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How to Tell Your Hard Drive is About to Fail

How to Tell Your Hard Drive is About to Fail

June 2, 2023

Digital storage is one part of computing that has seen astronomical growth over the past several decades, and with the solid state drive (SSD) more affordable than ever, you have to wonder how well your old hard disk drive (HDD) is holding up. Despite the cost difference between the two, the HDD is a viable option, albeit a mechanical one that is prone to breakdown over time.

So, today we want to address whether or not you can tell if an HDD is about to break down. The truth is that, yes, you can predict a faltering HDD, and we’ll go over some of the warning signs today.

On average, an HDD lasts about four-to-eight years with a normal amount of use. If you use a hard drive more than your average user, then it could fail sooner. For some more statistics, only about five percent of hard drives fail within the first year, but after three years, that number jumps to about 12 percent. If you’ve been using your hard drive for about eight years, you’re a coin flip away from complete and total failure.

Common Challenges with HDDs

Over time, your hard disk drive will have written and overwritten countless bytes of data. Something moving so fast and so often is bound to fail at some point. Some of the signs you should look out for include unusual noises like grinding or clicking coming from inside the computer. There is also a slowdown, which will grow more prominent as time goes on.

There is also, of course, the sudden crash or recurring corruption of files. The “blue screen of death,” as it’s commonly referred to in the technology user’s world, is a possible giveaway that you’re fighting a losing battle with your HDD, and it’s past time to maintain or outright replace it with newer, more resilient technology.

Should You Switch to an SSD?

If you would like to upgrade away from your HDD, then an SSD is an excellent alternative. Not only are they faster, but they don’t have any moving parts—data is stored electronically rather than magnetically—meaning that they are less likely to break, and time-to-retrieval for your data is further decreased. Laptops in particular benefit from SSDs as they tend to be moved around much more frequently than your typical desktop.

Let Us Assist Your Transition

If you need help with implementing any new technology, First Column IT is happy to assist. To learn more about what we can do for your business, contact us today at (571) 470-5594.

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