Why Do Hard Drives Fail?

Hard drive failure can occur on any computer, and the results can be devastating. Irreplaceable data is usually lost from a severe failure, depending on how long it takes to notice the warning signs and fix the issue. Hard drives can fail for several reasons. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of hard drive failure.

Disk file recovery can be accomplished in many cases of failure. However, the process should be carried out by trained technicians because the procedure is very exacting. If you believe you are experiencing any of these issues and need to recover valuable information that was on your drive, you will want to choose the best data recovery service available. Our professional data recovery lab can provide a free diagnosis and quote for the recovery of your hard drive.

Tips to Prevent Hard Drive Failures

To prevent physical hard drive failures, it is best to take precautions and know the signs of a failing drive. If you are using any standard rotational disc drive, then the drive can suffer physical damage to the mechanical parts from being dropped or jarred. In these instances, it is common for the read/write heads of the drive to become damaged, resulting in a clicking noise.

In other cases, the drive can become physically damaged, depending on where the drive is stored. If you are using an external drive, you will want to make sure the drive has an airtight enclosure and is stored in a safe place.

Depending on where you live, extreme temperatures can affect hard drives as well. If you are curious about the environmental hazards that can damage your drive, you can read more about it here “Protecting Your Hard Drive From The Elements Of Life”.

A power surge can also cause major harm to your hard drive. Using surge suppression will help prevent hard drive failure from voltage spikes.

Another precaution that is becoming more necessary now with Mac computers is to keep antivirus protection updated to prevent data corruption. In most cases, malware and viruses that can attack your computer will completely wipe your data so that there is no way to recover any of it. My colleague talks about preventing malware and viruses in his blog, “Why You Need Malware Protection For Your Mac”.

Easy Hard Drive Monitoring on Your Mac

Showing the Drive Genius Drive Pulse icon.

With the release of the Drive Genius DrivePulse feature on the Mac, monitoring your drives has gotten a lot easier. Whenever the system is inactive for a period of time, DrivePulse will check your drives for potential problems, making use of the S.M.A.R.T. technology in today’s drives, as well as fragmentation status, temperature, and other items.

While this monitoring will not necessarily alert you exactly when your drive is about to fail (something that isn’t really possible anyway, just like predicting volcanic eruptions or earthquakes: you know it will happen, but can’t be sure when), it gives you some good indicators about the health of the drive and when it might be a good idea for a backup.

If you have a Mac and are looking for a universal drive utility, check out Drive Genius.

Follow these tips and guidelines next and you will be getting the most out of your hard drive and computer’s performance. Proper maintenance of your hard drive and regular backups are very important for keeping your files secure.

Preventing Data Loss Through Hard Drive Maintenance – Internal Cleaning

Heat harms electronic components. One of the biggest causes of heat is dust. You should clean out the dust from your computer every couple of months. How often you do this depends on how much you use it and what the surrounding environment is like.

Dusty environments, such as industrial settings, will require more cleaning. If your workspace is generally clean, then you will not have as much dust build up inside your computer. Heat caused by dust buildup can damage a hard drive and cause the drive to fail, resulting in data loss.

We’ve performed Windows and Mac data recovery on many disks that were damaged from overheating. Maintaining your computer’s hard drive and keeping the internal components clean may save you a trip to the data recovery lab.

Preventing Data Loss Through Hard Drive Maintenance – Disk Cleanup

Proper computer maintenance helps keep your computer running smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, the recovery engineers at most reputable data recovery services will tell you that proper maintenance helps data retrieval success on standard drive and SSD recovery.

Running a disk cleanup routine on your computer removes unnecessary files that take up unnecessary space. I recommend finding a cleanup utility that works best for your computer. If you are using a Mac, the Drive Genius software offers many different utilities to help clean up your computer.

Preventing Data Loss Through Hard Drive Maintenance – Defragmenting

Let’s take a quick look at defragmenting your Mac hard drive. Performing the cleanup first should enhance the defrag routine because it won’t need to deal with the unnecessary files.


When new files are saved to your computer’s hard drive, they are normally saved in one chunk. The computer finds a contiguous space and drops the file in there. However, as the file is edited it may outgrow that space. Instead of moving the entire file, the computer divides it and places the new file pieces elsewhere. In fact, it’s not uncommon for very large files to be separated into numerous locations.

When a file is requested by a program, the computer must find all of the pieces throughout the drive and reassemble them for processing. If the drive is badly fragmented, this increases the seek time and, in turn, the wear and tear on the drive heads.

Defragmenting the drive brings all of the file pieces back into one contiguous location. This can make it easier for the drive to access the files and they will open more quickly.

WARNING: This only applies to standard platter drives. Do not defrag a solid-state drive. Defragmenting can actually harm an SSD. Defragmenting circuit-based media can cause problems in SSD and flash drive recovery.

Take the Steps Today to Protect Your Data

A data protection plan is critical if you make your living with your computer. Take a few minutes right now and develop your own plan. If you have already lost data and are looking for an affordable, professional data recovery service.

Backing up important files is important to both home users and business professionals. There are several options for backing up your hard drive:

Typically, you will only need to backup your most important data that you cannot access anywhere else. It is possible, however, to use disk imaging software, some of which enables installation of the entire system to a new drive. Our sister company, Prosoft Engineering, has a cloning option available in both their Drive Genius and Data Backup software.

Be Prepared for a Data Recovery Emergency

We are prepared for a variety of computer data emergencies at The Data Rescue Center. Our data recovery engineers are proficient in the techniques and technology that ensures the safe retrieval of missing data on virtually any type of storage media.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, our data recovery engineers execute SSD recovery, standard disc drive recovery, and all forms of flash media recovery. Furthermore, unlike many other hard drive data recovery services, we take the safety and security of your data seriously when it is in our care. Our UL-listed Class 2 security vault protects your equipment from theft and fire.

Additionally, we do all of the work in-house, and we never ship your drive to another company or location. Once your drive arrives, it is completely guarded against damage or theft.

If you manage the computers and data recovery plan for your business, we will take some of the stress away. Check out more information regarding choosing the best data recovery service.

Avoiding the Need for Data Recovery When a Hard Drive Fails

There are some main factors that arise in which you may need data recovery services. Data loss through either accidental actions like deleting files or formatting/partitioning drives, failed hardware, and the lack of backups when your drive does fail.

We don’t expect the first main factor to change anytime soon. Let’s face it, we all make mistakes, and emptying the trash can that contained important files is so is easy to do. Also, every hard disk will ultimately die; some sooner, some later, but drive failure is inevitable.

This leaves us with the most important factor, backups. If you have working backups, whatever the reason for your data loss, you can go to your backups and just restore those files you have mistakenly deleted. Or if the whole drive failed, you just get a new one (which will probably cost you less and provide you with a lot more storage space) and write the backup onto the new drive.

If you take these precautions and the necessary steps to maintain your hard drive, your risk of the drive failing is lessened. Beware of the obvious signs of a physical failing drive, such as the drive not booting or if you hear clicking noises coming from the drive. Now that you have the information needed to keep your drive safe and your files secure, you can spread the word to your friends and family about the importance of your hard drive, and causes of failure.

About the Author

Matt T.

My name is Matt and I work alongside the technical support team at Prosoft Engineering to provide friendly customer support for anyone using our software. I am also a customer service representative for their sister company, The Data Rescue Center. I enjoy helping others and strive to inform users on how to keep their files safe and maintain performance for their computer.