Sunday, December 12, 2010

Things to look for in a Failing External Hard Drive

By Jim Witt

There really isn't a way to know when your external hard drive is actually going to fail. You may be given an average lifetime to expect but it really just depends on how the hard drive is handled and taken care of. However, there are some things that you can watch out for.

While problems with your device don't always mean it's going to fail, it's best to be prepared just in case it does fail. You want to take action before your hard drive dies because once it's dead, you never know if you can get your files back. If you see any of the following signs, you should follow through with investigating them.

A big sign to look for is the noise that comes from your external hard drive. Normally you will hear a soft hum that really isn't noticeable but as parts wear down or break it may turn into a grinding sound or a loud buzz. Any of these noises could mean your hard drive can quit at any moment so make sure you act quickly.

If you are getting errors while you are trying to use your external hard drive, this could be another sign of failure. It could be any kind of error either in saving files, opening files, or deleting files. It may be too late to save files at this point but if you are able to access your files make sure to back them up immediately.

As your external hard drive nears its end, it may become unrecognizable by your computer. This may happen on and off but you should always be aware that at any point it could quit working altogether. As soon as you notice this problem you should try and take it to someone who might be able to save your files while it still runs.

If you notice that your external hard drive is performing really slowly, this could be another sign of failure. If it's a one time thing you probably don't need to worry but if you see a pattern associated with the drive then you probably need to start worrying. Eventually the slow performance can turn into no response at all.

If you run into any of these signs or problems you should act immediately. You may not think your external drive will actually fail but you don't want to regret not being prepared. What you need to do is back up all your files onto a separate hard drive or other form of storage. You can continue to use the drive until it becomes too inconvenient or eventually does fail.

External hard drives don't die very often, but of course it can happen. Most people have a lot of information on their drive so it's important to recognize all the signs of failure. Taking precautionary actions will really save you in the end.

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