Hard Drive Repair Analysis And Software Tips

by Rod Dunne on November 9, 2010

in Articles, Hardware, Laptop

Hard Drive Repair Analysis And Software Tips
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Hard disk failures and issues are normally due to hardware or software issues. When considering doing a hard drive repair by yourself, you need to start your PC repair work by making sure it is not a mechanical fault as these can potentially lead to disk platter damage and data loss. In this article, we look at a variety of hardware and software checks you can make along with the hard drive repair tools you can use to help analyze and resolve issues.

Suggested hard drive repair software

Standard diagnosis and repairs: Hardware

It is always worth beginning with hardware checks first as you want to make sure there is no mechanical damage that could be scratching the disk platters or causing further damage to the drive itself. Here are some of the checks you can make.

  • Check for grinding noises from the disk as it is running. This is a sure sign that the heads/spindle/bearings are seizing up. Open the hard disk enclosure and check for signs of misaligned components or any impediments to the bearings or spindle that could be stopping them from moving freely.
  • Check for clicking noises from the hard disk motor. This usually indicates that the motor is starting to fail. Replacing this is a task best left to the computer repair technicians to resolve.
  • Check the IDE ribbon is undamaged and securely connected to the hard disc.
  • Check the power cable is securely connected from the disk to the power source.
  • Check all air vents and inlets are unblocked of dust to ensure the disk is not in danger of overheating.

Standard diagnosis and repairs: Software

If the issue is not mechanical then your focus is on trying to resolve what software issues could be causing the disk to not be identified by the BIOS, bad sector issues or operating system faults that may be causing the problem.

  • BIOS checks: Restart the PC and go straight to the BIOS menu by hitting F2 as it begins. Check the diagnostics entries to make sure the CPU is not overheating and that the fan speeds are working well. Check the drive has been correctly picked up by the BIOS itself (use manufacturer documentation to troubleshoot this fault – it may be a resource conflict with another component).
  • Hard drive repair tools: If the disk has developed a bad sector or similar type of issue you can use some software utilities to try and repair these faults. The most common tool is Windows own Disk Check utility which is provided in the properties section on each drive. Advanced repairs can also be done using HDD Regenerator.
  • OS fault checks: issues with operating system programs can often lead to the disk appearing to have problems. Check the Device Manager to see if the device drivers are working well (the troubleshooting wizard will help you resolve this problem if there are any).

Extra checks for an external hard drive repair

The majority of checks that can be done on internal hard drives for PCs are also applicable for external hard drive repair. Some of the additional checks you should make include:

  • Check the USB cable for damage. Make sure none of the pins are damaged or pushed in. Try using a different cable to be sure it is not faulty.
  • Try using a different USB port on your PC. It may be the port itself which has developed a fault.
  • Check the Device Manager utility for issues relating to USB ports and make sure that the external hard drive has been correctly picked up as a storage device.

Extra checks for a laptop hard drive repair

Due to the compactness of the internal components in laptops, it can often be more difficult to complete a laptop hard drive repair. You can do the sound checks and software checks listed above on a laptop drive.

One additional check you can do is for water damage to the hard disc. Laptops are particularly prone to having tea/water spilt on them which can damage the hard drive. The PC repair approach to take when this happens is to open the laptop casing and gently tilt the computer to allow excess water to drip out. Do not shake the laptop. Allow the PC to dry out naturally at warm room temperature and do not use hairdryers or direct heat sources to accelerate the evaporation of water.

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