At your business, you rely on computer technology to boost overall productivity and performance. That technology stores all your sensitive information and gives your employees software to help them complete tasks. Without this technology, your business would struggle, so you do everything you can to keep it running smoothly.

However, just like everything else in life, computers wear out, and their parts can wear out at different times. It may not matter when certain parts, like the speakers, wear out, but if your computers’ hard drives break, the entire computer won’t work. You’ll lose any information stored on that device, and the employee who uses it will lose productivity, leading to a waste of time and money for your company.

You don’t want this to happen to you. Luckily, you can catch hard drive failure before it happens by watching for the warning signs below.

Reasons Hard Drives Fail

Hard drives wear out or short for a number of reasons. Most of the time, they fail because parts around them have failed. Your computer’s fan could have broken, which means the hard drive overheats, shorts, and then warps. Its motor may also burn out, or its bearings may get stuck. As long as the metal platters don’t warp or sustain scratches, you can save the drive.

Your hard drive may also fail because someone handles it roughly and scratches it. Once scratches appear, you probably can’t save the drive.

You can also blame software failures. Call your IT experts in to resolve this problem.

Warning Signs of Hard Drive Failure

If you handle your hard drive properly, you should avoid the situations above. However, hard drives can also wear out with age, so you still need to know how to recognize signs of drive failure. Watch for the signs below so you can back up your data and replace the drive before it causes any downtime.

1. Unusual Noises

Users usually notice these signs before they notice any others. Unfortunately, noises usually indicate that you have no hope of saving your drive. Common noises include:

  • Clicking: Also known as the click of death, this repetitive sound occurs when your hard drive’s head tries to write data and fails, then recovers from the error over and over.
  • Grinding and screeching: This sound happens when your hard drive’s motor or ball bearings have started to fail. They may have simply come loose, or they may have broken completely. Again, as long as they haven’t scratched the platters, you can save the hard drive.
  • Grinding and rattling: This may also sound like vibrations. It simply means that your hard drive has come loose inside the computer. You can save the drive at this point.

An IT expert should check out any of these strange noises as soon as possible.

2. The Blue Screen of Death and the Black Screen of Scanning

Two screen types could indicate hard drive failure. The blue screen that gives you a fatal warning error, also known as the blue screen of death, gives you one type of warning. This warning usually occurs at startup or after you ask the computer to perform a particular task.

The black screen of scanning should only occur when you tell it too. This scanning program checks your hard disk for errors after you give it a command or after your computer crashes. If it pops up every time you turn your computer on, then your hard drive definitely has a problem.

3. Slow Processing Speeds

When your computer begins to slow down, this means that it has difficulty accessing data off your hard drive. It will start up slowly, and it will continue to perform slowly once it turns on. It will take more than a few seconds or minutes to launch a program.

4. Bad Data

On a failing hard drive, data can turn “bad” in two ways. It can corrupt, which means that the data didn’t save correctly. The computer wrote it wrong, so its software can no longer operate it. The hard drive may even corrupt the data so much that it no longer appears as a saved file. You’ll see files and programs disappear.

Bad data can also occur in clusters. You can repair some of these clusters if they only occur in software. However, when they occur in hardware, this means that the drive’s physical surface has broken, even if it only has minute breaks.

5. Your Computer Won’t Recognize Your Drive

You’ll have to test the drive in multiple computers before you’ll know the problem lies with the drive, not the computer. This usually indicates a hard drive software failure, but it could indicate a hardware problem as well.

Ways to Fix This Problem

In some cases, as long as the hard drive doesn’t sustain damage, repairs can save it. However, in most cases, you’ll have to completely replace it. Back up any data on it if you can, then call your IT experts for more information.