Facing a breakdown in any electronic device can generate a lot of stress and frustration. But in some situations, these feelings can be even worse, as in the case of a hard disk problem. The disk, as it is also called, is one of the most important components of your computer because it stores your files, images and videos.
So, if you have a problem with yours, as well as having to replace the part at a moment’s notice, you may also have to deal with the irritation of losing your work documents, family photos and other important data.
But there’s no need to panic either. A number of hard disk problems can be detected by a few signs. Below, we’ll show you the most common errors and some tips for resolving them. Check them out!
What is a hard disk?
The hard disk, also known as the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or disk, is a part whose function is to store your computer’s data. This component is made up of movable disks, which store the content, and a movable arm, which reads and records this information.
There are also external disks, which work in much the same way. The difference is that this is, as the name implies, an external part that connects to the computer via a USB port. In general, hard disk technology has been around since 1956, when it was created by IBM, and is today the most popular form of storage in home computers.
Common hard disk problems
The hard disk’s mechanical construction can make it fragile to shocks, falls and sudden temperature variations. In addition, system problems, such as virus infections, can end up shortening the useful life of your equipment. Below, we have put together some common problems that could be signs that it’s time to save your files elsewhere and possibly replace your hard disk.
Have you ever accessed a file and received a notification that it was corrupt? This can be one of the main warnings for computer owners.
If you can’t identify any other reason why the files are corrupted, the answer could be a problem with your hard disk. Especially if the error appears when you try to copy files from one folder to another. To test this, you could save some new files and try to access them. If the problem persists, there’s a good chance it’s a disk error.
These cases are common when there are power surges or when the computer is turned off improperly, so it’s important to pay attention to avoid such situations.
Computer viruses and malware
Another hard disk problem is infection by viruses and malware. In these cases, the system is affected and files can be corrupted. In general, the computer is infected via the internet or by connecting to other equipment that has a virus, such as USB flash drives, other computers or external disks.
Most commonly, viruses attack devices with an outdated operating system or that don’t have an antivirus installed.
Manufacturing faults can also cause disk problems, especially in new drives. If the disk doesn’t respond when you test it for the first time, the chances are high that this is the cause. So the quickest solution is to contact the manufacturer or the store that sold you the disk to replace the model.
Overheating can be another cause of a hard disk problem. If the computer is putting a lot of strain on the system, it is possible that the fans that keep the temperature of the equipment stable may stop working or fail to cool the hard disk.
In these cases, you may also hear a clicking noise, indicating that the disk is locking up due to overheating. To avoid these situations, it’s a good idea to make sure that the CPU fan has been installed properly and that the air vents are not obstructed.
The computer cannot detect the hard disk or BIOS
Another factor that worries many people is when the computer can’t detect the hard disk in the BIOS. In these cases, there is a chance that the problem is not with the disk itself, but with the computer’s power supply.
This is because if the disk is not receiving enough power, it may not be detected. Especially since the hard disk is one of the parts that needs the most load in the computer.
Unexpected computer failures
Is your computer experiencing several problems at the same time? If files and folders start disappearing out of nowhere and the disk makes a noise, the problem may be caused by bad blocks. In other words, damaged disk blocks.
As time goes by, it’s normal for a hard disk to have sectors that stop working. But nowadays, disks have a technology that allows you to transfer the data stored in that part to another area. So you don’t even notice that there’s been a problem.
But as time goes by, the disk starts to accumulate a lot of bad blocks and the “spare” space for your data is no longer enough. In these cases, the disk can become faulty and noisy.
Have you messed with your computer settings and then started having hard disk problems? Human error is also a common cause of disk errors. Sometimes we accidentally change the registry or the location of system files and this can cause irreversible damage. So avoid making changes without having the technical knowledge to do so.
How to fix the hard disk problem?
The good news is that some of this damage can be fixed. Even so, I can’t warn you enough: as soon as you spot any sign of a hard disk problem, back up your most important files. Then move on to our tips below!
Way 1 – Disk Check and Automatic Repair
If your operating system is Windows, you have the option of running a disk check, which automatically repairs the disk depending on the problem. First, close all open programs and go to My Computer.
Then right-click on the hard disk drive you want to check and go to Properties. In the window that appears, you can look for the Tools tab and then go to Error Checking. There, click on “Check” and enter your system password if prompted.
Then also select the Fix option so that the operating system automatically repairs any damage and that’s it, you just have to wait for the process to finish.
Way 2 – Connection between hard disk and mainboard
If the first way doesn’t fix your problem, then we have another option. In this case, you will need to open up your computer or external disk to check that the connection between the disk and the mainboard is working as it should. But beware, only choose this route if you have some previous experience, so as not to damage any parts further.
To begin, open your computer and look for the SATA (red) and IDE (white) cables. Remove both and clean them to remove any dust residue. Preferably use an air compressor to ensure the most effective cleaning. Do the same with the connectors on the motherboard and plug the cables back in. Then turn on your computer and check that it’s back to normal.
Way 3 – Formatting the corrupted hard disk
Another way of trying to solve the hard disk problem is to format it. But in this case, it is essential to back up your equipment, as all the files will be lost.
Next, go to your computer’s Control Panel and look for the System and Security option. Click on Administrative Tools and then Computer Manager. On the page that appears, look for Disk Manager and select the “Format” option. Then just restore the disk from the backup.
Way 4 – Try Disk Utility to repair the disk
If your computer is a Mac, Disk Utility can be another way to repair a hard disk problem. As with Windows, you’ll need to back up your files first so you don’t lose any important data.
To get started, type “disk utility” into the search field on the menu bar. Then select your hard disk and click on “Repair Disk”. Next, select your computer’s operating system and click to restart. This is an automatic solution that solves some problems, so test it to see if the error persists. If it continues, the best option may be to seek technical assistance.
Way 5 – Replacing the PCB on the hard disk
Finally, you can try replacing the hard disk’s printed circuit board (PCB) if this component is damaged. In this case, you will need to find out which PCB is suitable for your disk. To do this, contact the manufacturer. Then check which integrated circuit needs to be replaced, based on the information about the model, serial number, firmware and label number.
Then remove the old integrated circuit and solder the new one in place. But remember that you must have some experience with handling tools on this part or you could completely destroy the data on the disk.
If your hard disk still doesn’t work – or you lose your files in the process – you don’t need to panic. It is possible to replace your drive and get in touch with specialized companies, such as Bot, who can recover your data. Just get in touch and ask for a quote!