One of the most horrifying  situation for any computer user is hard drive disk (HDD) failure. At best, it is the loss of an important presentation for work or school, but at its worst it may be the disappearance of every wedding photo or memorable family photos. Sometimes you can recover them yourselves, at times you may have to pay a lot of money to get it back, or sometimes it is gone forever. Despite this, users continue to be unaware of the importance of backing the hard drive.

Remember every hard drive fails one day !

Hard drive RIP

What is a hard drive and why does it fail?

In simple speak a hard drive is a data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information using one or more fixed rapidly rotating disks coated with magnetic material on which the data is written. A pair of magnetic heads on moving arms read and writes the data on the disk surfaces.

Hard drive failures is a common problem and occurs when the hard drive fails to function properly and the stored information can no longer be accessed. There are a number of reasons for this but there are four basic types;

  1. Mechanical failure, when the component parts become faulty.
  2. Software failure or damage from computer virus attacks, causing it to become unreadable, or unable to integrate with the computer function.
  3. Hard disk controller board problems resulting in electronic failure.
  4. Corruption of the data on the disk.

Causes of Hard drive damage

There are multiple causes of hard drive damage ranging from simple physical damage due to jarring, bumps or dropping your computer.  Another is overheating due to inadequate cooling and ventilation, or over working with little cooling down period. Electrical surges or power failures can result in data loss/corruption or complete computer crash and water damage due to spills cause unnecessary electrical currents. User errors e.g.; improper closure of programs especially before turning off your computer, installation of new incompatible software, tampering with system files, accidental file deletion, improper installation or removal of files.

Signs of Hard drive failure

Recognising that your hard drive is on its way out is best done early to prevent loss of data. There are definitive signs that can tell you when this happens;

  • Irregular but frequent freezing and crashes, especially while booting up Windows®
  • Cryptic error messages often while performing typical activities like moving or accessing files
  • Mysterious folder and file names that have been changed, or appear
  • Disappearing files and folders
  • Long waiting times to access of load folders and files
  • In requesting to open a file or folder the hard disk is silent for a long period
  • Garbled output from open files or printing
  • Noisy hard drive i.e. grinding or clicking

How to Back up your hard drive

What is shocking is that in most cases of hard drive failures —everyone—admits that they knew they should have been backing up but failed to do so (excluding those who have never heard of the word ‘hard drive’). It was a case of “I’ll do it tomorrow”, except of course they weren’t.

So if after reading the above you have now firmly decided to back up all of your data today (or tomorrow!) then you can choose one of the following two choices.

You can:

  • Back up to a CD, DVD or a memory stick can be done quite cheaply and easily if you are a light user. The disadvantage of these is that there is a possibility of misplacing them. CDs and DVDs can be more easily damaged and there is little protection from fire, flood or theft.
  • Back up to an external drive. External drive is a good method to back of larger amounts of data.  Prices of hard drive have come down quite considerable in the last few years which have made it much more cost effective to purchase. However, even with this there is still little protection from fire, flood or theft.
  • Back up to the internet with a program like drop box or other cloud based services. This is a preferred method and ensures that your data is kept safe even if your house catches fire or gets burgled.

If you are still unsure how you can back up your hard drive, or feel that it may be failing then you can call us or visit in-store for a FREE PC Heath Check and advice.