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Diagnosing a Failing Hard Drive

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Remote backup disaster recovery includes a few different moving pieces. The first is remote backups – this essentially means a company that provides networking services, such as iPoint Technologies, routinely makes copies of your company’s most significant data, and then stores those copies on a server that is located somewhere far away from your office. That way, if a disaster occurs – such as a wildfire, or one of your employees clicks on a suspicious link that downloads a ton of ransomware onto your servers, and suddenly you cannot access any business information unless you pay a huge ransom to strangers over the internet – your company’s information is safe and can be recovered! (Take that, fraudsters!)

by | Oct 9, 2013 | Networking

What is a Hard Drive?

The hard drive is the most important piece of hardware in every computer device.  It enables the user to store mass amounts of data within the computer itself, opposed to saving on a form of external media.  However, these drives contain many moving parts and thus, will always be prone to functionality issues and failures.  Similar to a car’s engine, most hard drives rotate at around 5,000-7,000 RPM and have read/write heads that move instantaneously in correlation with the disk.  With all that rapid movement, it’s easy to foresee a potential catastrophic data loss- especially as the device ages.  But how exactly do these failures occur?

Why Hard Drives Fail:

The most common cause of hard-disk failure is called a “head crash”.  This occurs when the read/write head of the device inadvertently makes contact with the magnetic data-storage surface (also known as the “Platter”).  The head hovers mere nanometers above the actual hard-disk storage, so collisions are an acknowledged risk.  Another notorious cause of hard drive failure is a faulty air filter.  Although these filters have advanced greatly since the first era of computing devices, some particles are still able to pass through the computer and enter the hard drive.  If a dust particle were to land on the magnetic hard-disk it could cause a head crash and render the entire device useless.  Failing motor systems that power the rotation of the device can also cause PCs to slow and may indicate an aging hard drive.  The next logical step is to learn what to watch for so you can prevent these catastrophic failures.

Signs to Watch For:

Hard drive failures can happen gradually, or in a single instant.  As the graph below shows, most hard drives show a dramatic increase of failure rate after 2 years of use.  For these reasons, it is vitally important to detect imminent disk failures before they happen- before your data is lost.  The following are signs to watch for a failing hard drive:

  • Frequent, irregular crashes (especially when booting up your OS)
  • Folder/file names are scrambled or renamed unintentionally
  • Unexplained missing files or folders
  • Cryptic error messages appear during nominal tasks such as moving files
  • Painfully long wait times to access files
  • Grinding sounds which are caused by noisy hard drive bearings

*300% increase of HD failure after 2 years of usage

How to Prevent Failures:

Why spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to replace the hard drive in your computer when you could prevent disastrous hard drive failures for only $0.20 per day?  With our iNetwork Monitor, you have peace of mind knowing that your computer systems are constantly monitored for failing drives along with a plethora of other important aspects that can harm the functionality of your system.  We also offer server monitoring for as little as $1.33 per day.  Contact iPoint today to elongate the lifespan of your computer hardware.