Top 10 Causes of Hard Drive Failure (and their solutions)

The hard drive is the most crucial part of a computer system which contains all our important data. It has our important business report, data files, photos, videos and many important things that we can’t afford to lose. Computer’s hard disk is bound to get corrupted due to several reasons: bad power supply, accidental power cut, virus attack, damaged blocks, loose wires, sectors, faulty software and corrupted operating system files.

So, it’s important to create regular backup of hard-drive because if any other component of computer such as RAM, CD/DVD Drive, RAM, Monitor, Keyboard, etc. stops working, you can replace them anytime but if your hard-disk gets corrupted due to any reason, you’ll lose all your important data which was available on your hard drive.

But, does anyone keep regular backups of full hard-drive? Usually, hard-drive size ranges from hundreds of GBs to several TBs which makes it very time & resources consuming (if not impossible) to create regular backups. So usually, users create backups of very few most important files in their external hard disks, flash drives or online cloud storage.

Though creating backups of most essential files is important but there are several other files in hard drive which are important to us. So, by understanding both the problem and the situation with the hard drive, here I am listing down the top 10  causes of hard drive failures with solutions on how to fix them and perform data recovery if you’ve lost any of your important data from hard-disk.

Top 10 Causes of Hard Drive Failure

Knowing main causes of hard-drive failures is important because it will help you to prevent future hard drive failure. And, if you’re already at the stage when your hard drive has crashed or data inside the hard disk has already got corrupted then going through these points will let you identify the cause properly and find out the solution to help you repair your hard drive and recover any lost data. So, read these points carefully.

1. Power Issues

Power issues are one of the most common issues behind hard drive failure. If your PC is not connected to a consistent power source and the voltage of power source fluctuates very frequently then even if your PC doesn’t turn OFF instantly, it’s hardware components get affected which include the hard drive too. The hard drive might miss some data or write corrupted entries which can lead to data corruption.

2. Firmware Corruption

Firmware is the permanent software programmed in a read-only memory which interacts with hardware directly. You can simply call it software for hardware that provides control, monitoring, and data manipulation to hardware components. If there are minor errors in firmware which somehow allows the system to work and do most of its task properly, but can’t properly interact with the hard drive, it will lead to data corruption, data loss, and even hard-drive failure.

3. Water Damage

Your computer, laptop or hard-drive is not water resistant. All of them are electronic components which can crash when water reaches inside them. While the system is ON or even if it is OFF, if water accidentally reaches inside the hard-drive, it will be crashed.

4. Human Error

With lots of software & scripts, we can do a lot of things on our computer and computer won’t stop us, even if you do something which can make it self-destructive. So, we always need to limit ourselves to do only those things which we know what we are doing. But, human errors happen either accidentally or intentionally which can lead the system or its hardware components work improperly. If the error is related to hard-drive then based on the severity of the error, it can either corrupt the data inside hard-drive or fully crash the hard drive and make it unusable.

5. Virus or Faulty Software

A software is capable to corrupt the system or data going inside hard-drive but they are not designed to do that. So, when software work normally, they won’t create any problem but if due to some update, an unexpected closing of the program, incompatibility with software or hardware, if any issue comes in software or it’s working then it can corrupt the hard drive and/or crash it.

If your system is infected with viruses or you’ve installed any malicious software they might corrupt your hard-drive data, lock it or crash hard-drive then if you are not quick to stop them, they will do this.

6. Unallocated Space Issue

Sometimes, due to some flaws in the system or at the boot time, a portion of hard-drive storage space is lost. It becomes unreachable and you don’t know whether those sectors of your hard drive are corrupted & data inside them is permanently lost or it’s still available there. This is another very frequent cause of hard-drive failure. Usually, it only makes a portion of hard-drive inaccessible but in some cases, it can cause the loss of Windows directory files which don’t let the system to work as required as Windows system files are inaccessible.

7. Hardware Issues

Hardware components wear out over time. The hard-drive itself, other PC components, wiring and the dust settled in hardware components can cause hardware generated issues. This can cause issues either directly or those other hardware components to hard-drive making it lose data or crash due to compatibility issues.

8. Mechanical Flaws

While most of the PC hardware are electronic devices, hard-drive is one component which is mechanical. Inside it, there are platters, spindle, and actuator which work in cooperation to insert or read data from the exact sector and it’s desired block. If any mechanical flaw happens to any of these components, it will break the full cooperation and crash the hard-disk.

9. Unforeseen Mishaps

Accidents happen but a true mishap is not as simple as a human error. A mishap is one very unfortunate event which was not foreseen and hence things were not prepared accordingly. This contributes to very rare cases but in all these cases, the hard drive is not protected. Either its data is corrupted or hard disk itself is crashed/broken.

10. Work Environment

A work environment can also be a factor to make the hard drive crash or corrupt its data if it’s such extreme. If you’ve put hard drive at a very hot environment, heating may cause issues in a hard drive. Strong magnetic ways can also corrupt a device’s data, it can distort many or all sectors in a hard drive which will be impossible to use either to read information which was earlier available or write new data to them.

Recover Data from Crashed/Corrupted Hard Drive

If you’ve already lost some of your important data from hard drive owing to any of the reasons above and you’re in a situation where either some portion or full hard drive is crashed, then even if you can’t fix the issue yourself but you can send it for hard drive repair. The hard drive recovery specialists use some very advanced techniques which can recover hard drive data even from hard disk which is totally broken (internally or externally) due to any of the hard drive failure reasons. Try them and you’ll be able to recover such high percentage of data from your worn out hard drive that you never thought possible.

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Robyn Matthews started writing about technology when she was far too young and hasn't stopped. She spends most of his time obsessing over computer software and hardware, and loves talking about herself in third person.