How To Check if Your SSD or Hard Drive Is Failing? (And What to Do)?

Hard Drive is one of the most crucial elements of a computer. Imagine that you turn on your PC and get a hard drive error? Can you imagine a computer like that? This post will guide you to check if your SSD or Hard Drive is failing and what you can do about it.

You may receive an error message which sounds similar to as below:

A disk read error occurred”, indicating when your operating system cannot read or might not be able to access the hard drive. This error is possibly caused by the incorrect BIOS configurations, a damaged hard drive, faulty cable connections, and other common problems.

Common Causes of a Hard Drive Failure

What could be the probable reasons for Hard Disk Drive Failure? Corrupted files or computer virus, or a bad power connection?

Well, Hard Disk Drive Failure is a common issue that most people face, and skilled technicians are required to fix your computer again. The probable reasons for Hard disk drive failure can be

  • Physical damages
  • Wear and tear
  • Logical Failures, etc.

In general, Hard disk drive failures occur in the hard drive’s early life or at the end of its life span. Every electronic has a fixed lifespan and often stops functioning before the approximate lifespan. Usually,  these do have a fixed lifespan, yet assembly errors or manufacturing issues may cause them to malfunction before the given time. So, in such a scenario, hard drive failure is not due to external damage.

SSD or Hard Drive Is Failing

Signs of Hard Drive or SSD Failure

How about the moment when you switch on your PC, and nothing happens? You might be scared and worried! The fear that your data is lost is the worst, and you can do nothing is worse. But is your hard drive failing or not? Well, there are some signs of a failing hard drive. Hard Drive Failure is one of the significant causes of a PC breakdown; hence we have listed down the signs that will help you identify a failing hard drive!

Sign 1: Computer Works Slowly, Copy Fails

Your computer may work slowly; data copy takes longer, and copy fails sometimes. These are a few symptoms that could be due to multiple reasons! However, the most common cause is a failing hard drive. Besides, if you notice these symptoms when you work in Windows Safe Mode, it happens due to bad hardware, and you’re near a hard drive failure.

Sign 2: Data Corruption

There are multiple signs of data corruption. If you frequently notice the following symptoms, then your hard drive is failing:

  • Random error messages while saving, accessing, or moving files
  • Scrambled directory/subdirectory names
  • Failure while Accessing files
  • Data corruption amongst your files
  • Missing files or folders

Your data is usually corrupted when it’s allocated some space in your computer’s memory. However, you may have some bad sectors on your PC’s hard drive. But if you have a high number of bad sectors, then it may be a case of hard drive failure. If you don’t know about bad sectors, they are the regions of your hard drive that cannot store data. Windows hide the bad sectors, which is why you cannot notice it until you have any data corruption issues.

Sign 3: Strange Sounds (HDD only)

When you hear any strange or unusual noise from your HDD, you need to pay attention. A frequent sound called Click of Death occurs while you are writing data. Such sounds usually indicate that your computer’s hardware or components like the spindle motor or its bearing fail.

How to Check if your SSD or Hard Drive is Failing

If you are doubtful that your hard drive is failing, you do a simple test and get assured of the same.

1. S.M.A.R.T

wmic test hard drive

It can be done using Hard Drive Diagnostic Test, also known as the S.M.A.R.T test, which works on HDD and SSDs.

wmic diskdrive get status
  • Press the Enter button to execute the command. If you get a status as OK, you need not worry as your Windows has passed the Hard Drive Diagnostic test, and the hard drive is functioning well.
  • If you get a status saying Pred Fail, Windows has detected an error in your Hard Disk. It’s a matter of concern as your hard drive is not functioning well.

You can use the Windows tool “CHKDSK” to fix the error when Windows detects an error. After using the tool, you can implement another S.M.A.R.T test to check your Hard Disk’s functioning. Even after the procedure, if your Hard Disk doesn’t function well, you need to replace it.

2. OEM Software

Samsung Magician Diagnostics

Storage devices such as SSDs can be adequately checked using the OEM software for more accurate results. For example, Samsung offers Magician software to perform Diagnostic Scan (Short, Full, Short Smart, Extended Smart).

What to Do with a Failing Hard Drive?

Dealing with a damaging hard drive might seem challenging; however, it is not as tough as you think. Computer equipment is delicate electrical that can easily malfunction even due to possible minor issues. But what do to in case you notice that your hard drive is failing?

