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Seven More Early Warning Signs of a Hard Drive Crash

Here are another seven signs of eminent hard drive failure. If your hard drive is having any of these seven symptoms then you must take immediate action to backup your files…

“Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?” ~ Unknown

While doing regular backups is very important, sometimes people believe that backups are some kind of magic bullet so they let themselves get over confident and let bad hardware issues get out of control.

By paying attention and seeing if your machine is experiencing any of these seven signs of eminent hard drive failure, you may be able to save yourself hours of wasted time and an expensive repair bill.

Sign 8 - Disappearing files and folders. As a drive goes bad it will often display subtle indications of trouble. One of the most overlooked are “vanishing” files or folders. If you notice that you can never find your files anymore or that folders you “know” were there are now gone, then your hard drive maybe slip sliding away.

Sign 9 - Folder and file names that have been scrambled and changed. A related issue is that you can find the folder or file you want…or at least you think you have. The filename is messed up but when you open it, it’s the letter you were looking for. But you have a set way of labeling your files it is way wrong. A sign of things going badly quickly.

Sign 10 - You experience really loooong waits to access folders and files
Another related issue. You can find the file fine but you notice that over the last little bit, it’s been taking practically forever to open folders or files. Once you click on a file, you can get up, grab a coffee, and read the front page of daily paper before it opens up. Just joking, but accessing files are noticeably slower.

Sign 11 - The System locks-up during boot up, repeatedly
Okay, even the best of machines, even brand-new-outta-the-box ones will misbehave by locking up occasionally. Occasionally… If you start have lockups every other time you boot up your machine, the drive can be having lots of read/write errors that overwhelm it. Time to go shopping.

Sign 12 - ScanDisk or a third-party utility shows bad sectors
Windows’ drive diagnostic tool Scandisk if one of my faves. By running it and setting it to “automatically fix” errors, you can see if your drive has physical bad “spots” or sectors on the disk platters. You can also use a third-party program. All the major hard drive manufacturers have free utilities on their websites.

Sign 13 - Error message: Disk can’t find the Windows Master File Table (MFT) or Master Boot Record (MBR)
You may have a bit of luck with this one. The good news, a virus or piece of spyware has taken over your drive and rewritten or “hidden” the MFT (on Windows 2000 and later) or MBR (Windows 98/Me and earlier). You may be to repair this with some technical help. The bad news, is that the MFT/MBR files rarely get corrupted or become infected, so this is almost a sign of drive gone bad.

Sign 14 - The drive is running hot. This one sign you probably will never notice since, it requires that the case be removed from your computer. Instead of sign this should actually be classified as a more of a test. If you notice any of the other problems mentioned above, then you can pop your PC case and lay your hand on top of hard drive while in operation. It should be warm but not hot to the touch. A hot device is positive physical sign of early failure.

Your PC is having any of the above issues then you must backup your files, as completely as possible as soon as you can. Even with these danger signs, hard drives have been known to fail without warning, so backup frequently.