You can’t expect your computer’s hard drive to last forever. Like most parts in a typical computer, hard drives can fail. Research shows that the average failure rate for hard drives, in fact, is about 1% per year. In a five-year period, for instance, your computer’s hard drive has about a 5% chance of failure. When this occurs, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms when using your computer.

#1) BSOD

The infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) is a common symptom of hard drive failure. Assuming your computer runs Windows, you may notice the BSoD. It may appear when you attempt to boot up your computer, or the BSoD may appear randomly while your computer is up and running.

#2) Unusual Noises

All hard drives make at least some noise. After all, they use a mechanical method of operation. Noises like loud humming or scratching, though, could be a sign of hard drive failure. Unusual noises such as these often occur when a hard drive is on its last leg. Hard drives that are beginning to fail may not spin correctly, resulting in unusual noises.

#3) Overheating

If your computer’s hard drive is overheating, it may be failing. Hard drives are designed to operate within a specific temperature range. When a hard drive exceeds this range, its ability to read and write data will be jeopardized. You can use a utility program to check the temperature of your computer’s hard drive. It will likely become hotter when writing data, but as long as it stays within the normal operating range, this heat should pose a concern.

#4) File Corruption

File corruption is a common symptom of hard drive failure. Corrupted files typically occur when data isn’t written completely or correctly. Instead, it contains only part of the file’s data. If you try to load a file, only to discover a corruption message, your computer’s hard drive may be failing. Hard drives can fail, in which case they may not write data completely or correctly, resulting in file corruption.

#5) Random Crashes

Of course, random crashes could be a sign that your computer’s hard drive is failing. Hard drive failures can manifest in many different ways. Most cases, however, involve random crashes — either with or without other symptoms. Your computer’s operating system may create conflicts with your failing hard drive. And when these conflicts occur, it can cause your computer to randomly crash.

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