you save a document or photo to a folder, and the next time you go to open it it’s not where you left it, then you probably have a hard drive that is going bad.

Your hard drive reads and writes all of your data to the memory of your computer, and if files go missing, the names of your files change, or you can suddenly no longer open and use your files (corrupted data), then you are beginning to experience hard drive failure.

Call a professional immediately!

Strange Sounds

Your computer is bound to make some noise.

There is a fan keeping your hardware cool, and when the computer reads and writes data, it is going to make some noise.

However, if your computer begins to make more noise than it ever has before, or you begin to hear a clicking noise, then you are experiencing hard drive failure. Shut down your computer and bring it to a professional before your hard drive corrupts the rest of your data.

Grinding, screeching, or clicking noises are bad news for your computer and your data. Call a professional!

Why Did My Hard Drive Crash?

A typical hard drive with average use will get a 3-5 year lifespan. Typical wear-and-tear will eventually wear down your hard drive until it fails–as with any machine!

That said, just because a hard drive is very new isn’t a guarantee that it will work. And hard drives are known to last longer than 5 years as well, even with moderate use.

Standard disc drives (SDD’s) have moving parts which can eventually fail; the motor can fail; the read & write heads can fail; they can get bumped or jarred out of place, leading to that scratching noise; the discs themselves can get warped, or not spin correctly; viruses and malware can corrupt your hard drive as well, or even hold it for ransom.

The point is, there are a lot of reasons your hard drive can crash.

You have to stay ahead of it.

Final Thoughts

If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to tell if your hard drive is failing on your own, there is hard drive monitoring software on the market: Drive Genius is a good one for Macs, although expensive, and Hard Disk Sentinel has a download for Windows computers available for free.

If you have any more questions about hard drive failure signs or hard drives in general, call ProData Management for your answers. Our experts at ProData have more than 25 years of experience in commercial data recovery.