What causes a drive to fail?
Current standard hard drives have moving parts inside that have the ability to access your data. They have multiple disk like magnetic platters that spin while the drive is being accessed (when your computer is on or your external hard drive is plugged into your machine) and a needle that reads the data while the platters spin. These platters spin at extreme speeds and can sometimes fail by themselves. Data can also become corrupted if the magnetic structure inside the hard drive is lost. The major reason that hard drives fail is motion. When the hard drive is in use, it is recommended to have it on a solid surface with no movement. Any sharp movement such as a fall or a hard bump can damage the platters internally and cause the drive to start to fail or fail instantly causing loss of all information.
What are the signs?
Some signs can be confusing as corrupt data may not affect your whole hard drive. Some files may open and others may not work at all. As a hard drive starts to fail, it can slow your computer down, this is caused by corrupt sectors on the hard drive. Corrupt sectors start off a minimal amount, usually one or two, and multiply over time. Many customers have had situations like this where their PC slows down over time and then it comes to a point where it will no longer turn on. If you bring your computer into us before the final crash, it is a much simpler task to recover the data.
Unfortunately all hard drives will fail at some point, it is only a matter of time. The newer technology of a solid state drive is helping to prevent this with no moving parts internally, although these can still fail – they just have a lower fail rate.