How to Deal with 3 Common Types of Hard Drive Failures

As we all know, hard drive is entirely a repository of data. Once it fails, our data will say goodbye to us as well. This article will introduce the 3 most common kinds of hard drive failures and exhibits the according approaches.

To protect our data, we’re accustomed to making data backups on external hard drives. For example, for Outlook users, they will tend to back up their PST files, which will make the PST recovery much easier in the event of Outlook crashes. However, not only internal hard drive but also external hard drive can fail readily. So as to safeguard both of raw data and backed up data, we ought to learn how to deal with the common hard drive failures.

Hard Drive Failures

1. Hard Drive Cannot Be Detected

The most common hard drive failure which most users frequently come cross is that the hard drive cannot be detected or detected improperly even though it is powered. Actually this kind of failures usually originates from a firmware issue. The firmware may have got corrupted. Or there is something wrong which leads to the incorrect firmware reading.

Solutions: Sometimes, if you’re fortunate, upgrading firmware will be able to fix the issue. But if the drive totally cannot be detected in BIOS, upgrading firmware won’t make effects. Under that circumstance, you have no choice but to replace the hard drive and recover data from updated backups.

2. Hard Drive Keeps Hanging during Operations

The second common hard drive failure is that the hard drive can work but always tends to hang during operation. As usual, the platter is keeping spinning, and you cannot hear any strange noises. It seems that all works normally. However, when put into use, the drive will go on strike. Virtually, this failure can be tracked back to bad sectors on the drive, which will restrict the drive’ capability to read/write data normally. In consequences, the drive hangs.

Solutions: Indeed, you can recover this kind of hard drive failures by yourself. But you have to choose the correct recovery software. In addition, do not readily run the free utility CHKDSK alike to repair the bad sectors. It will overwrite the raw data and destroy the chances of successful data recovery.

3. Hard Drive Makes Grinding Noises

The last common hard drive failure is that the drive can be detected but keeps making strange and grinding noises when working. In terms of the noises, they can occur from two mechanical issues. One is related to the hard drive heads, and the other one is involved with the motor spindle.

  1. From the perspective of hard drive heads:

In this scenario, the heads keeps stuck at the platter and cannot get back to their original location, although the power is off. Thus when the drive tries to read or write data but fails, it will try once and once again, and even attempts recovery by itself. During this process, you will hear the unusual noises.

Solutions: Fixing it will demands very complex operations, such as replacing the hard drive heads and a clean room for repairing, etc. So resort to a professional recovery service. Never attempt the recovery by yourself.

  1. From the perspective of motor spindle:

In this case, the motor spindle may have been corrupted due to an abrupt knock or an accidental drop. Thereby the hard drive cannot work in a normal fashion.

Solutions: Like the issue in hard drive heads, this kind of failure is cumbersome as well. To repair it, you have to replace the motor spindle, or move the platter to another available hard drive. Without a doubt, professional service is required, too.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including sql recovery and outlook repair software products. For more information visit

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