Early Signs of a hard disk failure: What to do when a hard drive fails

Any hard drive, internal or external, may experience failure or sudden crash without any warning but on most occasions, there are warning signs that will let you know when to take action. Changes in performance, intermittent failures, or unexpected blue screens are all major signs that the hard drive may be dying out permanently. The most obvious warning sign with a hard drive is unusual clicking, grinding, or scraping noises.

In practice, the term hard drive crash often refers to both mechanical or electrical failure and logical failure. Electro-mechanical crashes are the worst, it requires professional help of data recovery company such as Data Recovery Doctor as data recovery programs won’t help. Using data recovery programs may even further damage your hard drive geometry and partition and make the condition worse.

If you see any of the following signs while using your computer, you must seek the help of a data recovery professional otherwise you may lose your valuable data for ever. This can be disastrous and irreparable.

Sign 1 – You hear high-pitched whining, loud clicking or grinding noises coming from the drive:

Note that a normally operating hard drive will make a smooth “whirling” sound as is spins up or down. But if a drive has a grinding or clicking noise (the Read/Write heads scraping too close to the magnetic platters), then your hard disk is unwell and you have to rush to a data recovery company.

Sign 2 – You see the infamous “Blue Screen of Death”, repeatedly:

BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) are actually called “Stop” errors and they only appear when your computer is experiencing some severe software or hardware issues. Quite often BSODs can happen due to the fact that Windows is unable to read data from certain areas in your hard drive because data is trapped in bad sectors of your hard drive.

Sign 3 – Your computer becomes very slow and keeps re-booting and does not boot to Windows correctly and displays various troubleshooting options including safe mode:

This means your hard drive has developed multiple bad sectors and does have faulty, inaccessible areas.

Sign 4 – Your system locks up:

Your computer suddenly comes to a halt. Your mouse and keyboard seem to stop responding.

Sign 5 – Error message: “hard drive is not formatted”:

You may be able to restart and get it to boot into Windows a few more times but this error is certainly a sign that your drive is very close to death. And by the way don’t try to format the drive! You will lose all your data!

Sign 6 – Error message: “Boot Disk Failure or Operating System Not Found” or in the case of Apple Mac computers, a “?” mark appears and stays there for ever:

If you have checked the CD/DVD trays, USB ports or the floppy drive in your computer to ensure no disk is left inside or plugged in and you still see these messages, then your hard disk has definitely failed.

What To Do:

  1. First, don’t panic! Just stop using your computer altogether. Turn your machine off. Do not attempt to use different data recovery tools downloaded or purchased from the internet to recover data as this can damage the hard disk and make the data recovery more difficult as they write some information onto your hard drive. Also never open the cover of a failed hard disk drive in an attempt to repair, salvage or recover data. This can lead to an unsuccessful attempt by a data recovery professional. Speak to a data recovery technician by calling 0207 516 1077 for advice and service enquiry.
  2. Use the media shipping form to send us the hard disk or bring the hard disk or the computer to our workshop.
  3. We will assess the damage by examining the hard drive and provide you with a FREE written quote and fault analysis.
  4. When we have your approval, we will repair the hard drive for the purpose of data recovery to keep it alive enough for imaging. Once the hard disk has been successfully imaged, we will begin the data recovery process and create a file listing of the recovered data.
  5. When the data recovery is complete, the data will be verified to ensure its integrity
  6. We invoice you at this stage, you pay us over the phone by card and we will send the recovered data on DVDs, memory sticks or new a USB hard drive and prepare it for delivery or collection.