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Home  /  geekspeak  /  What to do when your hard drive fails

What to do when your hard drive fails

Your hard drive is one of the most important parts of your computer or laptop because it’s where everything is stored. Your hard drive stores all your programs, applications, files and photos, so it can be very stressful and frustrating if something goes wrong.

Almost everyone encounters a hard drive error at least once in their daily life, so don’t panic – there’s still a lot you can do to remedy the situation if your hard drive fails. But first, let’s take a look at some of the common causes and what obvious signs you can look out for.

What causes hard drive errors

Often, a hard drive failure fix is as simple as knowing what caused the problem in the first place. Hard drives come in two main formats: HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid-state drive). Regardless of which type you have, there are a few common causes of hard drive errors that you might run into, and they are:

  • Electronic – this could be from a surge or fluctuation in power, and is one of the more common things to happen.
  • Excessive heat – if your computer is left in the sun or used for longer periods of time without a break, it can overheat, causing damage to the hard drive.
  • Water damage – yes, if you spill liquid on your keyboard and it gets into your computer, it can damage the delicate electronics inside.
  • Faults in hardware – something may not be working correctly in the mechanics of your hard drive (sometimes known as a ‘manufacturers fault’), yet this doesn’t happen frequently.
  • Corrupted files – likely one of the biggest causes of hard drive errors, corrupted files can happen when you don’t shut down your computer correctly or pull out a USB stick before it has been properly ejected.

What to look out for

If you suspect something might be wrong with your hard drive, there are a few warning signs to look for. You might only find a subtle symptom or perhaps something much more obvious like an error message, but when your computer starts acting strangely, that’s likely the first indication that something needs your attention.

Computer slowing down

If your computer starts working much slower than normal, there could be something happening with your hard drive. This can appear as longer loading times when you click on files or your computer might take extra time to boot up or shut down.

Missing hard drive

If you can’t see the computer hard drive on your computer from File Explorer (PC) or Finder (Mac), chances are something is wrong. Similarly, if the hard drive is visible but you can’t click on it or see any of the files or programs, there might be some corrupted files at play.


Pay close attention to the sounds your computer makes when it starts up. If you hear anything unusual, like grinding or clicking, it’s a sure sign that the hard drive is having some trouble working as normal.

How to fix a hard drive

The most important thing to do here is stay calm. Computers can be fixed and parts can be replaced. There are a few steps you can take at home to try and diagnose the problem before you need to call in the experts for a hard drive failure fix.

Read the error message closely

First thing’s first, if you have an error message on screen, what does it say? Sometimes your hard drive starts to slow down when its almost full, so try clearing out your downloads folder and closing down any applications you’re not using to free up some space.

Run a disc checkup

If you can, run a disc checkup. This will look different for a PC and an Apple Mac, but essentially you can use software to scan your hard drive to look for anything that’s not working or isn’t in the right place.

Turn it off!

Computers are durable but still prone to errors from time to time, so if there’s nothing obvious you can spot, turn your computer off. If you try and backup your data or perform other maintenance tasks, it may just make the problem worse. Then, take it to a qualified professional computer repair centre to help diagnose and repair the unknown issue.

Give the Geeks a call – we love a challenge!

No matter what the issue is, our expert team of Geeks have the know-how to diagnose what’s going on and explain it to you in a way you’ll understand. We take computer repairs seriously and offer on-site help Australia-wide. Call us on 1300 642 213 and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

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