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Inside your desktop, laptop is a device called a 'hard drive'. This storage device is what holds all of your documents, music, movies, software and more. Hard drives today are very advanced compared to the ones years ago. Drives today are smaller and have a much higher capacity. They also spin extremely fast inside. All this advancement also introduces additional possibility of failure. Drives generally do not last as long as they did years ago - the often last only 3 to 5 years.
Good backup habits are very important. There are many options for backing up your data, which will be covered in a separate article.
It is important to be aware and not ignore the signs of hard drive failure when it starts. There are some warnings that the computer itself will give you. For example, when you start the computer you may see a message related to "SMART" - this is a special technology that the hard drive has and tells the computer that there is a problem with the drive - in turn the computer will notify you on-screen.
If you see a message other than "SMART STATUS OK", for example, containing the word failure, or problem, it is time to make sure you get your data backed up somewhere else and replace the drive as soon as possible. You may also receive warnings related to this when the computer is up in Windows. Be sure you do not ignore these messages.
Another key sign of a problem to be aware of is noise - sometimes a drive will make clicking sounds, or squeaking / squealing sounds. Inside the hard drive it is mostly metal, so if the drive is beginning to fail, it can potentially make very loud screeching type noises - metal against metal. Hard drives can make clicking noises that are normal, but if you begin hearing abnormal / odd-timed clicking and humming and other combined noises, especially the squealing type, get your data backed up immediately and replace the drive.
If you are not sure about the noise - for example if it is quiet, or only simple clicking type noises, you may want to consider recording the noise and posting it to a media/video site and ask people what it is, or contact your local technician. In any event, be sure to back up your data.
Valley Computer Corner
6309 Van Nuys Blvd, Suite 102,
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Hours: Mo - Fr: 10 AM - 6 PM
Sat + Sun: 10 AM - 2 PM