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
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.
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.
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.
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.