The major core component of any computer, laptop or notebook is its hard drive or disk (HDD). It is where all the data is stored and what makes these data available at all time. Sadly, it happens too often that the hard disk of a computer fails, making you lose all your precious files. Shamefully, most of us do not anticipate the security of hard drives unless something a failure happens.Here are the main cause, symptoms and solutions for these problems.

How Do I Know My Hard Disk Has Failed Or Crashed?

Well there are two main types of situation:

  • Either you see nothing but a blank screen on the monitor, in which case it is most likely that your hard drive has totally crashed. This usually happens a very direct way.
  • Either you do not manage to access your files, in which case it could just be a malfunction or a virus. This could happen more gradually.

In both case, do not attempt anything until you have found out more precisely where the problem comes from.

What Are The Main Reasons Of Hard Disk Failures?

Hard Disks can be caused by a number of different reasons, including:

  • Head crash (most common reason): the read-write head of the device touches the platter and scratches the data storage surface;
  • Virus attacks or malware,
  • Poor power supply (that is another reason why you should never use cables from junk shops),
  • Corrupted operating systems,
  • Air filter problem: if it fails to filter the dust particles from atmosphere, they get settled on the platter causing the head to crash;
  • Damaged blocks or worn out parts…

In any case, note that you might be able to recover your data with proper equipment or thanks to the help of a professional, but not always, depending on the seriousness of the fail.

Pro tip: to avoid any loss of data, it is advised to work on a windows desktop in the cloud, which can be accessed from anywhere with any device. If using Office software, you can also add Office 365 to your desktop in order to work online and not use your hard drive storage.

What Main Symptoms And Solutions For A Hard Disk Corruption?

Here are the most common symptoms of a hard disk issues, along with their causes and remedies. It should help you to diagnose your laptop’s or PC’s problem.

1 – Hard Disk Corrupted Files


You can’t access a file on your hard disk.


This could be caused by the operating system failed to boot up properly because of:

  • An improper shutting down of the computer,
  • The program you used the file with crashed or was closed accidentally,
  • A power failure,
  • The use of a corrupted software…


Here is what you can try to prevent this from happening:

  • Remember to always shut down your computer ethically,
  • Avoid installing suspected software and malicious programs on your computer,
  • Clean your hard disk as often as can be to remove unwanted programs.

2 – Virus Or Malware


Virus and malware are one of the major problem faced by HDD but sadly, they are also the most difficult to spot. It could result in different ways, such as:

  • Computer slowing down,
  • Inaccessible files.


Virus can come from:

  • Other media such as external drives and USB keys,
  • Or from suspicious download and mails.

Note that if you store infected back-up files during the repair of your computer, they will reinfect the new disk if you copy them without scanning and fix them first.


The best solution to avoid virus and malware is obviously to have an anti-virus and to update it as often as can be.

3 – Computer Head Crash


  • You computer stops working, showing a blue screen.
  • Sometimes you can hear clicking sounds from HDD.
  • Some files may be invisible.


This is typical of hard drives failures. It can be caused by:

  • Bad sectors and blocks,
  • Just because the spindle motor stops rotating.

If you can’t access certain files, it can be because the heads are not able to identify the sectors searched and are making contact with the platters. It often happens when the hard disk is formatted more than its limit or is too old to operate.


  • Use a reliable operating system and update it as frequently as possible.
  • We recommend replacing your HDD every 3 to 4 years to avoid it to crash because of its age.

4 – Computer fails to detect hard disk


  • The hard drive is not detected,
  • You have problem with your mother board.


Not enough or too much power supply can cause this problem as the HDD fails to spin up.


  • Make sure your PC or laptop gets adequate power supply,
  • Always use a proper UPS from a reputed, not one from a junk shop,
  • Try to replace IDE, SATA or SCSI cable,
  • Try to switch the drive to another plug.

5 – Manufacturing default


On a new computer, the hard disk becomes non-responsive after a few months.


This happens when a new hard disk is delivered to the customer without being tested first.


Proper testing is the only solution to this problem. Sadly, you cannot do much about it but ask the seller to test it in front of you. Still, it can work then and fail a month or two later. In this case you may use your guarantee cover.

6 – Heat and Dust


  • Your computer is very noisy,
  • It overheats quickly (this can cause blue screens head crash).


This can be caused by:

  • Excess usage along with bad maintenance,
  • lack of ventilation
  • faulty CPU fan…


  • Check your CPU fans regularly,
  • Make sure the processor is getting enough cooling,
  • Use smart tools to get notified about your hard disk condition.


Note that most of the above problems can be fixed and data recovered unless the damage is very severe. Just get the help of a professional if you have any doubt.

Categories: Laptops & Notebooks


Thomas Clarence · 29 April 2020 at 20 h 47 min

My wife’s computer has been crashing a lot recently and sometimes it comes up with a blue screen when it is crashing. I appreciate you helping me to understand that this could be a sign that there is a problem with the main hard drive. I think it would probably be best if we took it to a computer hardware repair shop and see if they can fix my wife’s laptop.

    Jack F. · 30 April 2020 at 9 h 25 min

    Hi Thomas,
    Thank you for your comment! Your wife’s computer may be affected by a Hard disk problem indeed. But to be honest, with such few clues, it may as well be any hardware issue that makes it crash. So you are right thinking your best bet is to go to a repair shop.
    We wish a long life to your wife’s laptop… and your wife too of course ^^
    Have a lovely day!

Sa · 25 February 2021 at 4 h 10 min

Thanks so much for the information.

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