Luckily, there are some signs you can watch for, that are usually indicators that your hard drive is about to make a journey to the big computer in the sky. This can clue you in early enough that you can safely move things over to a new drive, without any risk of data loss. It doesn’t always work this way, but if you are observant enough, you just might catch it and prevent a disaster.
Here are the 3 signs you should watch for:
1. Your computer Takes a Long Time to Boot
This is an indicator that your hard drive is working HARD. You have to take into consideration the fact of whether or not you have many programs that need to initialize when the computer starts up. That will indeed increase the boot time, but an unusually long boot time is an indicator that the drive is getting read/write failures. To help speed up the boot process, I usually do not allow programs to start up at boot time, unless it is absolutely necessary. This will help the PC boot faster, and it also helps you to notice whether or not it is taking increasingly longer for the drive to boot up.
2. CHKDSK Shows Bad Sectors
CHKDSK is a utility program that comes with Windows. It is usually run to detect if all of the data on your drive is readable. CHKDSK can be an indicator that the drive is ready to go. Once upon a time, and I have seen it often, bad sectors were a regular thing. However, these days when we run CHKDSK or any other disk checking utility, and it shows bad sectors, then it most generally means the disk is beginning to bow out. This is especially true if the number of bad sectors is growing, even at a slow rate. NOW is the time to start looking for a new drive. It will go a long way at saving you a lot of headaches later if you look at replacing it now. There is software available that will allow you to make a mirror image of your current drive. You can then get the new drive installed and ready and move the data over to that new drive using the disk copy software. You may experience NO DATA LOSS this way.
3. Your Drive is Running Hot
If your drive is running hot, this is usually an indicator that the drive is about to die. Understand now, that all drives when under regular use, can get quite warm, but when it is literally hot, do yourself a favor and get a new hard drive. The drive is working itself to death, literally, and if you get a new one sooner than later, you will ultimately save yourself the headache of trying to copy the data from the old drive. You can use the previously mentioned software to copy your drive and move the data over to the new one.