How To Find And Fix 5 Common Hard Drives Failures


31.10.2011

How To Find And Fix 5 Common Hard Drives Failures

Most of us who have a computer for more than 5 years probably experienced the misfortune of having to handling a hard disk failure. But how can you handle such an issue? Well the solving of this problem generally involves the reason why you had the problem. As a general rule, if your computer disk light still flashes and at the same time the disk is not making any strange noises there is a good possibility for the data on it to be recoverable.

This is the most common failure and there are a few simple to follow steps that would make the disk readable again. Also you will be able afterwards to copy that data to a new disk. On the other hand there could also be some mechanical failures. This can be recognized by the fact that the disk is no longer turning or is making “funny” noises. Don’t get alarmed because even in this case the data on the disk can be recovered. The only difference is that you should take the device to a repair shop and also expect some great expenses.

But let’s take the issues one by one and see the reasons, the solutions and what you need to know about each and every case of hard disk failure. We will begin with the virus problem. There is a chance that the computer is faulty because of a virus. This could infect system files and make the computer to no longer recognize its hard drive. As a general rule there are a few messages that appear: “Non-system disk “or” Disk boot failure.” The solution would be to try and boot from the system CD or DVD bypasses the bad hard disk files. This also allows the user to check the hard drive for damage.

Another thing you need to know about this solution is that sometimes running the computer from CD or DVD also allows the operating system to repair files and so, solving the problem. Always remember that running the computer in this way offers great access to your data and also allows to make a back-up copy. And this happens even in the case of a hard drive problem. Furthermore, even for more serious problems like bad hard drive sectors that are unreadable you can save the data on them.

Moving further away, let’s see what you can do when the hard drives are so badly damaged that you are unable to boot up from external CDs or DVDs. This is the step where installing the drive as a slave drive allows the user to access his data. This method allows you to install the damaged hard drive in either another PC or even in the original computer. After the installation is complete, you should mount it in a spare drive bay. Remember that you are required a new hard drive and operating system.  Also remember that in some cases you are required to change a jumper setting on the damaged drive to make it a slave. After making the plug of the power cord and signal cables wait for the computer to boot from the main drive. Now you should be able to read the previous unreadable files and start making copies of them.

If by now the problem isn’t fixed check the connections. This should be made in the situation where the hard drive seems completely dead and also your operating system appears to not be able to recognize it. It is very common for computers to have multiple connections for more than one hard drive. A good solution is simply changing the existing power and signal cables of the failed drive, and plugging in one of the other connectors. And also this comes very useful when having old aged computers where the cords are damaged by the passing of time.

There are even a few disk utilities that could repair your hard drive. This is a solution for those times when the disk simply doesn’t boot. With these tools you are able to read the hard drive and make the data accessible again. The apps are general created by hard drive manufacturers such as Seagate and Western Digital. In the Seagate case there is such a utility at http://services.seagate.com/diysoftware.aspx. Western Digital manufacturers offer free diagnostic software that could solve your problems at http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?wdc_lang=en.

There is another case that you should take in consideration and this is thermal variation. You should always keep in mind that hard drives are mechanical devices after all, that have bearings and joints. And because there are mechanical parts there is always the possibility of them becoming stuck in older, aged drives. As a general rule for all devices, thermal variations are expanding and contracting metals because of the temperature. Although you will find this a little strange, placing the hard drive in a cold compartment, like a freezer for example could be the solution you are looking for.

If none of the presented above cases match your problem then the simplest and most secure option would be to take your device to a local computer repair shore. This doesn’t 100% guarantee the data will be recovered, but will offer on the other hand a professional look for the problem. In most cases it can be fixed with the right equipment and knowledge.

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