Common Signs of a Damaged Computer Hard Drive

Aug 4, 2021

Information and data form the basis for all of our computing devices, including both desktop and laptop computers, and the hard drive is one of the single most important components for maintaining data. Hard drives both store and protect your data, but this ability can be compromised if the hard drive is damaged – how can you tell if this has happened on your computer, and what can be done about it?

At FixIT Mobile, we’re happy to offer a wide range of computer repair services in addition to our phone repair and other device repair solutions. We handle a variety of concerns, from screen cracks or water damage up to viruses, battery issues and more – and we’ve assisted many clients with assessing their hard drive for damage and offering solutions if such damage is present. What are the risks of utilizing a damaged hard drive, and what are some of the most common signs you might be dealing with one in your machine? Here’s a primer.

Damaged Hard Drive Basics and Risks

Hard drive damage is a form of hardware damage, meaning it affects actual, physical hardware that you can see within your device. Unlike software damage, which is internal and tougher to find in many cases, the signs are often visible – and we’ll go over them here.

Before we do so, we want to advise you on the significant risks of working with a damaged hard drive. For one, especially if your data isn’t already backed up, you run the major risk of data loss without the potential for recovery. For another, numerous specific components of the machine may not work correctly, from simple programs to important features like your antivirus protection and others. If the symptoms of hard drive damage we’re about to go over are present for your machine, it’s important to have it evaluated by a computer repair specialist right away to diagnose the damage and offer repair solutions.

Our next several sections will dig into some of the most common indicators you’ll see that might be telling you there’s damage to your hard drive.

Freezing and Processing Issues

The hard drive is involved in the carrying out of numerous basic processes for the computer, and some of these may begin to fail if it’s damaged. While computers may freeze for reasons outside hard drive damage, pay specific attention to the frequency of freezes – if this has begun to increase recently without another explanation, it could be due to hard drive damage. In addition, the intensity of these freezes may increase with time – there may even be incidents where the machine won’t start at all.

In other cases, the computer may not fully freeze, but will have significant issues with processing speed. The hard drive plays a major role in distributing data throughout the computer and allowing tasks to be performed, but damage to it may lead to a longer wait time as files are accessed. This, in turn, will slow down your processing and may even make the computer impossible to use after enough buildup.

Maybe the worst of these issues, and one of the single most damaging potential results of a damaged hard drive, is what’s known as the blue screen. This screen halts all processes and shows nothing but blue on the monitor, and is also called the “screen of death” by many computer enthusiasts. It only takes place for highly vulnerable machines, and will require significant repairs for damage in some cases – or perhaps even a new hard drive in others.

Sector Generation Issues

Sectors refer to a location in a hard drive, and “bad” sectors are areas where data can’t be stored due to risks of data integrity. One common creator of bad sectors is hard drive damage, and this is one area where professional assistance will be needed – finding bad sectors can be tough, as your operating system may hide many of them.

Data Corruption

One of the most common signs of a damaged hard drive, and also one of the simplest to identify for many computer users, is data corruption. The computer itself will interpret the damage to the hard drive as a threat, and it will respond by deleting data – often in permanent ways where it cannot be recovered. If there’s no other direct explanation for your data corruption, hard drive damage should be one of the first areas checked.

Boot Errors

The operating system is in a partition of your hard drive, meaning damage to the drive may also lead to errors during boot-up. Damage may cause the system to pull data from secondary drive rather than the primary drive, a process that takes longer and may lead to unpredictable restarts or other boot issues.

File Problems

In cases where the hard drive has been damaged for a significant period of time without repair, such as when the damage isn’t initially noticed, one common issue is file deletion. This is because malicious corruption formats may spread to various files over time. In other cases, you will notice it taking forever to load or access files – this is because of “worms” that may enter hard drives when they’re damaged, slowing them down and interfering with the way they process information.

Sounds and Warnings

Finally, some of the most direct indicators of hard drive damage are these. You may hear strange, uneven sounds coming from the hard drive itself as it operates; you also may receive warnings from your machine’s SMART analyzer, which looks at risks of drive damage and offers possible solutions – however, these analyzers are not perfect and will not always be tripped after damage, so you need to have an eye out yourself.

If you notice any of these issues that can’t be explained in other ways, or to learn about any of our device repair services, speak to the staff at FixIT Mobile today.