Your hard drive is where everything on your computer is stored. Everything. Your photos, your music, your programs, your operating system, everything. They are not meant to live forever, but unfortunately, too often we turn a deaf ear to their cries for help. Computers are absolutely crucial to most of our every day lives, and for many of us, a full hard-drive failure would be a devastating loss.
The worst part is that it always seems to happen out of nowhere. One day, it seems like your computer is doing just fine, and the next, you get the blue (or black) screen of death. What now?
First of all – back up your data, back up your data, back up your data. We cannot emphasize this enough. Hard drive failure is only one of the many reasons to do this very important step. We discussed this in our last post about ransomware, and it applies here as well. If you are not currently being backed up in at least 3 different locations, this should be at the top of your to do list. If this seems overwhelming to you, we are available to discuss your options. Technology these days makes this process very affordable and painless. We can either help make sure that your current backups are solid, or set you up with our backup solutions.
Now, let’s move into the red flags that your computer could be sending out right this minute that you’re missing. Not all of these are definite signs of hard drive failure, but they are all signs of a problem of some sort that can be fixed before it gets to a code red. A qualified and experienced technician (ahem – such as we have here at Peak Solutions) should be consulted to diagnose your computer individually and reliably and in each of these cases.
Signs that your hard drive may be failing
- Your programs start to malfunction, lock up, lag behind. Your mouse and other parts seem to be running as normal, but the program may kick on, kick off, stutter a bit, and then get moving finally.
- Your computer starts locking up completely to the point where you have to turn it off and turn it back on to get back to work (the oldest tech practice in the book maybe, but not something that should be repeated often).
- A clicking or knocking noise can be heard coming from the computer.
- Receiving a message that your operating system cannot be found. This can sometimes go away on a reboot and your computer may continue on as if nothing has happened, but is still a red flag.
- Folders start to disappear, and data in general seems to just go missing. This is also why we recommend keeping your files organized in a standard format, so that missing folders would be easier to spot before it’s too late.
If any of these signs start up, we highly recommend having your computer looked at by a computer technician. The costs of recovering data, if it can be recovered at all, is far higher than the cost of preventative measures.
Disaster recovery can be very expensive. Many shops and technicians will not charge you for the time if the data is not recoverable. If they do, we recommend getting a second (or third) opinion before continuing. In most cases, an experienced tech can often determine fairly quickly if they will be able to recover data or not. If they cannot, and you do not have backups, the end result is that you have lost your data. Nobody wants that.
However, while it may be great news on one hand if the data is recoverable, it can run a pretty penny depending on the costs and the time involved. A disaster recovery process can run for days, which runs up quite a cost in most cases.
In a preventative scenario, backups are crucial. Additionally, you can take your computer to a technician to have your hard drive duplicated if you suspect that your hard drive may be starting to fail. If it is only giving off warnings and has not failed, the only cost should be for a second hard drive. This should run less than $100 in most cases (estimate at the time of this post), depending on your needs, and maybe an hour of time for the technician to run a duplicate. That duplicated hard drive can replace the failing one painlessly, and you can be on your merry way for far less than the cost of recovering lost data.
A proactive approach is always better than a reactive one, and computers are no exception. We hope this information was helpful to you. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.