Home|Computer Repair|Signs Your Computer Hard Drive is Failing, and if You Need a Replacement (And What to Do)

Signs Your Computer Hard Drive is Failing, and if You Need a Replacement (And What to Do)

One of the most problematic issues you can face with your computer is your hard drive crashing.

Updated: June 28th, 2023

Signs Your Computer Hard Drive is Failing, and if You Need a Replacement (And What to Do)

In general, a hard drive is estimated to last for about five to ten years. It might crash earlier if exposed to factors such as humidity, external shocks, and changing temperatures.

When your hard drive suddenly crashes, it can come in as a shock. Suddenly, all your videos, music, photos, and all other files disappear. So, how to find out whether your computer hard drive is failing? And how can you tell if you need a replacement and what to do in such scenarios?

This quick guide will help you check your computer’s hard drive status. In this guide, we’re discussing traditional HDD (hard disk drives) and aren’t as relevant if you have a SSD (Sold State Drives), however these tips can still be helpful if you have a SSD.


It is not possible to know when exactly will your hard drive give up and fail. However, there are some signs that can help you identify:

Performance falls

One of the earliest symptoms of your hard drive failing is your computer slowing down. This lag happens when you are trying to turn your computer on, open files, perform actions, or save documents.

Your computer will start acting slow in general. Slow down may not always happen due to a hard drive failure – there are other factors that could lead to it.

Additional Reading: Do It Yourself PC Tune-Up Guide

Blue Screen of Death and freezing

Another sign is that your computer often freezes, especially when you are trying to maneuver between different tabs or open up multiple files.

You may also experience what is known as the Blue Screen of Death. These symptoms may mean that there might be issues cropping up with your hard drive.

If these issues persist in your laptop, you can try re-installing Windows in Safe Mode. If this does not work, there may be a pretty big chance that your computer’s hard drive is compromised.

Strange noises

The kind of sounds that a computer makes is known to all who use a computer often.

Nowadays, computers do not make a lot of noise, but some sudden noises should be considered and taken seriously.

Sounds such as beeping and grinding are serious sounds. If you hear your computer making these noises, there is a very big chance that there may be something wrong with your hard drive.

If you continue using your computer in that state, it may shorten its life.

Corrupted files

Another issue that may arise because of a failed hard drive is that you will see several of your files getting corrupted.

If you are unable to load a previous document that you had saved, this may mean that your hard drive is failing.

Software tests

Windows has a built-in system that lets you run a test on your computer to check if your hard drive is failing.

The first software test that you can run is the S.M.A.R.T, which stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology.

This is a test that you can run on your system to estimate the lifespan of your hard drive. If you believe that your hard drive is failing, you can run the S.M.A.R.T test on your system.

This is how you can run the S.M.A.R.T test on your hard drive on Windows:

  1. Go to the taskbar, and on the search box, type cmd and click on Command Prompt from the list.
  2. When the Command Prompt box appears, type wmic diskdrive get status.
  3. You will get the results next. It could either be “OK” or “Pred Fail.” The results in the first line refer to your C: Drive. All other results that you may get are for other drives that you may have connected.
  4. If the result is OK, this means that your hard drive is okay, and you do not need to worry about anything.
  5. If you get Pred Fail as the result, it is a sign you need to take a backup of all the files that you have in your system.

Another test that you can run to check the status of your system’s hard drive is the CHKDSK test.

This is the Check Disk feature. This test checks for corruption, errors, and other bad sectors on your hard drive. With this test, you can find out if there are problems with your hard drive. However, this test will not let you know if you need to replace your hard drive.

Running this test will let you know if there are any faults and problems cropping up in your hard drive and system.

Here is how you can run the CHKDSK test on your computer:

  1. Go to your taskbar. On the search box, type CHKDSK. Or, you can go to File Explorer. Here, you can go to This PC and then right-click on the drive that you want to run a test on.
  2. When you do this, a pop-up menu will appear. In this pop-up, click on Properties. You can find this at the bottom of this screen.
  3. After you click on Properties, go to the Tools tab at the top.
  4. Now, you can see an area that is Error Checking. Here, you can click on the Check option. Windows will then run its test and check the condition of your computer’s hard drive. It will take a little while for this test to complete. You can run this test when you do not need to use your computer.

These tests may not tell you whether your hard drive is completely failing or degrading. However, it can give you a comprehensive look at the state your hard drive is in.

With these tests, you may also be able to comprehend when you should replace your hard drive.

At-home solutions

If you are worried about your hard drive failing, you can follow several at-home solutions that can help you when your hard drive actually crashes. These are some simple steps that may help you save your data.

Back up all your data

This is a solution that goes without saying. All of your photos, videos, music, important files, and other documents are stored on the hard disk, so these can get lost when your hard drive fails.

So, the first thing you should do is make a backup of all the data in your drive. It is good if you already have a backup option since that automatically backs up all your documents. But if you do not, it is recommended that you turn it on.

You can also make use of Cloud storage services to back up all your data.

Here are the types of backup that you can go for:

  • File Backup

File Backup lets you make copies of your files, both individual and groups. The files that you can back up here are all of your important documents. You can get a portable hard drive and copy all your important files to it.

You can also get USB flash drives where you can store all your files. These also come in at cheap rates, and so, they are a good investment option for your files.

  • System Backup

Another backup option that is available is known as the system backup.

This is a slightly complicated way of backing up the files. This is a system that requires you to backup the entire operating system that you have on your PC. Apart from that, this also takes a backup of all programs and files.

You can follow this option if your hard disk is not working properly or if it stops working completely. There is also a type of backup software that is known as incremental backup.

This is a type that takes a backup of only the data that has changed since the last backup. This is a great feature as it saves a lot of storage space and time.

Replace your drive

Another quick solution in case your hard drive is failing is to replace the SSD or HDD.

Delete unused programs

Keeping programs that you do not use takes away your drive’s storage space. But that is not all! It can also lead to data corruption and issues in your hard drive.

Do not run your drives near capacity or at capacity

When your drive is completely full, it runs slowly. It also cannot reallocate data. If you are going through a low storage space in your hard drive, you can transfer your unused data to an external device, like a portable hard drive. You can also upgrade your drive. If you have space in your system, you can upgrade to two or more drives.

If all else fails

We hope this quick guide helped you understand the issues that your hard drive may be facing. It is a good idea to understand the signs and symptoms of your failing hard drive and take the necessary actions before it is too late.

The biggest concern in such a case is losing all of your precious and valuable data. If you are worried that your hard drive is failing you and want some professional help, there is an easy way. You can reach out to us for the best solutions and professional expertise.