As we discovered in a previous post, there are two types of hard drive failures that cause data loss: physical and logical. In a physical failure, the hard disk or one of its components has become physically damaged and must be repaired before the data can be recovered.

In a logical failure, the computer operating system may have been corrupted, preventing file access. In other cases, the file that you are trying to access may have been compromised or deleted. In the majority of logical drive failures, data recovery software program find and restore these lost files.

Physical Drive Failure Warning Signs

Because physical failures are harder to repair and permanent data loss is a possibility, we’re going to start there. Data loss caused by a damaged drive is more costly to fix and will require a reputable data recovery lab for a successful outcome.

Unless the hard drive quits outright, you may not realize the potential danger until it’s too late. Often a drive will die a slow death, staying active until the bitter end.

If you hear strange sounds emanating from your computer, hard drive failure is imminent. Clicking or grinding noises coming from the drive are signals that the read/write head or other mechanical component is on its last legs. Your data may be accessible, at least for now.

You can see your files in your file viewer and may even be able to open them without a problem. But that won’t be the case for long. Should your drives read/write heads fail, they could drop down onto the recording media and scratch or gouge the delicate surfaces.

If you hear these sounds, immediately shut down the computer. The sooner you shut it down, the better. You will need to transfer all of your files to another hard drive or alternate media. However, trying to do this with recovery software or by dragging them to a new location will cause further damage.

A data recovery lab has the means to transfer all of your data safely and securely, preventing any further data loss.

Logical Failure Warning Signs

The actual warning sign or error message may depend on your operating system. However, if the computer won’t boot into the OS or if files won’t open or take a long time to load, logical failure could be the culprit. Missing or corrupted files are definitely a warning sign as well.

A recovery software program may be the answer. You may also need to reinstall the OS too. However, always recover your files first before repairing the OS. The reinstallation of the operating system could actually overwrite your working files, rendering them completely inaccessible. Always recover the files to an alternate location to prevent permanent loss as well.