How much of your life is on your hard disk? Memories of friends and family, work documents and important data about your financial life can all be stored on this part of your computer. But most users don’t worry about the health of their hard disk as much as they should, and many people don’t even know what it is.
In these cases, the issue only comes to light when it’s too late. That’s why we have put together some essential information for you to know about hard disk health, show you how to check that everything is OK and explain how to recover your hard disk in the event of problems.
What is hard disk health?
First of all, you need to understand what disk health means. A hard disk has a lifespan of between 5 and 10 years on average. However, its mechanical nature and misuse mean that this component is subject to a number of problems. Physical defects, bad blocks, viruses and manufacturing flaws can disrupt your computer’s operation.
But rarely does a hard disk stop working suddenly. In many cases, the part shows signs that its useful life is coming to an end. Therefore, taking care of your disk’s health is an important way to ensure that you won’t be caught off guard by any failures or lose the data that is most important to you.
How do I check the health of my hard disk?
First of all, it’s important to pay attention to the signals your device gives off. A hard disk that makes a lot of noise, for example, may be in bad health. In addition, corrupted files and a slow computer that crashes or restarts on its own could mean a faulty hard disk.
But even before these symptoms appear, you can check the health of your hard disk and prevent it from being too late. That way, you can still back up your data and at least ensure that everything is safe.
To do this, one of the options is to use specialized software that will show you the current situation of your hard drive. Below, we list some of the available ones and explain some of the errors you may find.
Which program can check the health of your hard drive?
With the help of some practical systems, you can assess the health of your hard disk. Some of them are:
Hard disk S.M.A.R.T.
The disks and SSDs themselves come from the factory equipped with a device that monitors errors in these components. This is S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology.
To access the information provided by S.M.A.R.T. on your hard drive, you will need a specialized program, such as Disk Scan, which is free and easy to use.
Crystal Disk Info
Crystal Disk Info is software for Windows that assesses the health of your hard disk. The result appears in a flag on the left-hand side of the screen, which indicates how your hard disk is doing. By clicking on it, you can check the hard disk’s error rate, the count of relocated sectors, the hours of operation and the total amount of information read from and written to the disk, among other data.
CrystalDiskMark is a free tool for checking the health of your hard disk, which runs on Windows. In the program, the user chooses the number of tests they want to run and which drives should be tested. With the results, you can check the speed of your hard drive and analyze whether there are any serious errors that may require the component to be replaced.
Macrorit Disk Scanner
Finally, another option for monitoring disk health is Macrorit Disk Scanner, a free program that scans for bad blocks and read errors. This way, you can check if the disk’s useful life is coming to an end or if there are other problems hindering the component’s operation.
How do I recover the health of my hard disk?
Have you run one of these programs and realized that your disk’s days may be over? First of all, don’t despair. Some users panic and install the first piece of software that comes along. But such an attitude can have more negative than positive effects in the future.
The result may not be as good as you think. Not only does the program fail to repair the disk, but it can also damage a data recovery process on a disk that has stopped working. Here at Bot, we experience this type of problem frequently, so always seek out a specialist.
How quickly does a hard disk start to fail?
Like any mechanical component, the hard disk has a limited time of use, which varies based on the brand, the model and your usage habits. In general, a disk’s lifespan is between 5 and 10 years. A study from Backblaze, updated in 2021, found that 90% of disks last four years or more. While 65% of components last more than six years.
With this information, you can see that after four or five years of use, problems become frequent and the health of the disk is no longer the same. So, during this period, it’s important to intensify the routine of tests and backups.
What are the main errors and failures of a hard disk?
Before a disk “dies” completely, it shows some signs that allow us to identify whether it is good or not. Here are some of the main errors and mistakes:
Reallocated Sectors Count
This error, which can also appear as ID 5, describes hard disk problems when recording, reading or checking data. In these cases, the disk relocates sectors to prevent data from being corrupted or lost. The more sectors that are relocated, the more errors the disk is experiencing and, therefore, its useful life may be coming to an end.
Current Pending Sectors Count
Identified as ID C5, this error indicates the number of bad sectors on the drive being tested. Similarly, the more failed sectors, the greater the chance that your hard disk is about to stop working.
Uncorrectable Sector Count
Finally, one of the most common errors is ID C6, in which there is a failure in the sector count and errors considered uncorrectable. As a result, the sectors are ignored by the disk itself and there are no more data records on that part. This brings the disk closer and closer to being unusable.
Hard disk with many failures and important data, how to recover?
Have you found any of the above errors or realized that your hard drive’s days are over? Once again, don’t panic. It’s normal for the health of the disk to show problems after a few years. When you buy a device like this, you take that risk and you know that its lifespan is limited. Even if we take care to ensure that the disk is not affected by high temperatures, water or falls, there are mechanical and electronic failures that are beyond our control. Or accidents that, unfortunately, we can’t avoid.
So your hard disk may need to be replaced, but the important thing is to save your files. If your hard disk has stopped working, your data is corrupted and you can no longer access what you need, there is still a solution.
There is software and companies specializing in data recovery, such as Bot. We have over ten years’ experience and have solved 100,000 cases to the complete satisfaction of our customers.