How to Diagnose a Failing Hard Drive

How to Diagnose a Failing Hard Drive

The growth that digital storage has seen over the past several decades is immense. In that time most data has been stored on hard disk drives (HDD). Now with solid-state drives (SSD) being more affordable than ever, it’s no surprise that most computers are preferring this faster and less fragile model. Today, we wanted to highlight that fragility and try to expose some variables that help you tell if your HDD is about to fail. 

The HDD typically lasts between four-to-eight years with average use. If you are a heavy user, plan on getting a replacement at the lower end of the spectrum. HDDs are pretty reliable despite all the moving parts as only about five percent of HDDs fail within the first year, but after three years of average use, that number jumps to about 12 percent. Any HDD that is over eight years old is basically 50/50.

Some of HDDs Common Problems

Since your HDD is going to be overwritten over and over again through time, it stands to reason that eventually, it’s just going to fail. If your drive is making unusual noises such as grinding or clicking, you should immediately be concerned about the data on the disk. If the drive shows degradation in the way of a slowdown you are probably looking at the last legs of your hard drive. 

These are subtle problems, but one issue that isn’t so subtle is the infamous “blue screen of death”; a critical failure of the drive. This means you should start shopping for a new, faster disk drive or some cloud storage to back your files up to. 

Is an SSD a Good Option?

When upgrading away from an HDD, you should definitely consider an SSD as a viable alternative. They are faster and don’t have all the moving parts of an HDD. The data on an SSD is stored electronically rather than magnetically, a major benefit for data retrieval. Laptops and most modern workstations tend to come with SSDs nowadays as the jostling they undertake has a tendency to ruin HDDs much faster. 

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