The shelf life of a hard drive is usually no more than five to six years. While they will definitely not become completely useless after five years, they will definitely not have the same level of performance as before. Hard drives usually do not fail at once; they take time over the years, giving you enough scope to make backups of your files and to be mentally prepared to buy another.
There are many causes behind hard drive failure. These failures can be physical or logical in nature. Generally, any electrical device is prone to failure after continuous usage over an extended period of time. However, there are other causes that can lead to hard drive failure, such as:
- Virus and malware attacks
- Failure of inner components
- Overheating, exposure to water, being dropped from a height and other physical factors
- Repeated power surges that lead to short circuit
Services such as Western Digital data recovery can help you sort out your data loss issues in case of drive failures. Read on to know more about the warning signs that indicate your hard drive is failing.
- Odd sounds from the device
When you plug in your hard drive to your computer, if you reputedly hear strange noises like whirring, cracking, screeching and clanking, this may indicate that your drive is failing. Sometimes, the drive goes blank completely at the sound of a prominent click. These noises generally indicate that the components inside the drive are failing- such as spindle motors and bearings.
- Slowdown and blue screens
This is the most common sign that your drive is failing. It may take too long to load, and then take too long to open files and applications. Sometimes, it may just not be detected at all. Blue screens and sudden reboots are commonly associated with drive failures.
- Accumulation of bad sectors
Bad sectors refer to those areas of the drive which do not maintain data integrity. Bad sectors can be scanned to recover lost files, but they are a general indication that your drive has become old and might soon become obsolete.
- Strange error messages
Some other commonly associated problems with drive failure are repeated error messages, even while running simple operations. If the system crashes for no apparent reason and strange errors pop up all the time, it is a clear sign that your drive is corrupted and may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Disappearing files
If you notice that sometimes certain files disappear from the drive, only to be back after a while, your drive probably is nearing the end of its life. Sometimes, the name of files changes on their own too. This signs should not be taken lightly at all, since if this is allowed to continue, you are at risk to lose all your data permanently. If this happens, you should make secure backups for all your data stored in the drive, so that in the event of a drive failure, you still have access to your files.