A Definitive Guide to Hard Disk Problems and Solutions

No matter what operating system you use on your system— Mac or Windows, the hard disk is the most crucial part of your computer system. Any corruption or malfunctioning in your hard disk can affect the complete functioning of your system and could lead to further logical damages too. It is a little hard to depict whether or not there is a problem with your hard disk because the symptoms are similar of virus/malware attack. Typically, these symptoms are the reason for any file corruption or deterioration of the computer system.

Hard Disk corruption happens when there is an increase in the number of bad sectors, which stack together hampering the functioning of the hard disk. This corruption or failure can be sudden, gradual, complete or partial in nature. However, the recovery is possible in almost all cases. So, there may be instances where you may face such data loss, but don’t worry! We are happy and all aboard to manage any type of issue in your hard disk. Here, we are mentioning the general and common hard drive issues faced by the users.

But, first let’s have a brief snippet of what is a hard disk and how does it function!

What is a hard drive?

The concept of hard drives is as old as computers and was first introduced by IBM in 1956. If the hard drive is an internal drive, then ideally it is supposed to store every type of information available on a system. It is considered as a permanent storage solution, which is completely different from RAM (primary memory). Today, external hard drives, based on flash memory, are extremely extensively used.

Working of a Hard Disk

Since the most commonly used hard disk is a magnetic hard disk, we are considering it as an ideal example to explain how does a hard disk work. Typically, it is a cylindrical unit consisting of different magnetic plates and each plate is divided into numerous sectors and tracks. The minute units in the plates are used to store data in a binary (0 or 1) form. In the middle, a spindle is fixed that rotates the unit. So now, whenever you wish to access or store data, read/write head is moved to the area where data is stored.

Here are some signs that show that there is some problem with the hard disk.

  1. Clicking Soundin the Hard Drive:

Many users have complained about the strange sound that is made by the hard drive’s head. Usually, it occurs because of the inconsistent power supply or physical damage on the hard disk plate.

  1. Access Denied:

So, whenever you are prompted by this message, it means that your system is unable to locate the hard disk or a part of the hard disk. The reason may be a loose connection or a corrupt storage.

  1. Repeated Crashing:

If your computer system is crashing, then it is a big signal of a bad hard drive. Continuous crashing can lead to the disk failure.

  1. Inaccessibility of data

When you are unable to access stored data, and you are prompted by an inaccessible message, it is a recipe for disk failure disaster.

  1. Operating System can’t be loaded

If you get a recovery screen declaring that the system that can’t be loaded while you boot your system, then it is a clear symbol of hard drive malfunction.

  1. Abort, Retry, Fail?

This is another prominent sign of hard disk failure or malfunction. It happens when your system is unable to locate some crucial files. It clearly implies that the system has terminated an operation.

  1. Sector not found

If your hard disk has some bad sectors, you will be getting warning messages displayed on your system. This is one of the major hard drive symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore at any cost.

Top 4 Hard Drive Problems and Solutions

There are various hard drive problems that users can encounter. Here are 7 common problems that your hard drive might suffer from:

1. Hard Drive Not Found

While you turn on your system, there are chances that you might be prompted by a message —“Hard Drive Not Found”. This makes your system stop functioning and it won’t respond to any command. This hard disk problem occurs when any of the internal cables is either damaged or loose. Water spilling or any physical damage can also lead to this problem. In such cases you can:

Solution 1: Reset the Hard Disk

This is one of the easiest ways to fix this malfunction of your hard disk. For this you just simply need to turn off the system and remove its battery or power cord. Also, don’t forget to disconnect all sorts of peripheral devices and then press the power button for 15 seconds. Connect power cord/battery and try to turn on the system without connecting the peripheral devices.

Solution 2: Check for Physical Damage

Well, this can be a little tedious job—you can consider opening up your computer system and check the hard drive for any loose connection. If you find any loose connection, then you are required to take your computer system to a professional, as it may require soldering.

2. Volume is Dirty

This error tells you that either the entire disk or a part of the disk is corrupted. This is often addressed by a hexadecimal code such as – Hard Drive Error 0x80071ac3. This issue can occur to any type of hard disk- internal or external drive. This problem is the result of two actions— unexpected shut down or a bad sector on your hard drive. If the problem is on an external drive then, unsupported file system can also be the reason.

Solution 1: System Check

To sort out such problem, you should carry out an automatic system check. To perform this action, you just need to right click on the icon and go to Properties. Under the Tools tab, click on ‘Error Checking’ section, then select ‘Check’ button. Then after, you are required to follow the instructions and to fix the system error.

Solution 2: Try reconnecting the external device

While using an external drive, USB drive or even an SD card, most users come across such external hard drive. To fix this problem, you need to simply remove the external drive and turn off your system. Then, restart your system, connect the drive and check whether if the problem persists.

3. Booting Process is not allowed

If you didn’t know the fact that your internal drive also stores a firmware and the operating system so, its failure can result in the voting of your system. In this case, you will be getting all kinds of messages that when your system can’t boot. The problem occurs when essential files are missing or there is a change in the BIOS settings. Sometimes, the partition where the operating system is installed gets damaged and results in this computer problem.

Solution 1: Restore default BIOS settings

If the issue is with the BIOS settings of your system, then it is fixable. Turn your computer system on and keep pressing the BIOS key— any of F10, F12, F2, DELETE, etc. Once you have entered the BIOS window, then to restore the default settings —press F9. Next, exit it and restart your system once again.

Solution 2: Perform an advanced startup

For this, you need to take assistance of a bootable media or a Windows installer to start your system. Go to the Windows settings, then Recovery, then Advanced Setup and click on “Restart Now’ button. Then, you would want to connect a Windows DVD/CD or any bootable media to your system. This lets you reinstall Windows on your system or you can boot it from another media.

4. Corrupted Hard Disk

No matter how much you try to avoid it, the chances are that your hard disk can anytime get corrupted. This type of error was found in HP systems but even PCs from other were also prone to such problem. It could be a malware attack on the system, a bad program or a corrupted sector that can trigger this issue. Also, trying to access a file that is no longer stored in your system can lead to this problem.

Solution: Perform a Hard Drive diagnostic test

As this problem is majorly associated with HP systems, we are considering HP system as an example to troubleshoot this problem in hard drives. In other systems, the respective solution key might differ. To fix this, first restart your system and press F2 to run the System Diagnostics. The relevant key to fix this problem would be different from what would be displayed at the screen.

Once the diagnostic window opens, you are required to choose and perform Component Tests and select your Hard Drive from the displayed options. Confirm your choice, and then wait for a while as the system runs through diagnostics. Then your HP system will try to fix this problem.