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How To Diagnose Hard Disk Problems

These are some symptoms that may be caused by the hard disk. Other components may also cause these same symptoms, check the general diagnosis page for more information.

Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any testing or repairs.

Symptom

Check
Click on underlined items for further information

I hear a whining sound sometimes

  • The hard disk is spinning at high speed inside its enclosure. This may be the sound you hear. If it powers down to conserve energy, you may hear it occassionally speed up when data is being accessed or written.

  • If the sound is new or unusually loud, it could be an indication of a hard disk failure. Back up any critical data before taking further action.

I hear a ratcheting or "tick tock" sound

  • As the drive reads and writes data, the heads are moving. This may be the sound you are hearing and it may not be a cause for concern.

  • If the sound is new or unusually loud, it could be an indication of a hard disk failure. Back up any critical data before taking further action.

The PC starts to boot but the Operatings system never starts, or I get a message similar to "Cannot load Operating System"

  • The boot sector of the drive may be damaged. This may require a reformat of the drive. (Reformatting wipes out all programs and data).

  • The drive may failed and requires replacement.

  • The PC is unable to communicate with the hard drive. It may simply be a loose power connector, or interface cable. Check the cables to the hard disk.

  • The power supply has failed and needs to be replaced.

I can access the hard disk only after booting from a floppy

  • You may have a boot sector virus or otherwise damaged boot sector. Scan with an up to date virus scanner.

I get a "Hard Disk Failure" message

  • The PC is unable to communicate with the hard drive. It may simply be a loose power connector, or interface cable. Check the cables to the hard disk.

  • The power supply could be failing.

  • If this is a newly installed drive, the drive may not be properly formatted or BIOS settings may need to be changed.




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