How do I know when a hard drive is dying? And what should I do?
Signs of a dying hard drive can be:
* Computer slowing down
* Frequent freezes
* Blue screen of death
* corrupted data
* Accumulation of bad sectors
* Strange sounds
If you think your hard drive might be dying, then the chances are that it is.
Make sure you have backups set in place of your valuable data on another source. For example this can be the cloud (internet storage), a portable hard drive, on another computer, into a NAS with RAID and so on.
Do not rely on signs or software to tell you whether you have a failing hard drive. It is more likely than not that it will fail unexpectedly and without any warning signs whatsoever. Rather than trying to forecast something that is even less predictable than the weather, you should rely on backups.
As Technology advances some new types of more reliable storage are available. For example SSD (solid state Disk)
from the outside it will look like an ordinary hard drive but instead of having moving parts it has microchips to store your data just like a USB stick.
This doesn’t mean that your data is safe, this hard drives do fail as well but are more robust than the mechanical hard drives. For example if you have a portable external USB hard drive and accidentally is dropped the chances are that the SSD will survive the impact rather than the normal mechanical hard drive (HDD), this is due to the mechanical parts been move to an unwanted place damaging the surface of the magnetic disk.
the down side of a solid state hard drive is the cost, luckily prices are dropping fast as demands on this drives are increasing. You can get a 120GB solid state drive for around $100AU dollars depending on brand and supplier as for the mechanical you can find them now for as little as $55AU dollars for a 500GB disk!.
some of the best backups available will be the cloud (internet storage) this is good depending on how much data you have to back up every day, this will have a dramatically impact on your Internet traffic if not monitored. Also there is the risk of privacy as the data is store on over the internet.
NAS units are one of my personal favorites.
What are NAS devices?
To put it in a simple way to understand, NAS devices are like a little box containing 2 or more hard drives connected to a network which they get automatically mirrored. So if one of the drives fails you still have all your data on the other, all you have to do is to replace the broken hard drive for a new one and all your data will get copied into the new hard drive you just replaced.
If you have a tight budget a little portable USB drive is a good way to keep things backed up, keeping in mind that the portable unit could get damaged.
There is a lot of software out there that will back up your data, some better than others, if you running windows 7 there is one included, and this is very simple and easy to use with an option of a schedule.
Hope this helps someone and take the right precautions before something bad happens.