Check whether your PC’s hard drive is dy­ing

A fail­ing hard disk could be a disas­ter. Mar­tyn Casserly shows how to tell when this will hap­pen

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

It’s a heart-stop­ping mo­ment when your PC has a hard disk crash. In an in­stant all those photos, videos, mu­sic, files, and pretty much ev­ery­thing else can dis­ap­pear in an in­stant. So how can you pro­tect your­self from this worst case sce­nario? We’ve put to­gether a guide to the signs you can watch out for, and the steps you can take.

Be­fore we look at ways to sniff out any trou­ble with your hard drive, the first thing you need to do is back up your data. If you al­ready have a reg­u­lar backup rou­tine then that’s ex­cel­lent, but if it’s been a while then we sug­gest you do it right now.

It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict ex­actly when a hard disk will fail, but there are some com­mon sig­nals that could sug­gest your stor­age is on its way out.

Re­duced per­for­mance

If you no­tice your sys­tem be­gin­ning to slow down, then it could be an early warn­ing. The pon­der­ous be­hav­iour will of­ten oc­cur when you’re ac­cess­ing the disk, such as launch­ing pro­grams or sav­ing doc­u­ments, but it can also be gen­eral slug­gish­ness.

Odd noises

When you’ve had a com­puter for a while, you get to know the sounds it makes. These days there aren’t very many, but new ones such as click­ing or grind­ing or even ‘beep­ing’ should be taken very se­ri­ously. If you hear these noises when us­ing the ma­chine, then there’s a good chance that some­thing is very wrong with your hard drive and con­tin­u­ing to use it will only has­ten its demise.

File cor­rup­tion

An­other tell­tale er­ror you might see is that of an in­creas­ing amount of cor­rupted files or ‘blue screens of death’. So if you find you’re sav­ing doc­u­ments or sim­i­lar items but when you go to load them again they’re cor­rupt, a fail­ing disk could well be to blame.

Click this, then choose the Tools tab at the top of the new win­dow that ap­pears. Here you’ll see an area en­ti­tled Er­ror Check­ing. Click the Check op­tion and Win­dows will ex­am­ine the drive. This might take a long while, so be sure to run this when you don’t need to use the PC.

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