Hard disk failures are the most common computer hardware problems. And laptop hard disks fail more often than desktop HDs. If you knock hard or drop your laptop even a few inches while it’s working, you may damage the HD.

hard disk

Symptoms:

  • The laptop starts as usual but when Windows starts to load it goes to blue screen with either “UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME”, “hal.dll is missing or corrupt” or “WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM” (or similar) is missing or corrupt. All these error messages indicate a filesystem problem. Sometimes it can be fixed by just scanning the HD for errors. However in over 50% of the cases these errors indicate that the HD is starting to go bad and is probably developing bad sectors.
  • The laptop starts as usual but Windows freezes on the initial “Windows XP” screen, although the blue bar continues to move, and you can hear feint but continuous clicking. Hard disk have to be replaced.
  • As soon as the laptop is started there are loud clicks or grinding sounds and Windows doesn’t load. Hard disk have to be replaced.
  • Shortly after starting the laptop a message appears (usually on a black screen) “SMART test failed. Backup your data immediately and replace the hard disk” or similar. Well, that says it all. S.M.A.R.T. is a self-test that is build into the hard disk.

Troubleshooting:

The first case from above (corrupted filesystem) is by far the most common. There are several ways of diagnosing and fixing the corrupted/missing files. If this was just a software problem, the hard disk will continue to work properly. However keep in mind that this may also be a signs of deterioration and backup daily!

Also the hard disk will need some preventive maintenance. Check it for errors every few days or at least every week. To do that you must be logged in an admin account, then right-click the “C” drive in “My Computer”, select “Properties”, then “Tools”, then click on the “Check Now” button. Select both boxes and click on “Start”. Windows will tell you that the hard disk cannot be checked now but you can schedule a check for the next restart. Click “OK” and restart the laptop. The check will take from about 30-40 min. to over 2 hours, so do it when you’re not planning to use the laptop for some time.

1. Corrupted files on hard disk

Sometimes, the files becoiskme inaccessible by the user as the operating system fails to boot up properly. The reasons for this could be shutting down the device unethically, closing the running program accidentally, power failure, use of corrupted software etc. All these things could potentially contributed a lot in corrupting the hard disk files.

Solution :– Always shut down the system by following a specific way. Avoid installing suspected software and malicious programs into your hard disk. Clean the hard disk on a regular basis to remove unwanted programs.

 2. Virus threat

Virus attack is one of the major problems that are faced by HDD. This problem occurs when the hard disk is attacked by a virus or malware program. It even spreads to other systems across the network. Your system may get virus from other media, external drives, network etc. If the user takes back-up of files that contain virus, then the system gets re-infected and results in hard disk failure.

Solution :– The best solution for this problem is updating the system on a regular basis with the help of a reliable anti-virus program. It is necessary to update the anti-virus program frequently so that it can detect almost all kinds of viruses and malware programs.

3. Unexpected computer crashes

This may occur when the hard disk has too many bad sectors and blocks. Sometimes, the hard disk may crash as the spindle motor stops rotating. You will notice symptoms like – clicking sounds from HDD, invisible files and folders etc. The heads may not be able to identify the sectors the user is searching for hence, are making contact with the platters. This problem occurs when the hard disk is formatted more than its limit or is too old to operate.

Solution :– To get rid of this problem, users must update their system on a regular basis by using a reliable software program. It is recommended to replace the HDD after 3-4 years of usage to avoid this problem.

4. Computer fails to detect hard disk or BIOS

When the UPS fails to deliver the required power supply or gives very high power supply, the BIOS cannot detect the hard drive. The HDD fails to spin up in such situations. You may even have problem with the mother board.

Solution :– To avoid this problem, make sure that your system is getting adequate power supply. You can troubleshoot this problem by using UPS of a reputed brand. A good course of action is to replace the IDE, ATA, or SCSI cable. You can even switch the drive to another power plug.

5. Manufacturing fault

This kind of problem occurs with a new hard disk when it is delivered to the customer without testing. The hard disk may work well initially, but after a few months, it becomes non-responsive.

Solution :- The solution to this problem is proper testing. Buyers should get the hard disk tested before bringing it home. In case you face any problem after installing it, it should be replaced.

6. Heat and dust

This is one of the hard disk problems that occur frequently. Due to excess usage, the system gets heated to the peak point. Sometimes, lack of ventilation and faulty CPU fan also cause this problem.

Solution :– Make sure that the CPU fans are in proper condition. Check whether the processor is getting sufficient cooling or not. Users can make use of SMART tools that notify them about the condition of the hard disk and risks that the hard disk may face in future.

Most of the aforementioned hard disk problems can be fixed. If the damage is severe, then maybe it’s about time you get a brand new hard disk.