6 Significant Causes of Hard Disk Failure

Hard drives are a non-removable magnetic disk that contains an extensive capacity to store data and information! Unfortunately, when your hard drive fails, which is a nightmare, it can give you some severe heartache! What would you do when your hard drive crashes? Run to a store, and if your hard drive is under warranty, then you will replace it. What about stored data— isn’t it a colossal loss? Well, not for the people who had their data and information backed up in time; they can get their data back anytime they want even after the drive crash. But what about those people who don’t have any back-up? Then, are you in trouble? Not exactly!

Today, there are ways you can get your data back—one such way is data recovery software. Also, if you are cautious enough to acknowledge the symptoms, then chances of data loss are very low. You won’t face data loss even if the hard drive crashes, which is exactly the sole purpose here.

Indeed, in a computer system, a hard drive is a major storage device. It makes use of magnetic storage that assists the device in storing and retrieving information through one or multiple fixed rotating disks called platters. It can store almost everything, including operating systems, software programs, system files, and the files created by the users. A few big names that manufacture reliable hard drives are Hitachi, Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba.

Unfortunately, a hard drive comes with a limited lifespan between 3-5 years. It is merely dependent on how much work is carried out by a hard drive on a regular basis. Environmental conditions also play an essential role in determining the lifespan of the hard drive in use.

Hard drive failure can be a heartbreaking situation to face. The hard drive is prone to two types of faults and issues – logical and physical. Hence the prevention is the utmost priority.

Mentioned below are the top 6 common reasons for hard disk failure:

  1. Manufacturer’s Fault

This is one of the primary reasons behind the failure of the hard disk. There may be instances with the failed hard disk where only the manufacturer is to be blamed. This happens because the manufacturer sells the hard disk drive without testing or examining the hard disk drive properly.

The symptoms of a poorly manufactured hard disk drive are:

  • The computer system is not able to recognize or detect the hard disk drive.
  • It fails to boot or hangs during the booting process.


If you ever find yourself stuck in a situation where the hard drive fails to boot or load, the first and foremost thing to do is to contact the vendor or manufacturer. This will be very fruitful if your hard drive is still under the warranty period. And as a solution, your hard disk drive will be replaced by a brand new one.

However, you may suffer the loss of the data that was stored on the hard disk. The data recovery warranty is not given by either of them—neither vendor nor manufacturer. And, if the data on your hard drive is critical to you, then surely you can’t afford the data loss; hence it is always recommended to use a data recovery tool.

  1. Overheating

Never forget that for all the computer systems, heat is terrible! And, if the case is of overheating, then it is merely worse. Various environment conditions can lessen the computer system’s performance or can even damage the system. If the fans of the CPU are faulty, then it would cause improper ventilation, which can result in the overheating of the hard disk—and further failure.

Symptoms of the overheating condition in the hard disk drive:

  • Continuous clicking sounds coming from system hardware.
  • CPU fans move very slowly or do not move at all.
  • The computer system starts getting overheated just after you restarted it.


If you are sure that your system is getting overheated and it could later be a reason for a hard disk failure, you should start providing enough cooling to your computer. Try to ensure that the CPU fans are properly working and if they require maintenance, and then don’t forget to take them for a service. If you are not sure, then you can use the SMART (Self-monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) tool.

  1. Unexpected Power Failures

Today, hard disk failures due to power fluctuation or failure have become common. It might seem so vague, but this could be one big reason for your colossal loss. The main reason behind this unexpected power failure is that you might not be using a UPS device. Or otherwise, the UPS device you are using as the power back-up for your computer system is incapable of providing a sufficient power supply.

Symptoms of Unexpected Power Failure:

  • One common symptom is that your system turns off suddenly without giving any warning.
  • BIOS of the system fails or is unable to detect the hard disk drive.
  • Hard disk drive finds it hard to spin.


To prevent the unexpected power failure, always make sure you use a UPS device that can provide a sufficient power supply to your computer system. Therefore, always ensure you are using the UPS device of a renowned hardware brand.

  1. Mechanical Failure

Any kind of internal issue or error that is caused to your hard disk can potentially lead to a mechanical failure. There are many reasons why your system suffers such kind of failure:

  • If you have any bad sectors or blocks in the hard drive.
  • Immovable hard disk read/write heads.
  • Spindle motor ceases to work.
  • Damaged PCB (Printed Control Board)

There are other reasons, too, such as the rootkits virus that becomes active right after you have started the computer system and infects the functioning of the system at the BIOS level. Also, there are times when you could witness severe mechanical failure that would cause a hard disk to fail.

Symptoms of Mechanical Failure are:

  • Sudden freezing of the computer system all of a sudden.
  • Weird clicking and grinding sound continuously coming out of the hard disk drive.
  • Monitor going all black soon after the booting process and asking for your permission to restart the system.
  • Stored files and folders becoming invisible or inaccessible.


There is only one way out to avoid any kind of mechanical failure: that is by updating your computer system on a regular basis. Also, you will have to make sure that you are using an updated version of antivirus software. And, if you want to save yourself from sudden hard disk failure, then replace your hard drive after every 3-4 years of use and never forget to timely back-up your data.

5) Corrupt/Invalid Data

There are instances when you unknowingly store some files that are corrupted or are invalid; sooner or later, this might become the cause of disk failure. The major reason behind any file/folder corruption is a virus infection. If you are not aware of what a virus is, it is malicious software that can infect the files and make them corrupt. Other factors which are responsible for corruption of the system, such as unexpected system shutdown, can be the usage of outdated/faulty programs, etc.

Symptoms that tell you that you have Corrupt or Invalid data:

  • Having an inaccessible file is the sign of having a corrupt file in your system.
  • The operating system is not able to boot frequently.


Ensure that you never let the files present on your system get corrupted due to any reason. Try to avoid every potential thing causing corruption. And always make use of an updated Antivirus program to avoid all sorts of virus attacks.

Tip: Never download any kind of software programs and files from an unknown or non-trusted source.

6) Human Errors

We humans can sometimes get reckless while handling such technological devices. And when we make such mistakes it is termed human error. Sometimes these human errors can get you into big time trouble with hard disk drive failure. Human errors include the below-mentioned actions:

  • Modification in the settings of the system registry without prior knowledge.
  • Modification in the attribute and location of system files.
  • Installation of the operating system in an incorrect way.
  • Hard disk drive formatting more than the actual limit, etc.

Note: Symptoms of human error are varied and it is very hard to put them all in a box, and hence, it is hard to explain them. However, the most common symptom is when your computer system starts behaving abnormally.

Solution: While handling or operating your computer system, you should always handle it in a careful manner so as to avoid the errors that can lead to system failure. If you are new to the interface, then get the guidance of a professional or an expert. Also, be aware of the fact that you should never format the hard disk more than the maximum limit.