Why do hard drives fail? Good question. If there is one question that lingers from the political debate of 2016, it is how much do you have to do to destroy data. The good news is that unless you are intentionally trying to erase something, although not accessible, your data is likely still there and able to be unlocked. Before dropping it off at a computer service repair store, troubleshoot these top reasons that answer the question “why do hard drives fail?”.

Why Do Hard Drives Fail | 5 Most Common Causes

The reasons that hard drives fail are pretty predictable at least to someone who has an awareness of computers. To the average computer user, having your hard drive fail can send you into a panic. Likely, some very important or memorable material is contained on your hard drive. So, the thought that it is gone forever, can be very scary. Take heart; there are many reasons that hard drives fail and it doesn’t mean that all is lost.

hard drive failure

The most important thing to do when you are asking, “why do hard drives fail?” is not to overreact and make the wrong moves. There is a good probability that all the information is still there, as long as you don’t mess with it. If you try to fix it and make it worse, you could risk data loss. These are the five most common answers to the question, “why do hard drives fail?”.


One of the answers to the question “why do hard drives fail?,” is because your computer has overheated. Heat is one of your hard drive’s biggest nightmares. It is one of the biggest reasons that your hard drive can fail to work. If you overwork it, provide it no downtime, or it doesn’t warn you when it is too hot, it may shut down and lock you out. One of the answers to the question, “why do hard drives fail?,” is heat. The good news is that heat doesn’t cause long term damage. You just need to be patient, don’t touch until things have cooled, and ventilate your hard drive back to health.

Physical Damage

Computers are way more fragile than you think. Things such as being bumped, hit or being dropped can wreak havoc on your hard drive. If you damage your computer through physical damage, it is something called a “head crash,” which can be substantial. The best thing to do is to shut your computer down and let it recoup before trying to reboot. Only then can you see the extent of the damage. Many times the only things damaged are the immediate functions performed, so try to remain calm. One of the answers to “why do hard drives fail?” is that you didn’t use enough TLC.

Power Voltage Surges

A surge in electricity like those caused by lightning, interference due to power lines, or any things that cause a disruption in power, can restart your computer. That can result in data loss of whatever you weren’t able to save. The good news is that the rest of the data on your computer that was saved is still there and accessible

Water Damage

Water is not a computer’s friend. if you are asking, “why do hard drives fail?,” and you know that water has been around your computer, then you may want to be a bit concerned. A simplistic thing like a spill can be horrible news for a person trying to recover their files. The hard drive has no protection from water penetration. So, if it is exposed to water, that can lead to a total data loss. Not only can it affect your computer’s operation, there is a good chance that any data stored, may be lost forever.

Corrupted Files

Corrupt files may have you asking “why do hard drives fail?”. If you improperly close a program, turn your computer off before you close your files, or install software that leads to corruption, then you may have some damaged files. If you proceed with caution, the damage may be minimal. So, don’t take any steps until you know what the real problem is.

There is nothing scarier than wondering “why do hard drives fail?”. If you are asking that question, likely, you are trying to find something important. Before you take steps to figure it out, make sure that you aren’t doing anything to make it worse. Make sure to identify the problem before you try to fix it.

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