Early Signs of HDD Failure Everyone Should Know

You can always be ahead of any situation if you have prior knowledge and plan accordingly. So, if you know your hard drive is going to fail you can plan accordingly. But how do I figure that out? Read this article to find out.

As we have evolved, so have our needs. With the increasing quality of our data like the quality of pictures and videos the space required to store this data also keeps on increasing.

It is stated in IDC’s 2023-2027 forecast report that around 59% of the world’s data is stored on hard disk drives. This is a clear testament to how much trust we put in HDD. But like any other storage device, hard drives can also experience failures.

So, in order to protect our data, we must look out for the signs of a failing hard drive and take appropriate actions. Let us take a look at what these symptoms are.

Symptoms of Impending Hard Disk Failure

If you observe any of these following symptoms your hard drive is at risk of failure.

Physical Signs

There may be some physical sins that may indicate that your drive may fail soon. These signs include.

  • Visible signs like dents and scratches on the drive.
  • If you hear a clicking or screeching noise when in use.
  • Overheating of the drive.
  • Strange odor like that of burnt plastic.

Performance Decline

Deteriorating performance is another sign of a failing hard drive you should look out for. These may include.

  • Slower boot time.
  • Delayed time in opening the application
  • Sudden and unexpected system freezes or crashes.
  • Appearing and disappearing disks and problems with disk recognition.

Compromised Data Integrity

You may also encounter problems with data integrity. This includes.

  • Disappearing, inaccessible, or corrupted files or folders.
  • Odd file names or extensions. For example- if file.txt becomes file.######## indicates issues with the hard disk.

SMART errors

Hard disks have their own monitoring system called Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology or SMART for short so if you observe any errors related to SMART, it is a clear indication of declining disk health. You can also manually check the health of the drive. Just follow the steps.

  • Press Windows + R. Type powershell and press Shift + Ctrl + Enter to run Powershell as administrator.
  • Enter the command Get-PhysicalDisk | Select-Object DeviceID, MediaType, OperationalStatus, HealthStatus

Now, you know what the early signs of hard drive failure are, but what to do if you observe any of these symptoms?

Steps to take Befoe Hard Drive Fails

If you observe any of the early signs of hard drive failure, consider doing this.

Note: In case, the drive has severe physical damage read write operations can also aggravate the problem and cause data loss. In such a case, take drive images which makes a copy of the drive as an image that can be mounted as a virtual drive and data can be restored from it. It is also less intensive than copying every file and folder on the drive.

  • Replace the Hard Drive– Using a faulty drive can affect other components in the system too. Hence, replace the drive.
  • Contact service centers– Take the hard drive to a service center for a better understanding of the extent of damage and whether it can be repaired.


In this article, we have provided you with the early signs of a hard drive failure along with the steps you should take in case you do observe these symptoms.

We hope this article will help you. In case you found the article helpful, share the article