Major Hard Disk Problems and Their Solutions

Hard disk is one of the core components of any computers and it can contain huge amount of data. The files are stored in such a way that they can be acquired at any time. Unfortunately, there are times when the hard disk is corrupted or a possible hard disk failure occurred and you would stand a very high chance of losing all your precious data. Continue reading to find out more about the major hard disk problems and their respective solutions.

hard disk problems and solutions
Image credit: Jorge Ferrer, Flickr

Hard disk problems are often neglected

Most of us don’t think about the security of hard disk unless something goes wrong. But this moment is acute, especially if we are talking about b2b security. We assume instantly that the hard disk has crashed when we see nothing but a blank screen on the monitor. When the stored information cannot be accessed easily, we can say that a hard disk problem has occurred.

Reasons of hard disk failure

There are a number of reasons of hard disk failure. Some of the reasons are virus attack, poor power supply, corrupted operating system, damaged block etc. The hard disks may fail due to worn out parts. The most common reason of HDD failure is head crash, where the read-write head of the device touches the platter and scratches the data storage surface. A head crash may result in data loss and one should recover the data with proper equipment.

Air filter problem is another cause of HDD failure. If the air filter fails to filter the dust particles from atmosphere, they get settled on the platter causing the head to crash.

Symptoms of hard disk failure

Hard disk failure can occur either gradually or catastrophically. It is difficult to diagnose gradual HDD failure, as its symptoms such as slowing down of PC, corrupted files etc. may be caused by other issues like malware or viruses. The increasing number of bad sectors may result in hard disk corruption. The HDD adds the bad sectors gradually to its defect table and eventually stops working. HDD may fail in a number of ways, which can be limited, progressive, total or immediate. In most of the cases, the data can be partially or totally recovered. In severe cases, the data may get completely destroyed.

Here is a list of possible hard disk problems and their solutions that everyone should know :–

1. Corrupted files on hard disk

Sometimes, the files become 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.

Read also: How to Retrieve Deleted Files from Hard Drive

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.

Read also: Tips to Maintain Your Hard Disk and Prevent Sudden Crashes on Windows

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.

Read also: HDD Not Showing Up in Disk Management, Why and How to Fix

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 faced more problems after installing the hard disk and all the solutions didn’t seem to work, 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 with the suggested solutions. However, if the damage is severe, then maybe it’s about time you get a brand new hard disk.


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