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Sunday, 9 June 2013


How to Check Hard Disk Health? Is your Hard Drive failing

Hard Disk failures these days is as common as headaches and stomachaches courtesy to the increasing size of the storage medium and the complexities that follow. A failing HDD can cause bizarre errors like blue screening (BSOD), odd software behaviors, system hang-ups, freezes, data losses and even at worst stopping the system from booting up!
But there are many ways to diagnose your Hard Disk's health so as to prevent any such catastrophe beforehand. Just follow these simple steps to make sure that everything is OK:

1- Check the HDD

Every version of windows since Windows Vista includes a tool to test and maintain your Hard Disks known as Chkdsk.exe, it helps you de-fragment and locating bad sectors.
Simply click on the Start Menu and type Chkdsk in the "Search Programs and File" bar and press Enter. It will run and search the HDD for any bad sectors and report accordingly.

But in-case you feel that a particular partition on your drive is potentially faulty then you can run a disc check manually on that particular partition. Simply go to 'Computer' in Start Menu and right click on the partition. Switch to the Tools tab and click the “Check Now” button under Error checking. Select “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” to perform a thorough disk check.

2- My HDD is making weird noises!

Sometimes the Computer starts emitting strange sound or rather noises and can even be followed by a shaky cabinet in worst cases. This is an eminent indication that your Hard Disk is about to crash. This can be causes by a mechanical failure, for instance the head is grinding against the disk or the motor is about to go dead and is limping on a damaged/worn out bearing.
I strongly recommend that you shut down your system immediately before any further damage is incurred on the HDD.
Be aware that don't just haste your decision as even the fans make sound so just listen to the sound carefully before taking a step. Also after turning off the computer make sure that the HDD is seated firmly inside the cabinet as they tend to vibrate or shake when spinning at maximum speeds!

3-  Did you data Just Vanish or a Program fails to open repeatedly? 

Many a times you open your computer to find that a file or folder that you;d created yesterday or some days before has vanished in thin air! Ofcourse it can be a human error aswell by your kids or even your own-self but just in case its not then there are eminent chances that your HDD is heading towards a failure.
Another indication is when a program fails to start because its files are missing and its asking you to search it. Make sure the Anti-virus is functional and its not a virus, because if everything is fine then such random indications qualify for a Hard Drive failure

4- Crashed and random Restarts 

If your Computer crashes frequently giving you BSOD or just random restarts especailly at bootups or when you are accessing files in tasks such as watching movies, playing games or simple copy paste tasks then its time to get cautious. Do a fresh OS installation and see if the problem persist, if yes then your drive is about to die out soon.

5- Drive is not being recognized 

If your computer stops recognizing your Hard Drive suddenly and is doing so even after numerous restarts then take it to a friend's PC or a shop to see if its recognized there, as this is an indication of a firmware failure or in worst cases a mechanical failure.

6- Disk Check on Boot Up

If you shut down your PC abruptly due to any random reason then Disk Check will most probably pop up on the next start up or if you've scheduled a defragmentation then also it'll initiate.

But in case you've not done any of these two and it keeps on flashing frequently on boot ups then it is indicating a drive failure.

7- Slow Boot time or Access time

Over time computers tend to go slow but if it takes long waits for the PC to boot or accessing a simple file, folder or image takes 10-15 minutes minimum then you are witnessing a hard drive on its last life.
Take the back up of such a drive as soon as possible

What should you do?

The Hard Drive isn't working at all or is making odd noises, then shut off the entire system and call a professional to take backup of your data or recover the data in worst cases.
If the drive is still running then do the following immediately:
  • Take backup of all important data on to another hard drive
  • Make use of Cloud Storage incase a spare drive is not available
  • Every Hard Disk manufacturer like SeaGate, WD, Dell, Toshiba etc give their own HDD diagnostic tools so as to help you keep its health under check. I personally recommend the SeaGate tool known  as the SeaTools.Its best feature is that it can run on any OS that you are using and is compatible with non-seagate HDD also!! Just download the free tool and burn the iso file to make a bootable CD. Boot your system with the CD in the drive, accept the license agreement and run a long test (the full scan). If any defects are found, a list will be offered at the end or after aborting the disk scan. If there is a error then the code that would be displayed on the screen can be used to claim a warranty from the company if the product is still under warranty. So keep the code noted somewhere.

General tips for safe guarding your data--
  • Take backup of your data weekly or monthly.
  • Use multiple Hard Drives in your system as chances of multiple drive failure at once is next to impossible. 
  • Make use of cloud storage as much as possible for vital files.
  • Keep your anti-virus updated all time.

So that is all that I had to say, if you have any other point to add to this please leave a comment and as always leave your queries below if you have any.

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  1. you don't seem to know much about computers and hard drives, do you?
    all four points you mentioned above are wrong....