Recently our shop has seen more than the average share of hard drive failures. On older machines your pretty much out of luck, there is no warning, and usually by the time it is brought in for diagnosis the hard drive has already crashed. On newer drives there is an early warning system to inform you that your drive is damaged and in eminent danger of failure. This is called S.M.A.R.T., an acronym which stands for Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. It can actually predict hard drive failure long before you know anything is wrong. When a problem is detected it usually notifies the user during boot-up that the hard drive is about to fail and you should back up your files immediately. I am always amazed at the number of people who ignore this warning, or hope that it will correct itself. Unfortunately many of these same people find themselves standing at the counter asking if their wedding photos or business files can be recovered. Fortunately for owners of both old and new hard drives, data recovery is possible. It is however not easy, not cheap, and not guaranteed. And not every shop has the hardware and software necessary for data recovery. Sometimes you only have a small window of opportunity before the drive quits completely, and requires extensive procedures to recover data.
Naturally the best case scenario would be for everyone to backup important files either to an external hard drive, cd/dvd , or a flash drive.
And here are some warning signs that your drive may be starting to fail.
•Frequent freezes: Your mouse freezes and you have to reboot to get control back.
•Missing files: You saved something yesterday and it’s not there today, or your software doesn’t work and tells you it can’t find a file.
•Locks up during bootup: This usually means it’s looking for a file and that sector of the hard drive is bad.
•Loops during bootup: Usually if this happens it is too late, but if it starts after a few tries, get it looked at right away.
And remember the old adage about hard drive failure is not “if” but “when.” Any comments or questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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