Troubleshooting a Mechanical Hard Disk Drive

Mechanical Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) have moving parts and these parts start wearing from the first time when the computer is used and whilst mechanical hard disks can fail from use over time, there are also other reasons for failure.

Failed Hard Drive - Head Crash

Failed Hard Drive – Head Crash

Any knocks or bumps on the desk can make the HDDs heads crash onto the platters and this can cause damage to the head and any data that the head hits. If you think of this as similar to an old gramophone record that receives a bump the needle will jump and possibly skate across the record leaving a scratch in its wake. This is what happens to the heads on a mechanical HDD.

Common Signs a Mechanical Hard Disk Drive is Dying

So, how can we tell if a mechanical hard disk drive is dying? There are several signs that a HDD is on its way out and these are listed below.

  • The very commonly heard clicking sound
  • The computer won’t boot
  • With a new system update, normal applications stop working
  • A new driver is loaded and the system crashes
  • The computer is very slow at booting and very slow at opening programs or getting data from the HDD
  • Messages such as “No OS” or “No boot Disk” or in Apple Macs a manila folder with a question mark appears. These are all ominous signs that the HDD has failed or is failing.
  • With Windows PC’s when booting the Operating System may automatically try and run chkdsk (check disk) as it finds errors on the HDD and needs to correct them.
  • Some programs won’t open as they did or data is missing or won’t open in the desired program – such as a Word document which is all hieroglyphics. Again ominous signs that your HDD is dying.
  • Frequent crashes of the Operating System is another bad sign
  • Folder or file names which appear scrambled
  • Frequent messages on the screen which are usually cryptic in nature when trying to do something
  • Files of programs which are no longer there where you thought they should be
  • Long wait times when reading or writing to files or accessing programs
  • The HDD’s light goes out for long periods or there is no mechanical noise from the HDD.
  • The HDD is a lot noisier than usual – this is different to the clicking sound


Backup Regularly

Pc Repair in Gold Coast

So before the inevitable happens backup your data now yourself and then seek professional help from PCFIXIT Business IT Solutions on the Gold Coast in Burleigh Heads to assist with what happens next. 

In some cases, it may be too late to “image/clone” the HDD or the computer is past it’s “use-by date” (approximately 5-6 years) and a new computer is usually recommended in this instance.

Talk to the team at PCFIXIT Business IT Solutions about your failing mechanical hard drive on 07 5522 1120