1. Fix Bad Sectors

You can use a command called CHKDSK, which stands for Check Disk. That’s a command used to collect data from the bad sectors, even in case of high disk usage, and after that, you can eliminate them to prevent the PC breakdown. It takes a bit longer but is a more precise scan that requires a reboot also.

  • Press Win + X, and then select Windows Terminal (Admin)
  • Type the following command and press the Enter key to scan your disk and correct file errors and bad sectors
chkdsk /r <volume-name>
  • Where Volume name is C drive or D drive or anything else. It will ask you to confirm, and you can do so by pressing the Y button.

CHKDSK command works on console level. The computer will reboot, seeing the command checking every sector. Ensure you have enough time to run this.

2. Backup Data

The best solution is to just backup your data on a second hard drive and is prepared to replace it. Two drives will not fail simultaneously. However, the case of calamities like fire or a natural disaster is still an exception. Even to avoid this, you can keep both the drives at different physical locations like your office or anywhere else.

If that’s not possible, you can backup your data with Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. But, if you have plenty of data, you should get a subscription plan for additional storage.

3. Recover Data

If you notice that data is missing either before or after formatting your drive, you can use recovery software to get them back. However, this should be done before deep cleaning or formatting the drive.

3. Replace your Drive

While replacing your hard disk drive, if you don’t know how to do that, you can always see a video tutorial amongst the plenty of ones available on YouTube. Also, if your current storage is mildly damaged, you can use cloning software to create exact replica of the drive and copy files as well.

4. Safe Disposal of the Failing Hard Drive

Just format your old hard drive before disposal so that no one else can retrieve data from it. Many software available can deep wipe your drive so no data can be recovered. Besides, instead of discarding your drive-in trash, you can send it to any electronic recycling program to save the environment.

The Conclusion 

A new hard drive that’s a recently manufactured piece still fails, or the one near its end may break due to too much wear and tear. Yet, you can find hard drives everywhere. They are one of the most integral components of a computer without which it can’t work. Be it desktop computers, servers, storage arrays, laptops, gaming consoles, DVR, TVs, or any such equipment.

Besides an increased demand for data storage in today’s era, the need for hard disk drives is growing exponentially. Research suggests that approximately 300 million or more hard drives are sold every year. From this rate, the number of hard drive failures is nearly 2%. It indicates that more than 6 million hard drive failures occur annually. So its important to know if your hard drive or SSD is failing.

Why Is My Hard Drive Not Booting?

If your hard drive is not booting, then it is known as a Boot error. If your hard drive is facing a boot error, it’s because of a malfunctioning hard drive. Its probable cause is corrupted data in your hard drive’s boot part. Also, the issue could be something severe.

Why Is My Hard Drive Beeping?

A hard drive beeps when something is obstructing its platters from spinning. Your drive’s spindle motor tries to spin its platters, and something is obstructing it. Thus, your hard drive generates a beep sound. When your computer’s heads fail to read or write data, it might be the cause. However, only professional help can be helpful to fix the issue and retrieve your lost data.

Why Is There a Foul Smell Coming From the Drive?

When there is an odd smell from your hard drive, then it indicates that your hard drive’s PCB is burnt. It’s a rare issue that one faces. However, such burns cause hard drive failures mainly due to electrical problems.

Why Is My Hard Drive Not Spinning?

If electricity cannot pass through the hard drive’s Printed Control Board (PCB), it can be a probable cause of the issue. Besides, if the circuit board has an electricity malfunction, it also leads to drive failure. Even PCBs water damage and power fluctuations can be another possible reason. A failed PCB can only be repaired/replaced by a technician.

In such a scenario, a computer does not recognize the hard drive. If the motor gets impeded, it is another issue preventing your hard drive’s motor from spinning.

My Hard Drive Is Clicking; What Is the Cause of Such an Issue?

When you hear some clicking noise from your hard drive, it indicates that the heads cannot read/write the data. The heads are elevated on an arm that further swings. When the head doesn’t work, the arm still swings, generating noise. Even failed heads or critically damaged heads can cause such an issue.

If you run a hard drive despite the clicking sound without getting it repaired further, your drive’s health will be affected badly. So, if your hard drives show such symptoms, you need to seek professional help immediately and backup your data before repair. I hope the post was u useful, and you were able to find out if your SSD or Hard Drive is failing.

A passionate gadget freak, professional basketball player, and mountaineer. I have started my internet journey in 2014 and loves to experiment with Windows, Gadgets, Smartphones, and Drones. I am a pets enthusiast and volunteer for an NGO to rescue dogs.

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