What is a hard drive failure

hardware Repair hard drive - you can do that


Hard drive failure can cause immense damage. But you can take precautions and, if you have any doubts, make corrections - if you notice. We explain what you can do to prevent errors and what to do if the hard drive fails. However, it is always a good idea to make a backup of the data before the hard drive fails. We explain here how to create a backup with Windows.

Different types of errors

First of all, it should be clear what is meant by "hard drive" here. For one thing, of course, that's just that physical disk per se. All sorts of stubborn and sometimes expensive defects can accumulate here. On the other hand, it is also that File system the hard disk, so under Windows mostly NTFS and for mobile data carriers often FAT32 or EXFAT. Of course, these aren't a fixed piece of hardware, but when it comes to unreadable files, they can be just as mean.

Plus, it makes a world of difference whether you have one HDD or one SSD use. Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are the old, large magnetic data carriers, usually with a size of several terabytes. The data is read in a similar way to a record player: A pick-up runs over rotating disks, in other words there are lots of mechanics and moving parts. Solid State Disks (SSD) are flash memories, roughly speaking, huge USB sticks - and consequently no moving parts. Error and repair options are correspondingly different.

The actual detection of errors, on the other hand, is not entirely trivial. In general, you should suspect the hardware and file system if files disappear or the contents of files are faulty, files cannot be read or written, or data carriers are occasionally not recognized by Windows or are simply thrown out of the system. If the Windows system itself hangs regularly, that could also be a sign (but for many other things too). Especially with HDDs there is still an unmistakable sign: Den Click of Death. If the record can no longer be read and it clicks loudly and clearly, the pickup hangs - similar to a pickup on a turntable. Generally speaking, loud, irregular noises are not a good sign. You don't have to worry about a steady and slightly "wobbling" hum. But it is better to interpret defects than to see them come before they occur:

Monitor hard drives

Both HDDs and SSDs have a system called S.M.A.R.T.: Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology. All kinds of status information and data about the state of the hard drive are transmitted via this. A good tool for the Windows desktop is CrystalDiskInfo. The free program shows the temperature, running time, serial number, connection type and lots of details on the state of health via a simple status display.

This is useful in two ways: On the one hand, you can make great use of all of this information, for example in the Support specifically asking for help. On the other hand, you can see at a glance whether any of the installed hard drives is not running perfectly. As soon as here one Warning message appears, you should urgently research the relevant point on the net. The good thing about the system is that S.M.A.R.T. and CrystalDiskInfo don't complain when it's too late. As a rule, you will then still have time to rectify the problem.

Repair file system

The "Checkdisk" tool has always been available under Windows ChkDsk. The tool can correct bad sectors, identify lost clusters, cross-linked files, and directory errors. The last three errors are problems with the file system - and they don't matter. At bad sectors However, it is actually a matter of hardware defects that ChkDsk can "repair": More precisely, the defective sectors are simply marked as "defective" and no longer used in the future. Incidentally, if there are too many defective sectors, S.M.A.R.T. with a warning.

You can use the tool in two ways: graphically and in the terminal. On the desktop, go to Context menu of the suspicious hard drive their properties and start in the "Tools" the "Bug checking". In the dialog box that follows, you specify whether a check should also be carried out for defective sectors - this may take half an hour or more.

Alternatively, you can also use Checkdisk in terminal for example, if you log on to the computer remotely or only have a repair console available. A typical call would be for example "chkdsk c: / f / r"to check drive" C: "for file system errors (/ f) and bad sectors (/ r) and have them repaired if necessary. In addition, some checks can be switched off for NTFS drives in order to reduce processing time. All options see the command "chkdsk /?". However, the whole thing only works with administrator rights: Search via the Start menu the "command prompt"call that Context menu and click on "Run as administrator"to open a terminal with the appropriate rights.

Hard disk drives


At HDDs there is just the special case defective mechanics, which is usually noticeable by creepy noises. In addition to the clicking noise mentioned, this could also be grinding, rattling, very strong vibrations or hitting. Basically anything a thin, moving metal arm and metal disks moving at 7,200 rpm can do.

In this case, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do except yourself professional data rescuers to turn. They won't repair the hard drive either, they just try to save the data. What is needed, among other things, a clean room.

Solid state disks

The special case at SSDs is probably mainly due to the fact that they will eventually wear - but only with very, very early models is this more than just a mind game. Nevertheless: If you really use one of the first SSDs or if you have been almost willfully bothering an SSD with write access for many months, it could be that the hard drive says at some point: "I'm used up."

Fortunately, the remaining runtime of an SSD can be traced fairly precisely. We'll show you in great detail how this works and why they wear out in the first place: Extend SSD lifespan - it works with these tips

What to do in an emergency

When serious errors occur, i.e. S.M.A.R.T. If it issues warnings, the disk makes noises or the Checkdisk aborts with error messages, you should use the hard disk if possible no longer use and they to Data recovery give. But of course that is more of a theory and is only worthwhile for really important data. But that is exactly what you can still do: Try to save the data, i.e. copy it to another data carrier. Because after the first serious mistake, many more often follow. If the error occurs on the system hard drive, you should connect it to another computer and copy data from there - Windows operation itself will otherwise continue to use the potentially defective hard drive and make things even worse.

If nothing works at all with HDDs, they make a lot of noises and shouldn't be sent to the data rescuer, you can also try a little force. As can already be done with the old tube TV a gentle kick certainly lead to a few more minutes of operation. Or at least relieve frustration.