Common Signs of External Hard Drive Failure You Should Never Ignore

If you use external hard drives for your data management, you should beware of the main signs of hard drive failures and know when to use file savers data recovery. Generally, a failing hard drive is a warning sign for a likely system crash, leading to data loss. 

A failing hard drive should worry you if you have not backed up your data. Completing an external hard drive data recovery can be more mind-blowing than creating a backup for your data. This article will show you some signs of a failing hard drive that you need to look out for to ensure your Disk is always safe. 

Slowdown and Freezing

A failing external hard drive will majorly show early signs of slowing down and freezing when you try to access its contents. These occurrences can be so annoying but should not deter you from taking the symptom seriously and seeking diagnostic interventions to save your data at that early stage. You can perform several diagnostic checks to eliminate such an issue with your hard drive. 

Some of the issues that may cause your hard drive to slow down include slow data transmission due to an issue with the connectors. However, it would help if you did not assume this as it could be a result of a problem that requires much deeper checking before restoring hard drive. 


Hard drive crashes are the other common sign of a failing external hard drive. It occurs suddenly and will lead to data loss if it happens while you are working on a document. 

A crash means the termination of an ongoing process. As a result, when a system crash occurs, the hard drive will not be in a position to complete any ongoing tasks such as copying or writing essential files. 

Usually, when an external hard drive crashes, it is primarily due to a virus attack. Such cases can be easily salvaged using an anti-virus system, especially to rescue your files before they are corrupted permanently. 

Also, note that hard drive crashes can be widespread if you operate in an area with frequent power failures. Other factors that may cause frequent crashes of external hard drives are excess heat, impact, and environmental hazards. Keeping your computer safe from contact with such and similar dangers will protect your external hard drive from occasional crashes. 

S.M.A.R.T. Warnings 

The S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring System, a short form for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, is available on most modern hard drives. It keeps an eye on the hard drive just in case it experiences any failures. The technology warns you through system alerts of impending hard drive failures requiring urgent action. 

Please note that Windows may be unreliable in predicting hard drive failure, and you may experience some form of system malfunction before a SMART warning kicks in. The compatibility of your external hard drive with your computer will also affect how you see these errors. 

The good news is that you can also check the SMART status of your drive using third-party software such as Disk Drill. You can download Disk Drill for Windows and Mac by going to the official website of Disk Drill. 

Booting Errors 

When this error message presents itself, it is a clear sign that your external hard drive is failing. One way this error presents itself is when you connect an external hard drive to your P.C., and the system tells you “hard drive not found” or “boot device missing.” This gross system may mean your external hard drive is failing and may not work anymore.

However, if you get these messages repeatedly, you can still repair the external hard drive and save your data. A minor issue, like losing connections, may also cause similar errors. 

Corrupted Data And Accumulating Bad Sectors

There are many ways through which corrupted data may occur in your computer. Let’s show you some symptoms to look for. 

  • Disappearing files or folders
  • Files that fail to open
  • Corrupted data within your files
  • Scrambled file or folder names
  • Random error messages, especially when opening, moving, or saving files 

Also, note that data may get corrupted at the time of creation or even during storage. These may occur due to viruses or bad sectors in your hard drive. Bad sectors do not maintain the integrity of your data and will be a reason why your data gets corrupted. Recovery can, however, be attempted from WD My Passport if the errors are identified in good time. You can also use W.D. Passport for Mac in a similar way.

With a Windows command tool known as C.H.K.D.S.K., you can seamlessly recover files from hard drive from bad sectors and even exclude them from future use. 

Long Access Time

Extended access time is another warning sign that your external hard drive is failing. One cause may be a result of the cable connectors experiencing some issues with data transmission. If not, there is a problem with the connection, then an accumulation of bad sectors. This may also mean that the external hard drive is getting old and beyond normal repair.

Hard Drive Making Strange Sounds

When you start hearing strange sounds, you should know that your external hard drive is at its last stage of failing. This may not be good news, but you will start noticing some clicking noises or even regular beeps from the drive.

The clicking sounds are best referred to as “Clicks of Death.” This will normally happen only once if something is wrong with the read/write heads. The problem causes the heads to return to the rest position before trying again, resulting in clicking sounds. If the problem is not with the firmware, you may need to replace the heads because this shows that they have gone blind.

On the other hand, if you hear beeping sounds, it may be a sign of problems in the spindle motor. That is what spins the disk platters to enable the read/write heads to access and store data.

You should quickly change the parts when you hear such a sound. The worst is, however, the screeching and grinding sounds! These sounds will mean that either the motor is failing or the heads are grinding against the disk platters, which can be brutal!

Hard Drive Not Spinning 

This can be caused by the lack of power or the spindle motor not running. If the cause is not the printed circuit board that supplies power to the motor, the hard drive could have just completed its cycle to fail. If not, you may need professional troubleshooting to complete a drive recovery.