Hard Drive Problems: Causes and Solutions
The hard drive is designed for long-term storage of files. Problems with a hard drive can lead not only to unstable computer operation, but also to the loss of important and sometimes irreplaceable information.
One of the causes of a HDD malfunction is natural aging. Like any mechanical device, a hard disk has a certain resource of work. For example, discs manufactured by Seagate can withstand up to 50,000 on and off cycles.
Hard drive crashes can occur due to overheating. HDD temperature should not exceed 55 degrees. You can check it using special utilities. For example, the AIDA program. If the temperature of the hard drive is higher, you need to install additional cooling. In this case, keep in mind that low temperature is no less dangerous. It should not be lower than 20 degrees.
Hazardous to the hard drive and increased vibration, which leads to bad sectors. It occurs during the operation of fans in the power supply, CPU coolers and video cards. The HDD must be attached to the chassis through rubber washers. If possible, you should choose a video card whose cooler operates at low speeds. When buying a hard drive, it is better to choose models whose spindle is mounted not only from below, but also from above on the cover.
Another important cause of mechanical damage to the hard drive may be poor or weak power supply. This is due to the fact that when you turn on the computer, the actual energy consumption is much higher than its usual value. A poor-quality power supply unit does not have time to correct the voltage in such a short time. To avoid problems, you must have a power reserve of at least 20%.
A violation of the operating rules also leads to a problem with the hard drive. This is especially true for external drives and laptops. Portable discs often fall on when the spindle is curved and magnetic heads stick. Laptops are used when traveling in transport, and shaking negatively affects the state of the hard drive. Reliability during impacts, which all manufacturers write about, applies only to a disconnected device with parked heads.
Key Symptoms of Hard Drive Failure
Faults of the hard drive can be divided into two groups:
mechanical (physical wear, unreadable sectors, failure of the block of magnetic heads, jamming of the spindle, failure of the control unit);
logical (operating system crashes, file directory corruption due to virus infection, random formatting).
Most often, it is possible to notice the beginning problems with the hard drive before the equipment finally crashes. Symptoms of mechanical failure are:
extraneous noise during operation (rustling, tapping);
slowing down file operations;
loss of documents or lack of access to them;
crashes in the operating system while reading or writing files;
spontaneous restart of the computer;
the appearance of the “blue screen of death”;
the disk is not visible in the BIOS or certain sectors are not read;
unable to load operating system.
If the controller malfunctions, the disk does not vibrate and does not make any sounds when the system starts. The information stored on the hard drive is preserved, but there is no access to it. Tapping during operation indicates damage to the magnetic heads, and a sharp whistle indicates a spindle malfunction. Windows crashes, system error messages, slow reading and writing files indicate bad sectors.
Signs of logical disturbances are similar to those that occur during mechanical failures. But the disk is visible in the BIOS, and during operation no extraneous noise is heard.
What to do if you have problems with your hard drive?
At the first sign of a HDD malfunction, you need to save the data to backup media or to the cloud as soon as possible. This is especially true when tapping magnetic heads appears – the disk can completely fail at any time.
After all the important information is saved, open the computer case and remove the data cables from the contacts on the motherboard and on the hard drive itself. Clean contacts from dust. You need to act carefully, without opening the case of the hard drive – hard drives are very sensitive to dust.
It is possible that due to the installation of a weak power supply, there is not enough power for the HDD to work. Try temporarily turning off all additional power consumers. The easiest way to check for hard disk damage is to connect it to another computer.
Run the antivirus program and scan the computer. It is better to do this by starting from a bootable CD, which anti-virus manufacturers offer to create. An image of such a disk can be downloaded on the Internet.