Has one of your hard drives started to fail, and if so are you curious why? While it is normal to be curious as to the reason your hard drive is acting up the fact of the matter is that there is no easy answer as it could be due to several different factors.

Simply put the fact that your hard drive is failing just means that it is malfunctioning and not operating normally. Generally that can happen either due to normal wear and tear, or prematurely for several other reasons.

Wear and Tear

Just like any hardware, your hard drive is built of components that by nature aren’t going to last forever. Over time the components that make up your hard drive will start to degrade as wear and tear begins to affect them, and finally result in a hard drive failure.

In most cases as hard drives get older they will start to show signs of wear and tear rather than simply fail outright – such as bad sectors that cause data to be corrupted. However sometimes components of the circuitry used in hard drives may fail and cause them to be inoperable, or there may be a head crash where the head comes in contact with the hard drive platter.

Due to the effect of wear and tear on hard drives it is estimated that typical hard drives last an average of 3 to 5 years. That estimate assumes that a hard drive is used regularly however, and more sporadic use may allow a hard drive to last longer.

Premature Failure

Aside from regularly wear and tear, sometimes hard drives can fail prematurely. One of the most common causes for premature failure is manufacture defects that can often result in the hard drive failing within the first few months of it being used.

Another common cause of premature failure is misuse. If a hard drive is knocked, shaken, exposed to extreme heat, or suffers from a sudden power surge – it could affect it and cause irreversible damage.

Unlike wear and tear, premature failure is unpredictable though it can be avoided to a large degree by ensuring a hard drive is well maintained and protecting it from anything that could damage it. While no measures can completely guarantee that a hard drive won’t fail, it can limit the risk significantly.

Depending on the reason why a hard drive fails, it may be possible to repair a hard drive or at very least salvage and recover some of its data. Sometimes that may be as easy as running a recovery software, or in others it may require technical repairs that are far more complicated.

All said and done considering all hard drives will inevitably fail, it is more effective to plan for it. By backing up important data and protecting it you can ensure that even in the event that a hard drive does fail you will be able to restore the data from elsewhere.


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